Artwork by John Gould,  Portrait as Bird

John Gould
Portrait as Bird

signed lower right, numbered “22/100” lower right
13 x 10 ins ( 33 x 25.4 cms ) ( sight )

Auction Estimate: $700.00$500.00 - $700.00

Price Realized $360.00
Sale date: February 27th 2024

Private Collection, Vancouver

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John Gould
(1929 - 2010)

Born in Toronto, Ontatio, Gould enjoyed a creative family background—his mother published several volumes of her poetry and his father has directed and acted in theatrical productions. He entered the Ontario College of Art in 1948 where he studied drawing and painting and graduated in 1952. In his painting he had been influenced by Frederick Varley and Jock Macdonald. Gould, in the company of other students, would meet Varley every day in a pub where they would stand and listen to him talk on form; —fifteen minutes Gould felt equaled a year of study (on the same matter) in art school.

After graduation from the Ontario College of Art, he went to France and studied at the Academie Julian and then travelled to Europe. When he returned home, he went hitchhiking to Mexico, Vancouver, and back to Toronto. Between these periods of travel, he did odd jobs and was careful not to be lured into the field of commercial art which he found confining. He worked for some time i the paint shops of the BCB's Television studios.

By 1960 he established himself as a promising artist and won the Elizabeth T. Greenshield Foundation Award which made possible his trip to Spain in the company of his wife and year old daughter. There he was able to work freely at his art and produced a fine collection of sketches on which Alan Jarvis made the following comments, “In his sketch-books from Spain, Gould reveals a sensitive observer and a very talented documentor, and from these notes he has produced a good number of important works, such as 'Quandrilla'.” This work which Jarvis referred to, was an effective oil painting depicting a group of banderilleros waiting to play their part in the bullfight. Jarvis made the deft comparison between Gould and Degas as follows, “Gould, however, brought a fresh eye to the bullring and, in some of his strongest works, captured the quieter and less obvious moments of the drama: the moments of silence and waiting, the moments f intense concentration for the professionals involved—as Degas drew the dancers waiting in the wings...” In portraiture, Gould had been thought of as a budding Varley, a high commendation indeed—not purely by an emulation of Varley bu in his own natural abilities in draftsmanship and originality.

He won the Hadassah First Prize Award in 1961 and in the same year (autumn) he held his first one man show at the Here and Now Gallery in Toronto. He then exhibited at the Dorothy Cameron Gallery (his disrobing series) in the winter of 1963. He has taught drawing (evenings) at the Ontario College of Art and at the Artists' Workshop. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy (A.R.C.A.), the Ontario Society of Artists and the Canadian Society of Graphic Art.

The University of Toronto’s Fisher Rare Book Library now houses Gould’s writing and reviews and the Film Reference Library holds the artist’s sixteen millimetre films in their collection.

Source: "A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume I: A-F", compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd, Ottawa, 1977