Artwork by Jean Albert McEwen,  Rose traversant les jaunes

Jean McEwen
Rose traversant les jaunes

oil on canvas
signed and dated 1978 lower right; titled on the reverse
88 x 68 ins ( 223.5 x 172.7 cms )

Sold for $88,500.00
Sale date: November 19th 2019

Marlborough Godard, Toronto/Montreal
Collection of TC Energy, Calgary
Jean McEwen, La profondeur de la couleur/Jean McEwen, Colour in Depth, The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, December 11, 1987 - January 24, 1988, no. 63
Constance Naubert-Riser, Jean McEwen: Colour in Depth, paintings and works on paper, 1951-1987, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1987, pages 46-49, reproduced page 113
Jean McEwen’s titles of his mature canvases are often linked to particular events that occurred at the time the works were executed. In this case, Naubert-Riser writes that “the verbal image is no longer based on pictorial elements common to the series, but evokes - discreetly and poetically - an event of recollection.” “Roses traversant les jaunes” from the Suite parisienne references McEwen’s second sojourn in Paris.

In March 1977, he received the Victor Lynch-Staunton award from the Canada Council, given to artists judged to have made a particularly notable contribution to the arts. This grant enabled McEwen to work in Paris from September 1977 until June 1978. During May and June of 1978, he exhibited the colourful Suite parisienne series at the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris. Shortly after his return to Canada, McEwen exhibited the same series at Toronto’s Mira Godard Gallery in March 1979.

In addition to his typical output of works on paper, he completed a sketchbook illustrated with watercolours in continuation of Suite parisienne, a series that proved to be a critical success as well as one that resonated with the artist for an extensive period of time. Important works such as Roses traversant les jaunes contain “effects of depth that push the possibilities offered by the medium to their very limits.” McEwen was so preoccupied by the realm of pure sensation that “he felt no need to burden his paintings with transcendental meaning.” The straightforward and descriptive title of the alluring canvas, “Roses traversant les jaunes” translates to shades of pink crossing through shades of yellow, evoking McEwen’s signature effects of dramatic depth.

“Roses traversant les jaunes” was featured in a major retrospective of McEwen’s work, Jean McEwen: Colour in Depth, held at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts from December 1987 to January 1988, curated by Constance Naubert-Riser, professor of Art History at the University of Montreal.

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Jean Albert McEwen
(1923 - 1999) RCA

Jean McEwen was born in Montreal in 1923. While growing up he was intrigued by painting and the qualities of colour, but did not pursue any formal art training. Instead he studied Pharmacy at the University of Montreal in 1951. After seeing the film “The Moon and Sixpence” based on the Somerset Maughan novel about the life and work of Paul Gauguin, he was influenced to pursue painting while completing his Pharmacy degree.

A painting that he submitted to the 66th Annual Spring Salon at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art was accepted, after which a friendship with Paul-Emile Borduas began. Borduas encouraged him to travel to Paris. He spent three years in Paris where he formed associations with Jean-Paul Riopelle and American artist Sam Francis.

His long and successful career includes a teaching position at Concordia University, Montreal as well as numerous solo exhibitions. His work is a part of public and private collections including the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.