Artwork by Kenneth Danby,  Sharpshooter

Ken Danby

egg tempera on board
signed and dated 1971 lower right
20.25 x 30 ins ( 51.4 x 76.2 cms )

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

Price Realized $10,620.00
Sale date: May 29th 2018

Gallery Moos, Toronto
Mr. Daniel Hechter, Paris, France
A Canadian Corporate Collection
Paul Duval, High Realism in Canada, Toronto/Vancouver, 1974, pages 78, 80 and 84
Paul Duval, Ken Danby: The New Decade, 1984, pages 105 and 108
Paul Duval, Ken Danby, Toronto/Vancouver, 1976, page 130, reproduced page 137
One of Canada’s preeminent realist artists, Ken Danby was most noted for his depictions of sport and leisure with a keen sense of capturing the human condition—whether the physical strain of a sculler working against the currents or the sharp focus of a snooker player hunched over the game table. Beginning first as a young artist in Toronto exploring abstract art like many other contemporaries in similar circumstances, it was not until a trip to Buffalo, New York in 1962 to visit the Albright-Knox Gallery and take in a solo exhibition of American realist, Andrew Wyeth, that changed the course of his artistic career. Inspired by Wyeth, “the impact made by these paintings convinced Danby that he should forsake abstract painting, which he was increasingly becoming dissatisfied with and return completely to his devotion to realism.”

Growing up in Sault Ste. Marie, Danby was driven to return to Southern Ontario to explore the happenings of youths in surrounding cities and towns. Throughout the early 1970s, Danby was occupied with the lives and tendencies of the modern teenager as barometers for change and youthful fun. Frequenting arcades, Danby could observe and capture the care-free excitement and entertainment of the modern teenager.

In this high realist work, Danby's subject turns away from the viewer, the dark figure set upon a lighter background. Duval notes that “[t]o collect material for ‘Sharpshooter’, Danby spent a day looking at shooting galleries at the Canadian National Exhibition and in Toronto's penny arcades.” “Sharpshooter” captures the subject in a moment of intense concentration with the brilliant arcade lights glimmering in the background, unbothered by the viewer. The work focuses on the subject in a moment of tension between the light-hearted frivolity of the arcade as a refuge and intense focus of its patrons. Mirroring the transitionary period of teenage life growing away from childhood, but not fully matured into adulthood, these works explore the human condition of growth through the lens of youthful fun. A short but important period, this foray into a pseudo-anthropological study of the modern teenager produced many graphic studies and four highly detailed and major tempera paintings in the artist’s body of work.

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Kenneth Danby
(1940 - 2007) RCA

Kenneth (Ken) Danby was born on March 6, 1940 in Sault Ste. Marie, and was destined for a career as an artist. As a 12 year old, he was already talking to career advisors about how to enrol in the Ontario College of Art (Now OCADU). In 1958, he realized this dream by enrolling at the school, but became disenfranchised with institutional education and quit two years later. After briefly experimenting in abstract art, he returning to his roots in representational art, and specifically, realism, after being inspired on a trip to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo.

In 1964 Gallery Moos organized “Danby's first one-man show, which promptly sold out and set an example that was repeated and surpassed over many years”*. Today, Danby is recognized internationally and is one of Canada's best known artists. His work can be found in private, corporate and public institutions worldwide, including The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Danby received many awards and accolades, including his election to membership of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1976. He was also awarded with the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal by the Government of Canada, and The Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada. Danby served on many boards, including that of the National Gallery of Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts.