Lot 21 of the Consignor Canadian Fine Art Spring Live Auction of Important Canadian Art, held Tuesday, May 29th at the Gardiner Museum.
mixed media on board
signed with monogram and dated 1972 lower right; titled and inscribed “from ‘Toronto’ series” on the reverse of the framing
24 x 30 ins ( 61 x 76.2 cms )
Auction Estimate: $150,000-200,000
Sold for $472,000.00
Isaacs Gallery, Toronto
Private Collection, Downsview, Ontario
The Collection of TransCanada PipeLines Limited, Calgary
Toronto: A Series of 20 Paintings and One Drawing, The Isaacs Gallery, Toronto, October 10 – 31, 1972, no. 21
William Kurelek, A Retrospective Exhibition 1942-1972, The Art Gallery of Windsor, January 6 – 30, 1974, no. 48
William Kurelek: Multicultural Canada, Multicultural History Society of Ontario Gallery, Toronto, November 23 – December 6, 1987, no. 1
“Hot Day in Kensington Market” is a masterwork by one of Canada’s most masterful of painters, William Kurelek. New to the public market, hailing from a prominent corporate collection, this work is a joyous celebration of the artist’s desire to depict a hot sultry day showing the “old-country charm of Kensington Market.” Ironically, when the artist had first lived in the city in 1949, he was “bitter and unhappy,” but, as he tells us, “by a strange alchemy there took place something akin to the common plot of Harlequin romances. The hero or heroine ends up falling for the very person they hate or fear.” He vowed to return to the city one day, and did so in 1959, buying a home for his family and revisiting the haunts of his student days, seeing these places with the eyes of experience and perspective.
“Hot Day in Kensington Market” was first shown in the exhibition “William Kurelek: The Toronto Series/Toronto: A Series of 20 Paintings and One Drawing” held at The Isaacs Gallery in October of 1972. Kurelek’s handwritten notes for the exhibition set out his purpose clearly. “This time,” he states, “I’m venturing into a new subject what [sic] one might call depicting the soul of a city.” Twenty-one works captured various parts of Toronto in all four seasons and at various times of day. “Hot Day in Kensington Market” was mentioned in most reviews of the show. The Globe and Mail called it “another brilliant documentation that was snapped up by a collector born in the area – and no wonder. This is Kurelek’s genre painting at its most successful.” It was illustrated in the book “O Toronto: Paintings and Notes by William Kurelek”, published subsequently. As noted in the book’s introduction by James Bacque, the artist has embraced his new home with the full force of his personality, drive, and unique artistic vision. “William Kurelek” he states, “paints in Toronto as if the city were his.”
We extend our thanks to Lisa Christensen, Canadian art academic and the author of three award-winning books on Canadian art, for contributing the preceding essay.
Full details: https://goo.gl/UPu9Xw
We are now accepting consignments of work by William Kurelek for our upcoming auctions. Contact our offices for a confidential, complimentary and no-obligation preliminary estimate.