Artwork by Philip Henry Howard Surrey,  Sherbrooke Street West, West of Claremont

Philip Surrey
Sherbrooke Street West, West of Claremont

oil on board
signed lower left; titled and dated 1970 on the reverse
16 x 20 ins ( 40.6 x 50.8 cms )

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

Price Realized $14,400.00
Sale date: June 15th 2022

Art Lenders, Montreal
Galerie Valentin, Montreal
Private Collection, Toronto
Terry Rigelhof, “Philip Surrey (1910-1990): Retrospective Exhibition”, Walter Klinkhoff Gallery, Montreal, 2004, page 2
Philip Surrey was a figurative painter with an enduring interest in human subjects within urban nightscapes. He occupied a unique place within twentieth-century Canadian art history, which was dominated largely by landscape painting in the 1930s and 1940s, and abstraction in the 1950s and 1960s. For most of his career, Surrey used Montreal as his stage, depicting and arranging pedestrians wandering the usually empty streets. In “Sherbrooke Street West, West of Claremont”, Surrey creates an imagined and cinematic nocturnal scene, emphasized by the glowing light beneath the storefront awnings. Figures dressed in chic summer garb walk along Sherbrooke Street near the border of Westmount and Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, an area filled with boutiques, cafés and bistros.

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Philip Henry Howard Surrey
(1910 - 1990) RCA, CAS, Order of Canada

"Each individual is alone, cut off. Each wonders how others cope with life. A work of art is a particularly complex statement, valuable because packed with meaning... Like icebergs, four-fifths of our personalities lie below the surface; of the fifth that shows, only part can be expressed in conversation. The only effective outlet for all deeper feelings and thoughts is art." (Philip Surrey, c. 1949)

Philip Surrey, a founding member of the Contemporary Arts Society, was a figurative painter with an enduring interest in human subjects within urban nightscapes. For most of his career, Surrey used Montreal as his stage, arranging lighting and figures - most often pedestrians - in compositions that revealed both the gregarious nature and the solitude of humanity. A friend and student of Frederick Varley, Surrey was also closely tied to many of the most important Montreal artists and writers of the 1930s and 1940s.

Philip Surrey began his art training in Winnipeg at age sixteen, when he took an apprenticeship at Brigdens commercial art firm. There, he met Fritz Brandtner. In the evenings, he took classes at the Winnipeg School of Art under LeMoine FitzGerald and George Overton. It was at this time that he started painting the streets and people of Winnipeg after dark, by the light of streetlamps and restaurants. He moved to Vancouver in 1929 and took a job as a commercial artist at Cleland-Kent Engraving. In night classes at the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts, he studied with Frederick Varley and Jock Macdonald. Surrey left Vancouver in 1936 and spent three months at New York's Art Students League, studying under Frank Vincent Dumond. The following year, he settled in Montreal and found work at the Standard newspaper. He continued to paint in evenings and on weekends and became immersed in the art scene, rekindling his friendship with Brandtner and befriending John Lyman, Goodridge Roberts, Jori Smith and Jean Palardy.

Philip Surrey was awarded the Centennial Medal (1967). He held an honorary doctorate form Concordia University (1981), and was a member of the Order of Canada (1982).