LOT 204

1922 - 2007

Ancestral Sphere
acrylic on canvas
on verso signed, titled, dated 1983 and inscribed "Wb acrylic on canvas" and "83-10-2"
34 1/2 x 63 in, 87.6 x 160 cm

Estimate: $15,000 - $25,000 CAD

Sold for: $58,250

Preview at:

Gallery One, Toronto, inventory #2961
The Joan Stewart Clarke Collection, Vancouver

An important voice in the Colour Field movement, Jules Olitski was primarily interested in using abstraction to explore the power of pure colour. He was best known for applying soft, bright pigment using a spray gun to produce atmospheric, ethereal canvases. He experimented throughout his career with thick paint and iridescent acrylic mediums, creating evocative relationships between form, surface and colour.

Ancestral Sphere is a remarkable example of how he explored these themes in the middle of his career. Whereas his earlier canvases appeared almost stained, stripping painting back to the essential elements of colour with an airy dematerialization, beginning in the 1970s he started to experiment with a darker palette, utilizing heavy impasto and broad, distinct brush-strokes. Here, the spray technique is combined with darker, heavier paint-strokes, while a metallic undercurrent flashes out in brassy gleams. The play of light glinting across the surface suggests something primordial or metallurgic, as if we are looking at the fluid shapes of a solidified lava flow.

Olitski was championed early in his career by the art critic Clement Greenberg, and he represented the United States in the 1966 Venice Biennale. In 1969, he became the first living American artist to hold a solo show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

For the biography on Joan Stewart Clarke in PDF format please click here.

Estimate: $15,000 - $25,000 CAD

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information posted, errors and omissions may occur. All bids are subject to our Terms and Conditions of Business. Bidders must ensure they have satisfied themselves with the condition of the Lot prior to bidding. Condition reports are available upon request.