Artwork by William Goodridge Roberts,  Baie St. Paul (1956)

Goodridge Roberts
Baie St. Paul (1956)

oil on board
signed lower right; inscribed with Roberts Inventory No. 3017 on the reverse
19.75 x 23.5 ins ( 50.2 x 59.7 cms )

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

Price Realized $3,540.00
Sale date: September 24th 2020

Collection of Joan Roberts
Family of the artist
Sandra Paikowsky, “Goodridge Roberts: 1904-1974”, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, Ontario, 1998, page 148
Closely associated with the Quebec regions of the Laurentians, the Eastern Townships, and Charlevoix, Goodridge Roberts made several summer painting excursions to the town of Baie St. Paul on the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River. The setting provided him with rugged terrain, the shallow, quick-moving river and the picturesque town to paint. Executed in the artist’s distinctly fluid brushstrokes, Roberts based his landscape on careful observation of the scene before him. On Roberts’ Baie-St-Paul paintings, art critic Robert Ayre noted:

“These pictures look as if they were painted swiftly; and so they were; which may be a surprise to those who know Goodridge Roberts as a shy, slow-moving and reticent man. They were painted swiftly but the landscape was not scamped. It was fully realized according to the vision of a man who could paint swiftly and yet true only because he had spent years in slow, penetrating contemplation.”

Rather than choose between speed and pictorial accuracy, Roberts made use of both, deftly capturing the light, space and atmosphere of a region to which he was deeply connected.

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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.