Canadian Fine Art

September 17, 2020

LOT 29

Lot 29


Lot 29 Details


acrylic on canvas
24 ins x 36 ins; 61 cms x 91.4 cms

Estimate $30,000-$50,000

Realised: $40,800
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report

Additional Images

Private Collection, Ontario


Kent Monkman: The Triumph of Mischief, Art Gallery of Hamilton, June 7 - August 26, 2007; exhibition travelled to Toronto (MOCA), Halifax (SMU Art Gallery), Calgary (Glenbow Museum); Victoria (Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)


Paul Kane painted Fort Edmonton, the Hudson Bay Company outpost that overlooked the North Saskatchewan River, between 1849 and 1856. Set against a sublime pastoral landscape, Kane’s outpost rests atop a sun-struck hilltop while a grouping of teepees stand below. Kane’s physical placement of the HBC outpost high above the Indigenous community should not be easily dismissed. It suggests a racial hierarchy of European civilization over others and is reflective of their paternalistic treatment toward Indigenous populations. Moreover, Kane’s romanticization of a Christian cross and the flag of empire are further evidence that Fort Edmonton is steeped in colonial ideology.

Nearly 150 years after its completion, Kent Monkman revisits Kane’s painting with his own version of Fort Edmonton. However, in Monkman’s hands, the colonial matrix that drove Kane to produce his work is delegitimized. Though it is also set against the backdrop of Fort Edmonton, Monkman’s painting features a triplicate of queer sex and desire among stallions, glimpsed on a petroglyph, and engaged between a frontier soldier and woodland warrior. Here the viewer doubles as voyeur, peering into a panorama of sex, pornography, and BDSM play. For Monkman, the dominant and submissive relationship extends well beyond the realm of BDSM and into the subjugation of Indigenous peoples in North America. Fort Edmonton’s kink both encapsulates and redresses centuries of sexual oppression and colonial authority. It also challenges existing archetypes of colonialism by recovering agency over how one’s self, one’s family, and one’s people are represented to others.

We thank Matthew Ryan Smith, Ph.D., Curator and Head of Collections at Glenhyrst Art Gallery in Brantford, Ontario, for contributing this essay.


For condition information please contact the specialist.

LOT 29

About Condition Ratings

  • 5 Stars: Excellent - No discernable damage, flaws or imperfections
  • 4 Stars: Very Good - Minor flaws or imperfections visible only under close inspection using specialised instruments or black light
  • 3 Stars: Good - Minor flaws visible upon inspection under standard lighting
  • 2 Stars: Fair - Exhibits flaws or damage that may draw the eye under standard lighting
  • 1 Star: Poor - Flaws or damage immediately apparent under standard lighting (examples: missing components, rips, broken glass, damaged surfaces, etc.)

Note: Condition ratings and condition details are the subjective opinions of our specialists and should be used as a guide only. Waddington’s uses due care when preparing condition details, however, our staff are not professional restorers or conservators. Condition details and reports are not warranties and each lot is sold “as is” in accordance with the buyer’s terms and conditions of sale. In all cases the prospective purchaser is responsible for inspecting the property themselves prior to placing a bid.