Artwork by Ivan Kenneth Eyre,  Cairn

Ivan Eyre

oil on canvas
signed lower right; signed on the reverse
27 x 33 ins ( 68.6 x 83.8 cms )

Auction Estimate: $15,000.00$10,000.00 - $15,000.00

Price Realized $25,300.00
Sale date: May 31st 2016

Bruce Head, R.C.A., Winnipeg
Private Collection, Toronto
“Figure Ground: The Paintings and Drawings of Ivan Eyre”, Winnipeg Art Gallery, 2005, cat. no. 4
Pavillion Gallery, “Ivan Eyre: The Paintings”, Assiniboine Park, 2004, pages 18-19, and 254
Denis Cooley, Amy Karlinsky and Mary Reid, “Figure Ground: The Paintings and Drawings of Ivan Eyre”, Winnipeg, 2005, pages 17-18, reproduced page 54
Born in Tullymet, Saskatchewan in 1935, and completing his university studies at the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Manitoba, the artist was heavily influenced by the Canadian prairie landscape. Eyre also held a professorship with the University of Manitoba from 1960-1993, during which time he completed “Cairn”.

Drawing on his memory and dreams, Eyre depicts a surreal scene, post-apocalyptic and sombre in nature, but tempered with the calm setting of the prairie wheat field. Tragically poetic with the juxtaposition of the landscape and the scene depicted, this work was part of a process of experimentation for the artist. Memories of the prairie land are evident, but also the artist’s recollections from taking nighttime walks through urban areas are present in the industrial buildings of the scene. An interesting dichotomy, the imagery incorporates the morbidity of German expressionism with the artist’s imagined scenes, resulting in a familiar yet distant landscape.

Eyre created over 100 canvases in this dream-like style in an effort to internalize the landscape through a repeated process of creation based on memory and experience. This project was the precursor for “Man Alone” (1963), a monumental piece that typifies the artist’s style and subject matter of the early 1960s, with many of the works having been destroyed by Eyre. The practice of landscape painting has continued throughout the artist’s career with the Saskatchewan and Manitoba setting figuring prominently as works of imagination, an ode to the artist’s personal history. Eyre comments on the landscape genre of painting: “The subject is inexhaustible. Infinite possibilities exist. It's still possible to make of a landscape a very personal statement̶ even a radical one, different from anything previous.”

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Ivan Kenneth Eyre
(1935 - 2022) RCA

Ivan Kenneth Eyre was born in Tullymet, Saskatchewan in 1935. At the Saskatoon Technical Collegiate he studied under Ernest Lindner, followed by studies at the University of Saskatchewan under Eli Bornstein in 1952. At the University of Manitoba School of Art, he studied under several notable teachers graduating in 1957 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. In 1958-59 he attended the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks where he also taught. Upon returning to Canada, he took a teaching job at the University of Manitoba where he was appointed Full Professor (of painting and drawing) and where he stayed until his retirement in 1993. In 1966-67, he travelled in England and Europe where he was able to sell many of his paintings to private collectors. His works were inspired by the Symbolist philosophy of following subjective recollection and reaction rather than the Realist-Impressionist technique of objective observation-based painting. He is very much part of the artistic scene of the Prairies where he has lived most of his life. Eyre is also known for his graphite, crayon studies, and woodcuts. Among his many honours, he was elected member of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1974, received the Queen's Silver Jubilee medal in 1977, the University of Manitoba Alumni Jubilee Award in 1982, and was the subject of several films and books. He has held solo exhibitions from 1962 to the present and participated in many group shows. His works hang in numerous private and public collections in Canada and abroad. Winnipeg is the home to the Pavilion Gallery which houses the largest permanent of Eyre's paintings representing 170 works on canvas and over 5000 drawings. Ivan Eyre lived and worked in Winnipeg, Manitoba.