Artwork by William Goodridge Roberts,  Still Life on a Table

Goodridge Roberts
Still Life on a Table

oil on board
signed lower right; Roberts Inventory No. 869 inscribed on the reverse
48 x 40 ins ( 121.9 x 101.6 cms )

Auction Estimate: $12,000.00$9,000.00 - $12,000.00

Price Realized $11,800.00
Sale date: September 24th 2020

Roberts Gallery, Toronto
Collection of Gerald Moses, Toronto
Estate of Barbara Mercer, Toronto
More so than his Group of Seven contemporaries, Goodridge Roberts placed a special emphasis on the still-life, returning to the motif repeatedly over a thirty-year period. In the early 1960s, Roberts explored several variations on the subject of an unassuming studio table still life, rendering the painted surface in thick, confident impasto. The lively, rigorous brushwork demonstrated here contrasts with the subdued, earthy tones of the painting. Roberts added energy and focus to the composition with the bright yellow and orange hues of the fruit and flowers. The influence of early Cubism is acknowledged through the flattened perspective of the table-top in space. Roberts consistently painted directly from life, but continued to find new, inventive aesthetic territory to explore within the traditional genre.

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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.