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Joyner Waddingtons 11-25-2011 lot 115

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Published on Dec 8, 2011

JEAN ALBERT MCEWEN, R.C.A.
ARC-EN-CIEL NOIR, oil on canvas; signed and dated '62; signed, titled and dated 14-8-62 on the reverse

48 ins x 36 ins; 120 cms x 90 cms
$50,000—70,000

Provenance: Walter Moos Gallery, Toronto.
Private Collection, Toronto.
Note: In his Arc-en-Ciel Noir, McEwen achieves a unique sense of balance and depth through layering of paint and richness of colour; a profound talent which set the artist apart from many others working in abstraction. Common to his compositions of the early sixties, a central vertical establishes the binary structure of the piece. The drips and circular surface areas of paint in Arc-en-Ciel Noir underscore the importance of the visibility of the artistic process in McEwen's work. A small section of vibrant blue paint peeks out beneath a rubbed swirl of gold and ochre, while an area of reddish pigment in the upper left quadrant, worked and reworked by the artist, reveals a colour in transition before our eyes. The title itself, which translates to the "black rainbow", hints at the variety of colours which likely lie beneath the vibrating surface of the work. Arc-en-Ciel Noir is a masterwork which communicates perfectly McEwen's lifelong preoccupations with colour experimentation, atmospheric surfaces and the organization of pictorial space.

© Estate of Jean McEwen/SODRAC 2011

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