Canadian & Inuit Fine Art

May 27, 2019

LOT 79

Lot 79


Lot 79 Details


acrylic on canvas
30 ins x 30 ins; 75.6 cms x 76.2 cms

Estimate $15,000-$20,000

Realised: $19,200
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report

Additional Images

Private Collection, Toronto


A dedicated and consummate modernist, the work of Rolph Scarlett (1889-1984) over the years would span from action painting to surrealism, with stints designing jewellery, household objects, and constructivist stage sets for no less than George Bernard Shaw. When it would come to painting, however, Scarlett insisted that it remained an act of “pure creation”, not referring to anything objective but speaking to universal truths, transcending the boundaries of the outside world. To this end, possibly his most accomplished pieces would be his work with geometric abstraction, produced during the post-war years. This is masterfully demonstrated here: bright, dynamic colours are playfully arranged in a harmonious, fluid arrangement, producing an exceptionally accomplished example of his style. Large lozenges and bold darts kaleidoscope across a light-blue field, while dots and slashes dance around in a constellation of colour. New colours emerge as shapes overlay each other in semi-transparent folds, almost as if they were cut out of cellophane.

Scarlett was undoubtedly a painter ahead of his time. An early champion of Scarlett’s was Hilla von Rebay, the first director of the Museum of Non-Objective Painting (later the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum); 60 of his paintings, gouaches, and monoprints were included in the collection. His works are included in the collections of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Solomon R. Guggenheim collection - which still has over 30 of his works - and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.


For condition information please contact the specialist.

LOT 79

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.