Joyner Canadian Fine Art Auction

June 03, 2013

LOT 115

Lot 115


Lot 115 Details


oil on canvas
signed and dated ‘60
80 ins x 80 ins; 200 cms x 200 cms

Estimate $30,000-$50,000

Realised: $42,480
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report


Roald Nasgaard, “Abstract Painting in Canada”, Vancouver/Toronto, 2007, page 104.


“Abstract” (1960) is masterful example of Harold Town's ability to reconcile seemingly contradictory elements in his painting. What appears at first glance to be a display of chaos and frenzy, a further look indicates control and a sense of planning and forethought seen in many of the artist’s works of this period. Nasgaard writes, “Town’s characteristic method of constructing a canvas is the contrast of opposites. His approach is not to take a single idea and lay it out. Instead Town employs a colour, a shape, or a texture and then introduces its opposite and its opposite and so on. From there on a struggle ensues whereby Town, to succeed, must wrestle apparent irreconcilables into visual coherence.” “Abstract” shows Town’s process of reconciliation within the confines of the canvas by pairing erratic brushstrokes and wandering lines within ordered collage-like blocks of colour, creating at the same time a frenetic energy and compositional harmony. Some areas of the canvas seem overcome with chaos but are compensated by adjacent strips of relative calm and subdued colours. The central focus, the star form, struggles to stay intact with its broken lines, edges that are almost consumed by the surrounding complexities of pattern and texture. However, it remains firmly grounded by Town’s use of strong outline colour and contrasting shapes. His technique of “synthesis, antithesis, and resolution seems…to account for the fact that a Town canvas often seems a contest, an argument, a clash of opposed wills.”


For condition information please contact the specialist.

LOT 115

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.