Artwork by Gershon Iskowitz,  S-I
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Cowley Abbott
326 Dundas St West
Toronto ON M5T 1G5
Ph. 1(416)479-9703

Lot #8

Gershon Iskowitz
S-I

watercolour
signed, titled and dated 1977 lower right; inscribed “ISK36” & “C364” on the reverse; unframed
17 x 22 ins ( 43.2 x 55.9 cms ) ( sheet )

Estimated: $3,000.00$2,000.00 - $3,000.00

Closes October 26th at 02:00:00 PM EDT

Estimated: $3,000.00$2,000.00 - $3,000.00

Next bid is $1,100.00

Current bid is $1,000.00
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Provenance:
Collection of the artist
Gershon Iskowitz Foundation
Proceeds from this sale will benefit the charitable not-for-profit Gershon Iskowitz Foundation, which awards an annual prize to a professional Canadian visual artist for their ongoing research and artistic production.
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Cowley Abbott
326 Dundas St West
Toronto ON M5T 1G5
Ph. 1(416)479-9703


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Gershon Iskowitz
(1920/21 - 1988) RCA

Born in Kielce, Poland, in either 1920 or 1921, Gershon Iskowitz immigrated to Canada in 1948 after surviving three Nazi concentration camps. As a child, Iskowitz had an aptitude for art. He created advertisements for his local movie theatre in a section of his family’s living room that his father portioned off to create a small studio. In 1939, he was accepted into the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw but returned home only a few days after he began due to the Nazi invasion of Poland. Initially placed in the Kielce Ghetto, once liquidated Iskowitz was imprisoned in concentration camps throughout Poland and Germany. While he continued to make drawings during this period only two survive: Condemned (1944-46) and Buchenwald (1944-45). Upon liberation, he lived in the Feldafing Displaced Persons Camp and audited courses at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich.

Upon receiving a temporary travel document from the Military Government for Germany, issued to stateless people, Iskowitz traveled to Canada via the United States in 1948 where his extended family greeted him at Union Station in Toronto. Until 1954, Iskowitz’s paintings focused on memories from his imprisonment. In the same year, he was included in the Canadian Society of Graphic Art exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) alongside Painters Eleven artist Oscar Cahén.

By the 1960s Iskowitz’s style transformed from gestural to abstract. He became interested in exploring the Canadian landscape rather than his wartime memories during this period. After exhibiting at Gallery Moos in October 1964, for the first time, Iskowitz formed a close relationship with the owner, Walter Moos. Moos managed Iskowitz’s career and finances from this point forward. After receiving a Canada Council grant in 1967 he flew to Churchill, Manitoba. Entranced by aerial views he saw while in flight, Iskowitz began incorporating this perspective into his art.

Iskowitz was selected to represent Canada alongside Walter Redinger at the Venice Biennale in 1972 where he displayed four of these areal diptychs. In 1982, the AGO put on a retrospective exhibition of Iskowitz’s life work. After the retrospective exhibition had concluded, Iskowitz set up a foundation that would provide financial support to artists through an annual monetary prize, with assistance from Moos.

Literature Source: Ihor Holubizky, Gershon Iskowitz: Life and Work. Toronto: Art Canada Institute, 2018 (https://aci-iac.ca/art-books/gershon-iskowitz)

We extend our thanks to Danie Klein, York University graduate student in art history, for writing and contributing this artist biography.