Artwork by William Goodridge Roberts,  Self Portrait

Goodridge Roberts
Self Portrait

oil on board
signed lower right
48 x 32 ins ( 121.9 x 81.3 cms )

Auction Estimate: $12,000.00$8,000.00 - $12,000.00

Price Realized $12,650.00
Sale date: November 23rd 2017

Sandra Paikowsky, Goodridge Roberts 1904 - 1974, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 1998, page 162
Goodridge Roberts painted self-portraits throughout his life, though he produced roughly a dozen in the mid-1950s. Sandra Paikowsky writes, “By virtue of their very subject matter, Roberts’ self-portraits from the middle years of the 1950s are the embodiment of his identity as a mature painter. He produced several large paintings in which the presentation of his working environment is an essential extension of his persona.” He usually identifies himself as a painter, such as in this example, holding a paintbrush and palette alongside an easel. Roberts depicts himself wearing glasses, enhancing the symbolic reference to the painter as spectator. The cigarette suggests a natural, candid tone to the scene.

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William Goodridge Roberts
(1904 - 1974) Canadian Group of Painters, RCA

Roberts was born in Barbados in 1904 to a prominent Canadian literary family. His father, Theodore, was a poet, novelist, and journalist. Roberts began his studies at Montreal's Ecole des Beaux-Arts but, encouraged by his art-critic aunt, Mary Fanton Roberts, he enrolled at New York's Art Students League. His New York schooling would prove to be a major influence on his career.

During the 1930s, Roberts lived, painted, and taught in Ontario. He was the very first artist-in-residence at Queens University in Kingston. Refusing to incorporate nationalist content into his work, Roberts became recognized for his modernist approach. In the 1940s, Roberts moved to Montreal and continued painting and teaching. He was admired by Quebec's francophone art community who saw in his work a reflection of the modernist figurative tradition from France, known in Montreal as "living art." His works were equally divided into the themes of landscapes, portraits and still lifes; all are textbook examples of each style. The artist's last major retrospective was held at the National Gallery of Canada in 1969. He died in January 1974.