Born in 1886 Hortense Gordon was the grand dame of the “Painters Eleven”, a group of exciting young abstract artists in Ontario that banded together in 1953 to introduce and exhibit their abstract art to audiences in Canada and abroad. Interestingly enough, Hortense Mattice Gordon was receiving attention as a professional artist long before many of the “Painters Eleven” artists were born. As early as 1909, Gordon’s landscape paintings were being accepted to the Ontario Society of Artists’ spring exhibitions at the Art Museum of Toronto (presently known as the Art Gallery of Ontario).

Hortense Gordon continued to paint in the figurative tradition until the late 1920’s when she suddenly found herself dissatisfied with her painting approach. Gordon wished to seek a better understanding of the avante-garde painting in Europe known as Cubism. Hortense and her husband, fellow artist John Sloan Gordon, embarked on their first summer trip to France in 1922 to investigate the contemporary artistic movements developing in Europe. The Gordon’s also wished to work on their plein air painting skills in France. While in France, Hortense Gordon began visiting galleries and exhibitions that exposed her to the most avante-garde painting of the day; fauvism, Cubism, Dada and surrealism, and the Bauhaus movement.

Hortense Mattice Gordon, c. 1953, Untitled

Hortense Mattice Gordon, c. 1953, Untitled
oil on board, 16 in x 21 in,
signed recto.

It was not until the late 1940’s that Hortense Gordon found her signature style in abstract painting, refining her composition of abstract shapes and forms, her work began to achieve great authority. In this beautiful untitled circa 1953 composition by Hortense Gordon (reproduced above), we appreciate the artist’s keen understanding for the principles of harmony, balance and rhythm. Objects floating in space in perfect rhythm, intersecting forms dancing on the surface, colours mingling with one another like a magical moment in time where everything seems perfect.

James Rottman Fine Art carries a significant inventory of historical artworks by Hortense Mattice Gordon. Do not hesitate to contact us with inquiries regarding this artwork or other works by Hortense Mattice Gordon.

Iris Nowell, Painters Eleven, The Wild Ones of Canadian Art, Douglas and McIntyre Publishers, pg.’s 253 – 257.