Canadian & Inuit Fine Art

May 27, 2019

LOT 101

Lot 101


Lot 101 Details


oil on canvas
45 ins x 52 ins; 114.3 cms x 132.1 cms

Estimate $10,000-$15,000

Realised: $9,000
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report

Additional Images

Nancy Poole’s Studio, Toronto
Private Collection, Toronto


The borders between interior and exterior lives are dissolved into each other or made ambiguous in Valerie Palmer’s (b.1950) practice. Windows become either portals to other worlds or else are flat planes, jealously concealing themselves from outside viewers. Stoic figures populate the landscape but seem apart from it, and benign expressions to become pensive or restless as they try to situate themselves in overcast skies. Though at first glance Palmer’s scenes may appear apprehensive, they are never bleak or overly dark, and further reflections reveal them to be permeable spaces filled with nuanced, turbulent energy.

This vital unease can be readily seen in Miserina. Three figures are placed in an indistinct twilit landscape. There is no dialogue between them; each seems to be preoccupied with their own thoughts: a plaster mask, hands anxiously knit together, a lamp casting dingy light. The house in the distance seems precipitously perched on an edge of a cliff, before the dark sliding sea and a coldly glowing horizon beyond. Partially obscured by trees, it glows with the same interior light as the lamp, but is strangely only half-illuminated. The main building is black, indistinct, a void, while the smaller structure is thrust forward, detailed with white cladding and brick. A surreal undertow is deepened by slightly-off details -- a too-tall door has no handle; a small lamp is nestled in the gable; a bright brick chimney protrudes and is cut short -- that seem to suggest that this is a house out of place, or that this family (if it is a family) is apart from it. Displaced but palpably present, Valerie Palmer’s paintings are subtly surreal, psychologically-charged fusions of landscape and portraiture.


For condition information please contact the specialist.

LOT 101

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.