Artwork by Thomas de Vany Forrestall,  Orchard

Tom Forrestall

egg tempera on board
signed lower left; titled on the reverse
17.75 x 31.5 ins ( 45.1 x 80 cms ) ( overall )

Auction Estimate: $7,000.00$5,000.00 - $7,000.00

Price Realized $9,440.00
Sale date: September 24th 2020

DuPont Canada Inc.
Madison Gallery, Toronto
Private Collection, Toronto
Nova Scotia artist Tom Forrestall has long viewed the conventional rectangular painting format as an unnecessary creative limitation. Unusual for a realist artist, he has experimented with diverse shapes for supports in a way more commonly associated with abstract artists such as Frank Stella and Ellsworth Kelly. With his distinctive sense of composition, Forrestall used a trapezoid painting structure to energize his depiction of an orchard scene bathed in crisp Atlantic light. The painting contrasts a dynamic arrangement of horizontal patterns of light and shade with a thick veil of dense foliage which fills the picture’s entire upper half.

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Thomas de Vany Forrestall
(1936) ARCA

Born in Middleton, Nova Scotia, he grew up there and in Dartmouth. His early interest in art was stimulated by books on art. When his family moved to Dartmouth, he attended Saturday Morning Classes at the NSCA in Halifax. Following high school, he began art studies at Mount Allison University, Sackville, N.B. (1954), under Lawren P. Harris and Alex Colville, and graduated in 1958 with his B.F.A degree. Under these top Canadian artists, he developed his natural abilities and emerged as a skilful painter who was awaiting an opportunity to develop his ideas. He married fellow student Natalie LeBlanc of Atholville, N.B. Having been a scholarship student, he was awarded a Canada Council grant for study and travel in Europe. When he and Natalie returned to Canada, they settled in Fredericton, where he worked for a year as assistant curator of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery; then as an editorial cartoonist for the “Fredericton Daily Gleaner”, and designer for UNB Press. One of Forrestall’s patrons, Brigadier Michael Wardell, made it possible for him to buy a converted building, formerly an old bakery. There, he conducted art classes one night a week.

With the income now from his jobs and his teaching, he was able to devote more of his time to painting. It was not long before he adopted the tried and true medium of egg tempera as well as acrylics. By 1963, he was experimenting with panels of shapes other than the traditional rectangle. In 1965, he held his first solo shows at Roberts Gallery, Toronto.

During this period, he painted remarkable scenes which were described by artist and teacher, Dr. Donald C. MacKay as follows, “His paintings, many inspired by the rural tranquility of the Maritimes, frequently reflect nostalgic qualities often inherent in their subjects, yet emphasized so that he shares his intimate experience with the viewer. His preferred medium, egg tempera, is ideally suitable for this expression and the diverse forms of frames are designed to encourage participation and thus enhance this special relationship.”

Forrestall once explained, “Technically, my way of painting is traditional – preliminary studies, rough compositional drawings, then the painting. Egg tempera is an impeccable time-tested formula for permanency and long lasting beauty. With this guarantee, I can rest assured of the stability of the medium. I feel the artist needs all the help he can get or inherit in order to carry out his most difficult job – producing a work of art.”

Literature Source:
"A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume 1: A-F, 5th Edition, Revised and Expanded", compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd, Ottawa, 1997