Artwork by William Goodridge Roberts,  Still Life with Blue Curtains

Goodridge Roberts
Still Life with Blue Curtains

oil on board
signed lower right; Roberts Inventory Number (697) on the reverse
32 x 32 ins ( 81.3 x 81.3 cms )

Auction Estimate: $9,000.00$7,000.00 - $9,000.00

Price Realized $9,000.00
Sale date: June 9th 2021

Galerie de Bellefeuille, Montreal
Private Collection, Toronto
Sandra Paikowsky, Goodridge Roberts: 1904-1974, Kleinburg, Ontario, 1998, pages 119-20
Throughout his career, William Goodridge Roberts’s artistic practice remained rooted in painting from direct observation. The motif of the still-life offered the artist a high degree of control over his subject, allowing him to set arrangements and execute compositions specifically suited to his interests. Rather than highlight the studio setting as in other works, here Roberts has opted for an ambiguous background made up of semi-cubist rectangular swathes of shifting tones. The window-like blue curtains activate the space with light and tonal variation, adding contrast with the earthy hues that dominate the painting. Roberts’s still-life paintings demonstrate a careful consideration of composition. The painter’s decision to arrange the tablecloth on a diagonal adds an immediate dynamism to the visual structure of the work.

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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.