Artwork by Alan Caswell Collier,  The 4025 Hoist, McIntyre

Alan Collier
The 4025 Hoist, McIntyre

oil on board
signed lower right; inscribed “P.170” on the reverse
27 x 20 ins ( 68.6 x 50.8 cms )

Auction Estimate: $3,500.00$2,500.00 - $3,500.00

Price Realized $7,475.00
Sale date: March 8th 2017

Private Collection, Ontario
Alan Collier, Photocopy of studio journal (1934-1990), page 170, The E.P. Taylor Research Library & Archives, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
Following his graduation from the Ontario College of Art in 1933, Alan Collier travelled across Canada working as a miner in order to earn enough money to study at the Art Students’ League in New York City. He returned to mining periodically throughout his studies to fund his education. In his mature career, Collier revisited the mines once again, however this time the intent was for sketching excursions. He began with a trip to Delnite Mine in Timmins, Ontario in 1951. During the following years the artist ventured into several other mines throughout northern Ontario, notably McIntyre, Preston East Dome, New Calumet, Faraday, Coppercorp, Kidd Copper, Copperfield, and Lamaque Mines.

In Alan Collier's archives at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the artist identifies “The 4025 Hoist, McIntyre” in his studio journal with the identification number 170 on the reverse of the support. Collier describes his process of creating this luminous painting based off of a 20x16 sketch he had drawn in October of 1952. He sought to emphasize a rusty quality to the setting which had not been present in the original sketch; the artist explains his technique in his journal as having “mixed a slightly purple dark grey and thinned it with the thinner and built it up in an almost dry brush technique as I haven't found a way of washing in duco yet.” Collier concludes the entry with a comment on his application of sand to the painting, writing that “two grades of sand were used for texture, mostly in the floor but a little in the rock walls.”

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Alan Caswell Collier
(1911 - 1990) OSA, RCA

Born in Toronto, Alan Collier studied under J.E.H. MacDonald, and Franklin Carmichael at the Ontario College of Art (1929-33). Following graduation, he travelled across the country on a relief gang, and worked as a miner to earn enough money to study at the Art Students’ League in New York City. During his studies, he returned to mining from time to time to enable him to continue with his education. In 1937 he studied at the Art Students’ League, New York, under Howard Trafton, 1937-9 and while there he worked as a commercial artist making illustrations for advertising until 1942.

He joined the Canadian Army in 1943. He returned to Toronto after the war to continue his advertising art career, but concentrated more and more on painting. Early In his painting he was influenced by the work of J. W. Beatty, J. E. H. MacDonald, and Frank Carmichael. Over the years he made trips to British Columbia and many other parts of Canada travelling by trailer with his wife and son, three months of the summer. One year, however, he returned to the selenite mines where he had worked, and painted a series of canvases from the miner’s point of view.

In 1951 his background in mining became the inspiration for a series of paintings depicting the underground work environment, an interest that spanned several years. He also made annual road trips with his family to paint Canadian landscape. Reviewing his work in 1961, Globe and Mail critic Colin Sabiston wrote, “Technically, Mr. Collier has reached a new peak of achievement, especially in his paintings. The drawings are in clean-cut lines . . . The paintings, on the other hand are redolent of rich colour . . .” He received a commission from Standard Oil in 1963 to paint landscapes along the Trans-Canada Highway.

Collier’s media include oils, watercolours, pyroxilin and acrylic polymer emulsion. His compositions are masterful in their simplicity. A muralist as well, he decorated the foyer of the Toronto agency of The Bank of Canada, and two murals in the Ryerson Institute of Technology, Toronto. His portraits include personalities in business and educational fields. He considered his finest portrait that of his wife Ruth. He exhibited at the Roberts Galley in the early spring of each year of 1961, 1963 and 1965. He is represented at the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Hamilton Art Gallery. Collier was elected a member of the Ontario Society of Artists in 1952. He taught advertising art at the Ontario College of Art from 1955 to 1967 at which time he devoted himself to painting on a full-time basis. He died in Toronto at the age of 79.

Source: "A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume I: A-F", compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd, Ottawa, 1977