Gordon Appelbe Smith, 1980, Tidal Pools,
acrylic on canvas, 55 in. x 65 in.
Signed, titled and dated verso.
Provenance: Marlborough – Godard Gallery, Toronto
At 99 years old, west coast artist Gordon Appelbe Smith defies the rules and continues to create masterful, large scale paintings that evoke the mood and harmony of British Columbia forests and coastal areas. Gordon Appelbe Smith is a leading figure in contemporary Canadian painting and has taught and mentored generations of younger contemporary Canadian artists. In 1941, during the Second World War, Smith went overseas with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Regiment and he was seriously wounded in Sicily in 1943. Smith returned to Vancouver in 1944 and the Vancouver Art Gallery mounted a solo exhibition on the work that Smith produced overseas. Smith had never looked back after that exhibition, creating and exhibiting artwork in both public and commercial galleries across Canada and beyond.
This glorious large scale abstract painting by Gordon Appelbe Smith titled Tidal Pools, 1980, reproduced above, was first exhibited at the Marlborough-Godard Gallery in Toronto. Gordon Appelbe Smith’s paintings from this period became much more gestural. Tidal Pools demonstrates how Smith’s handling of the paint became looser and the colours warmer and more intense. These ethereal paintings by Gordon Appelbe Smith were about brushwork and colour. The reference to landscape was intuitive rather than by intention. Smith noted about these paintings, “if something comes that gives a feeling of the land and sea, then I’m happy.”1 The colours, the gestural strokes and the harmony of paint movement in this lovely painting evokes a feeling of quiet serenity in the early morning on the coastal beaches of British Columbia.
Gordon Appelbe Smith’s paintings are included in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, The Vancouver Art Gallery, British Columbia., the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the Smithsonian Collection in Washington, D.C. In 2009, Smith was awarded the Governor General’s Award in the Visual and Media Arts.
Gordon Appelbe Smith continues to produce and exhibit his recent large scale paintings in commercial galleries in British Columbia.
James Rottman Fine Art carries a significant inventory of historical artworks by Gordon Appelbe Smith. Do not hesitate to contact us with inquiries regarding this artwork or other works by Gordon Appelbe Smith.
1 Gordon Smith: The Act of Painting, Vancouver Art Gallery, Ian M. Thom and Andrew Hunter, Douglas and McIntyre, pg. 48.