Artwork by William Goodridge Roberts,  Self Portrait

Goodridge Roberts
Self Portrait

oil on board
signed lower right; Roberts Inventory No. 2192 inscribed on the reverse
48 x 36 ins ( 121.9 x 91.4 cms )

Auction Estimate: $12,000.00$8,000.00 - $12,000.00

Price Realized $8,400.00
Sale date: December 3rd 2020

Collection of the artist’s family
A prolific painter, William Goodridge Roberts returned to the motif of the self portrait many times throughout his life. Quite the opposite of self-aggrandizement, this work is a direct and honest depiction of the artist engaged in the act of painting. Roberts dips into expressionist territory using heightened colour and loose, gestural brushstrokes. However in contrast to expressionism, Roberts has adapted his palette to describe light and space, rather than to depict an intense emotional state. The artist’s face appears relaxed, yet keenly focused on his task. The cigarette, so often present in Roberts’ self portraits, adds to the candid atmosphere. This painting has been executed with the rapid, self-assured brushwork of an artist who has by this point spent decades developing his craft.

This artwork presents a rare opportunity to acquire a large-format self portrait by Goodridge Roberts, one of the few of a larger size which remains in private hands.

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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.