Alexandra Luke, Rose Garden, c. 1953,
oil on canvas, 14 in. x 18 in.,
signed recto, titled verso.
The Rose Garden, c. 1953 (reproduced above) by Alexandra Luke is a symphony of brilliant colours and textures likened to an awakening of spring blooms in a magical garden. In this attractive painting Luke uses an arsenal of techniques; the pushing, pulling and scraping of paint layers, gestural brush strokes, tachism style mark making, techniques used to break up the picture plane in to shapes and forms that teem with energy.
Alexandra Luke was born in Montreal in 1901 to an established Oshawa Ontario family, and was one of only two female members of the celebrated abstract art group “Painters Eleven”. In 1945 Luke enrolled at the Banff School of Fine Arts where she met the Canadian artist and teacher Jock Macdonald. Macdonald became one of Luke’s primary influences on the artist’s career. It was through Jock Macdonald’s lectures at the school that Luke was drawn to abstraction. Luke commented at the time that “Jock Macdonald relates today’s architecture, science, physics and art expressions to the problems of space-time.”1
Luke also studied under the instruction of the great German-American abstract painter Hans Hofmann at the Banff School of Fine Arts in 1947 – 1952. Hofmann’s teaching and insights were priceless to Luke, and his friendship and support were considered vital to her training. We observe Hans Hofmann’s influence on Luke in this luscious painting “Rose Garden” (reproduced above). A painting most likely created just a year after Luke’s instruction with Hofmann had ended. Luke borrows some of Hofmann’s hallmark techniques in creating this painting. The use of rich saturated colours, heavy paint application, a concern with pictorial structure, and of course an intense action style of painting.
Alexandra Luke was responsible for organizing the first Canadian all-abstract art show in 1952, remembered as the Canadian Abstract Exhibition. The show travelled across Canada and included nine of the eleven future abstract artists of the renowned “Painters Eleven” group. The “Painters Eleven” evolved in part from this 1952 art exhibition. In 1953 Luke went on to exhibit with “Painters Eleven” and for the next seven years, until the group disbanded in 1960. Celebrated Canadian artist Alexandra Luke continued to have great success with her art. Her paintings were widely exhibited in commercial galleries and museum exhibitions across the country, until her passing in 1967. Alexandra Luke is celebrated today as one of the major historical figures in Canadian abstraction.
James Rottman Fine Art carries a significant inventory of artworks by Alexandra Luke. Do not hesitate to contact us with inquiries regarding this artwork or other works by Alexandra Luke.
1Joan Murray, Alexandra Luke: Continued Searching, published by the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, 1987, Oshawa, Ontario, pg’s. 1-4.