The Canada Auction Series: Inuit Art
May 27 — June 01, 2023
Auction begins to close at 7:00 pm ET
Parr ᐸ (1893-1969)
Private Collection, Ontario
Born in 1893 in an isolated camp on the southern shore of Baffin Island, Parr lived through a time of significant change for many Inuit. Despite this, like many early and mid-twentieth century Inuit artists, he lived much of his life in a manner similar to those before him, informed by a tradition that emphasised the proximity of physical and spiritual worlds.
Parr had suffered a significant hunting accident in his prime, and by the time he started drawing, on the prompting of Terry Ryan in 1961, as his ability to hunt and sustain himself was severely hampered. When Parr did start drawing, images flowed out of him with remarkable rapidity and apparent ease. During the last eight years of his life Parr produced more than 2,000 drawings on paper, 28 of which were translated into prints, and another five produced as etchings and engravings.
Parr is primarily known through his printed images, notable for their rhythmic composition and mysterious x-ray-like depictions of physical—or perhaps spiritual—anatomy. It is however in drawings such as the present work, with its immediacy and scattershot line, that the full scope of Parr’s talents can be taken in.
Marrion E. Jackson and Drew Armour, Parr, His Drawings, (Halifax: The Art Gallery Mount St. Vincent University, 1988)
Terrence Ryan, Parr 1893-1969, A Print Retrospective, (Kinngait: Kinngait Press, 1979)