Lot #11

Tom Hodgson
Non Objective (Bluish)

oil on board
signed lower right; titled on the reverse
41.5 x 23.25 ins ( 105.4 x 59.1 cms )

Sold for $60,000.00
Sale date: December 3rd 2020

Provenance:
Private Collection, Ontario
Private Collection, Toronto
Exhibited:
“Seventh Annual Exhibition”, Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton, December 2, 1955 - January 1, 1956, no. 32
Literature:
David G. Taylor, “Tom Hodgson: An Exhibition Organized by The Lynnwood Arts Centre”, Simcoe, Ontario, 1988, “Non Objective (Bluish)” listed page 53
Iris Nowell, “Painters Eleven: The Wild Ones of Canadian Art”, Vancouver/ Toronto, 2010, pages 5-7
As a member of the abstract artists’ collective Painters Eleven, Tom Hodgson’s bold abstract works helped change and shape the mid- century landscape of painting within Canada. Often favouring bright, contrasting colour palettes which emphasized the spirit and movement of form and medium, Hodgson experimented with various artistic styles throughout his career, while maintaining his signature energetic technique.

The artist’s early period of abstraction between 1947 and 1964 was particularly transformative. As he gradually moved away from figuration, Hodgson used his own altered photographs of still lifes as inspiration for compositional elements of abstract works. Bold colours and thick black outlines typify this period, with references to the work of International artists like Picasso, Miro and Kandinsky, as well as fellow Painters Eleven member Oscar Cahén. The Toronto artists who formed Painters Eleven in 1953 were interested in bringing completely non-representational painting to Ontario, and “Non Objective (Bluish)”, as suggested by its title, succeeds at this goal. Hodgson’s oil painting provides a complex abstract composition that simultaneously balances line and volume, geometric and organic forms, as well as subtle and bold colours.

“Non Objective (Bluish)” was first exhibited in 1955, while Hodgson was training with the Canadian Olympic paddling team. The artist competed in both the 1952 and 1956 Olympic Games, concurrent to the peak of the Painters Eleven group. Hodgson remarkably balanced two completely separate and impressive talents at the same time. Later in 1956, he accepted a teaching position for the Artists’ Workshop in Toronto.

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Thomas Sherlock Hodgson
(1924 - 2006) Painters Eleven

Born in Toronto, Ontario, he studied in Toronto at the Central Technical School, 1939-42. During the Second World War he served with the R.C.A.F. overseas and on his return to civilian life resumed his studies in art at the Ontario College of Art where he graduated in 1946. He joined the staff of an advertising agency as assistant to the art director until he entered the field of commercial art. In 1956 he became a teacher for the Artists Workshop, Toronto. But while he was developing in his artistic career he was excelling in athletics and was on the Canadian Olympic paddling team (1952 and 1956).

Back in Toronto he joined with a group of artists which included Jack Bush, Oscar Cahén, Alexandra Luke, J.W.G. MacDonald, Ray Mead, Kazuo Nakamura, William Ronald, Harold Town, Walter Yarwood and Hortense Gordon who were interested in non-objective painting. This group decided to call themselves Painters Eleven and they brought non-objective painting too Ontario in a big way. Hodgson was particularly influenced by one of them, Oscar Cahén, who, like Hodgson was a commercial artist in search of freedom and adventure in painting. Perhaps more than anything it was Cahén’s colour juxtapositions which greatly influenced Hodgson. Solo exhibitions by Hodgson were held in 1954, 1956 and 1957 (at the Gallery of Contemporary Art).

In 1958 Hugo McPherson in his article on Toronto’s visor and new life in painting, noted Hodgson among the good painters of that city. In 1961 Hodgson with 23 other artists, was featured in an issue of Canadian Art magazine and noted by Robert Fulford as follows, “A Hodgson canvas seems to storm over us, filling our eyes with its swarm of apparently unrelated images. It is not until long after our first glimpse of the work that its organization and structure become apparent… We begin to see that the strange colours are not only the result of a rather eccentric colour sense but also are the result of space and light.”

His later exhibitions revealed his interest in pop art and the female figure (exhibited at Albert White Galleries, Toronto, 1965) and he continued to achieve greater success in his oils which were shown at Needham, Harper and Streets of Canada, Toronto, 1967. His work is included in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the University of British Columbia. He was a member of the Ontario Society of Artists (1954), Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour (1954), Canadian Group of Painters (1956) and an Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy (1962). He lived in Toronto.

Source: "A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume II”, compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd, Ottawa, 1979