WALTER JOSEPH PHILLIPS, R.C.A.
LEAF OF GOLD
sheet 15 ins x 21.75 ins; 38.1 cms x 55.2 cms
While W.J. Phillips (1884-1964) is broadly known for his print work, specifically his fine woodcuts, his favorite medium was watercolour. The foundation for the woodcuts was his work executed in watercolour although not every painting he did was turned into a print. Phillips was selective. He wrote: "The art of printmaking is a distinct responsibility. A poor painting may be a crime but only one; a poor print is a crime multiplied by the edition."
This serene watercolour was painted when Canada, in poignant contrast to the composition, was in turmoil, fighting the Second World War. Leaf of Gold, 1941 provided an opportunity for reflection, both literal and figurative. This watercolor was used to inspire the woodcut of the same name, produced in an edition of 100.
Nancy Green, Kate Rutherford and Toni Tomlinson, Walter J. Phillips, Pomegranate, Portland, Oregon, 2013, pages 21 and 29, and page 86 for Leaf of Gold (the woodcut), reproduced in colour.
Roger Boulet, The Tranquility and the Turbulence, M.B. Loates Publishing Limited, Markham, 1981, page 170 for the related woodcut Leaf of Gold, 1941 which is based on this lot.
Private Collection, Toronto
Department: Canadian Fine Art