“Cherry Cheers” by Alex Janvier

By: Waddington's Staff

Lot 34 – Alex Janvier, CM, AOE, RCA, LLD (b. 1935), Denesuline, CHERRY CHEERS, CA. 2006. Watercolour on paper; signed lower left; sheet 22.5 x 30 in — 57.2 x 76.2 cm. Estimate $6,000-$8,000

Known for his steady calligraphic lines and bright colour palette, Janvier’s prolific paintings draw inspiration from his Denesuline heritage and culture. His work is a nod to the traditional imagery of his ancestors, yet is painted through a contemporary lens.

Janvier’s acclaimed style developed as a result of his childhood experiences and education. At eight years old, he was sent to Blue Quills Indian Residential School, Alberta. He spent ten years separated from his land, language, community, belief system and identity. Janvier then went on to receive formal art training at the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art in Calgary (now the Alberta College of Art and Design) in 1960, studying under Canadian painter Marion Nicoll. Janvier was encouraged to pursue automatic painting, as he sourced inspiration from Western abstract painters, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Joan Miró. There is freedom in the expression of automatic painting: a breakthrough from restriction and a liberation of control. This sense of freedom is prevalent in Janvier’s work.

Alex Janvier has made lasting contributions as a painter, muralist, activist and teacher. In the early 1970’s, Janvier formed the Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. (PNIAI) with six other artists: Jackson Beardy, Daphne Odjig, Eddy Cobiness, Norval Morrisseau, Carl Ray and Joseph Sánchez to promote and advocate for emerging Indigenous artists. A year after Cherry Cheers was produced, Janvier was made a member of the Order of Canada (2007). The following year he received the Governor General’s Award for Visual and Media Arts. The National Gallery of Canada ran a major retrospective dedicated to Alex Janvier from 2016-2017.

With his family, Janvier currently runs The Janvier Gallery, located in Cold Lake First Nations, Alberta.

About the auction

Held online from May 24-29, 2024, our spring auction of Canadian and International Fine Art brings together exceptional work from around the world. This auction features celebrated Canadian artists such as Cornelius Krieghoff, A.Y. Jackson, P.C. Sheppard, A.J. Casson, Bertram Booker, Alexandra Luke, Jean Paul Lemieux and Yves Gaucher as well as important First Nations artists Norval Morrisseau, Roy Thomas and Alex Janvier. International highlights include work by Jules Olitski, Karel Appel, Kwon Young-Woo, Norman Bluhm, Józef Bakoś, Léon Lhermitte and Montague Dawson.

Previews will be available at our Toronto gallery, located at 275 King Street East, Second Floor, Toronto:

 Thursday, May 23 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
 Friday, May 24 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
 Saturday, May 25 from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm
 Sunday, May 26 from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm
 Monday, May 27 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
 Tuesday, May 28 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Or by appointment.

Please contact us to find out more.

Related News

Start Collecting

Everything you need to know to get you started bidding in our auctions at Waddington’s.

Learn More

How to Sell

Find out why selecting Waddington’s is the right choice for consigning your works of art, wine or specialty items.

Learn More

Become a Member

Sign up for your Waddington’s account to start bidding, manage your invoices, and track items you're interested in.

Sign Up