Joyner Canadian Fine Art Auction

November 26, 2012

LOT 21

Lot 21


Lot 21 Details


colour drypoint
signed and numbered 38/40 in the margin
7 ins x 9 ins; 17.5 cms x 22.5 cms

Estimate $20,000-$30,000

Realised: $18,880
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report


David Silcox, “Painting Place, The Life and Work of David B. Milne,” Toronto, 1996, page 314.

David Silcox, “David Milne, 1882-1953” (exhibition catalogue introduction), Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston, 1967.

Rosemarie L. Tovell, “Reflections in a Quiet Pool, The Prints of David Milne”, Ottawa, 1980, page 196, plate 80, illustrated.


After moving to Uxbridge in 1940, Milne rented a studio above Gray's Bakery on Brock Street. Silcox notes how, as a means of hiding him from his estranged wife, Milne's agent Douglas Duncan had “...disguised Milne's whereabouts by giving generic titles, such as Main Street, to paintings of what was really Brock Street in Uxbridge”. Milne had also kept his address private from most friends and family, so all correspondence would be done through Duncan, at the agent's gallery, the Picture Loan Society. Milne first used Main Street as a subject in 1940, with “Window on Main Street”, and continued years later with this work. By the time Milne had produced “Main Street (1942)” he had developed the perfect reproducible colour for the drypoint.

The artist had been using varying mixtures for his drypoints, but by 1942, he began to use more stable and consistent mixtures so that the results would be predictable. He continued to use what many refer to as his “hellish colour”. Rosemarie Tovell notes, “Milne's use of ‘hellish colour’- a mixture of Yellow Ochre and Permanent Violet- broke dominance of the harsher blacks, whites, Cobalt Blues, and Chinese Vermilions. By early 1940, ‘hellish colour’ had become lighter and more transparent, varying from sandy to salmon shades.” Milne's concern for mixing the perfect colour indicates a desire for his art to provide an immediate impact through accessible depictions. Silcox quotes Milne: “Since art is aesthetic emotion, exhausting, to be sustained intensely only a short time, the more quickly readable a picture is, the more its emotional effect is compressed and the greater its power”. “Main Street” is a remarkable example of a vibrant street scene with tones that thrill the senses.


For condition information please contact the specialist.

LOT 21

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.