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Heffel Fine Art Auction


Lot #008

New Record: $40, 950


watercolour, pastel and ink collage on paper board, circa 1954 - 1955

on verso inscribed with The Cahén Archives, FAMM-058

29x39 in, 73,7 x 99 cm


Private Collection, Toronto


Karl Nickel, Oscar Cahén: First American Restrospective Exhibition, The Ringling Museum of Art, 1968

David Burnett and Marilyn Schiff, Contemporary Canadian Art, 1983, page 49


The Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida, Oscar Cahén: First American Retrospective Exhibition,

September 30 - November 10, 1968, catalogue #42

Considered one of the bright stars of Painters Eleven from its inception, Oscar Cahén's tragic death in 1956 at the age of 40 did not diminish his legacy. Having survived World War II when he was shipped from Prague to England in 1938, only to be interned in England as an enemy alien. It was by chance rather than choice that he was sent to Canada in 1940, where he worked as an illustrator in Montreal. His career as painter, stimulated by his friendship with Harold Town and Walter Yarwood, truly began with his arrival in Toronto in 1946. His earliest paintings from that period reflect the influence of both Abraham Rattner and British artist Graham Sutherland. This provocative work from the 1950s exhibitis the strong, sharp, graphic strokes and bright palette that came to characterize his images. Cahén's training and skill as a graphic designer added to his ability to handle a broad range of media, while hie life experience made him stand out as a true original among his peers in the burgeoning Toronto art scene. He was able to move between figuartive and purely abstract work with east and assurance. David Burnett and Marilyn Schiff wrote, "His work...was not gestural in the sense of the broad, sweeping brushwork of contemporary American Abstrace Expressionism, but more closely structured along the lines of contemporary European and British painting. It reflects...a talent that was not and could not be restricted to one particular mode of approach."

This work has been assigned ID #FAMM-058 SL by The Cahén Archives.


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