Artwork by Ethel Seath,  Martello Tower, Montreal

Ethel Seath
Martello Tower, Montreal

oil on board
signed lower left; signed and titled on a label on the reverse
18 x 16 ins ( 45.7 x 40.6 cms )

Auction Estimate: $18,000.00$14,000.00 - $18,000.00

Price Realized $24,000.00
Sale date: December 3rd 2020

Walter Klinkhoff Gallery, Montreal
Arthur Leggett Fine Art & Antiques, Toronto
Masters Gallery, Calgary
Private Collection, Calgary
“Ethel Seath Retrospective Exhibition”, Walter Klinkhoff Gallery, Montreal, September 1987, no. 25
Still standing in Montreal as one of the last nine surviving defence towers in Canada, the Martello towers were built as part of Fort de la Montagne, protecting Montreal Harbour. Completed in 1694, the fort also functioned as a missionary and was later developed by the priests of Saint Sulpice of Montreal. Colloquially known as the ‘Priests Farm’, the missionary evolved into the Grand Séminaire de Montréal on rue Sherbrooke Ouest.

Heavy outlining, jewelled tones and a geometric quality to form all honour the avant-garde practices mastered by Montreal artists of the early twentieth century. Ethel Seath’s artwork glistens like stained- glass and is testament to the rich history of the city. The sinuous trees in the background of the composition create a protective canopy around the tower while the existing seminary acts as a backdrop to the illuminated tower. The curvilinear treatment to form offers a free quality to the artwork, a signifier of Seath’s liberty in her own practice, away from the more rigid constraints of her graphic art career. As the tower acts as signifier for the city’s rich history, the two priests strolling in the background remind us of the site’s function as a religious educational institution. Like Emily Carr’s depictions of missionary structures within the landscape, Seath reminds the viewer of society’s enduring footprint on the land and the complex histories of Canada’s development.

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Ethel Seath
(1879 - 1963) Beaver Hall Group, Canadian Group of Painters