Lot #105

W.J. Phillips
York Boat on Lake Winnipeg, 1930

colour woodcut on paper
signed, titled and numbered 145/150 in the lower margin
10.25 x 13.75 in ( 26 x 34.9 cm )

Auction Estimate: $20,000.00$15,000.00 - $20,000.00

Marie Guest
Collection of The Winnipeg Art Gallery, 1957
Malvina Bolus, "The Beaver: Magazine of the North", Winter 1969, a similar work illustrated page 4
Roger H. Boulet, "The Tranquility and the Turbulence", Markham, Ontario, 1981, a similar work illustrated page 133
Roger H. Boulet, "Walter J. Phillips: The Complete Graphic Works", Markham, Ontario, 1981, a similar work illustrated pages 10 and 335
Maria Tippett and Douglas Cole, "Phillips in Print: The Selected Writings of Walter J. Phillips on Canadian Nature and Art", Manitoba, 1982, a similar work illustrated (unpaginated plate)
Nancy E. Green, Kate Rutherford and Toni Tomlinson, "Walter J. Phillips", Portland, 2013, pages 27-30, a similar work illustrated page 30
Walter Joseph Phillips is revered as one of Canada’s most accomplished printmakers, with artworks rich in masterful technique, graceful design and harmonious balance. The formation of a colour woodcut is a long process. The first step is to create a sketch in the field, then produce a watercolour in the studio and then, design the woodblock, which involves carving the blocks and preparing the paper.

Here, Phillips depicts one of the iconic trading vessels of the Hudson’s Bay Company. These boats played an integral role in transporting goods from inland trading posts to York Factory on the Hudson Bay. The painstaking detail of the precise, curved lines that are repeated in the waves, boat and sail attest to the artist’s talent at printmaking. "York Boat on Lake Winnipeg" is one of Phillips’ most popular images, with editions included in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, The Glenbow Museum and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

This artwork is being sold to benefit the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG)-Qaumajuq in establishing an endowment fund to support more diverse representation in the permanent collection, beginning with contemporary Canadian art. Cowley Abbott is pleased to donate our selling commission to the fund as part of the sale.
Sale Date: May 30th 2024

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Walter Joseph Phillips
(1884 - 1963) RCA

W.J. Phillips was born in Lincolnshire, England in 1884. Trained at the Birmingham School of Art, he was a successful watercolour artist in England before he and his wife, Gladys, emigrated to Winnipeg in 1913. Although watercolour remained his primary medium, the woodblock print was an enduring interest which brought his work to a wider audience. Among W.J. Phillips’ best-known and loved images in watercolour and woodblock print are those which depict family holidays on Lake of the Woods from the teens until 1925. In 1940, Walter Phillips was asked to be artist in residence at the Banff School of Fine Arts. He moved to Calgary in 1941 where he taught at the provincial Institute of Technology and Art.

W.J. Phillips’ works are housed in galleries across Canada including The National Gallery of Canada, The Winnipeg Art Gallery, and the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies as well as collections abroad in London, Washington D.C., New Jersey, Japan, and private collections the world over. The most extensive private collection of work by Phillips was gifted to the city of Winnipeg. Permanently housed in the Pavilion Gallery Museum in Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park, the Crabb collection is available for public viewing year round.