Seated Nude (Joan) by William Goodridge Roberts
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Consignor Canadian Fine Art
326 Dundas St West
Toronto ON M5T 1G5
Seated Nude (Joan)
oil on canvas
signed and dated “May, 1955” lower right; Estate Inventory No. 1206 inscribed on stretcher
32 x 25 ins ( 81.3 x 63.5 cms )
Estimated: $14,000.00 - $18,000.00
Collection of Joan Roberts, Montreal
Private Collection, Kingston
Christopher Varley, Goodridge Roberts: Figure Paintings and Drawings, Gallery Stratford, December 1978 - January 1979, unpaginated
Varley also comments on the artist’s use of colour in his figural works, writing that “Roberts’ colour has great amplitude, yet is matt and frequently sombre. The same hue may reappear several times in different areas of a painting, or even move uninterrupted from one descriptive function to another. Light-dark modelling is retained, but is often used in a way so simplified as to be virtually non-illusionistic.” In “Seated Nude”, the colours used in the figure, the wall, the blankets and even the fruit are all remarkably similar in tone. The repeating shades of green-ochre and mustard yellow throughout Roberts’ canvas, accented by the cobalt drapery along the right-hand border, is exemplary of, as Varley writes, Roberts’ “masterful control of hue and value.”
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William Goodridge Roberts
(1904 - 1974) Canadian Group of Painters, RCA
Roberts was born in Barbados in 1904 to a prominent Canadian literary family. His father, Theodore, was a poet, novelist, and journalist. Roberts began his studies at Montreal's Ecole des Beaux-Arts but, encouraged by his art-critic aunt, Mary Fanton Roberts, he enrolled at New York's Art Students League. His New York schooling would prove to be a major influence on his career.
During the 1930s, Roberts lived, painted, and taught in Ontario. He was the very first artist-in-residence at Queens University in Toronto. Refusing to incorporate nationalist content into his work, Roberts became recognized for his modernist approach. In the 1940s, Roberts moved to Montreal and continued painting and teaching. He was admired by Quebec's francophone art community who saw in his work a reflection of the modernist figurative tradition from France, known in Montreal as "living art." His works were equally divided into the themes of landscapes, portraits and still lifes; all are textbook examples of each style. The artist's last major retrospective was held at the National Gallery of Canada in 1969. He died in January 1974.