Lot 21: DAVID BROWN MILNEMAIN STREET, 1942, colour drypoint; signed and numbered 38/40 in the margin 7 ins x 9 ins; 17.5 cms x 22.5 cms Literature: David Silcox, "Painting Place, The Life and Work of David B. Milne," Toronto, 1996, page 314.David Silcox,
November 26, 2012
Toronto, ON, CanadaLive Auction
Description: DAVID BROWN MILNEMAIN STREET, 1942, colour drypoint; signed and numbered 38/40 in the margin 7 ins x 9 ins; 17.5 cms x 22.5 cms $20,000-30,000Literature: David Silcox, "Painting Place, The Life and Work of David B. Milne," Toronto, 1996, page 314.David Silcox, "David Milne, 1882-1953" (exhibition catalogue introduction), Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston, 1967.Rosemarie L. Tovell, "Reflections in a Quiet Pool, The Prints of David Milne", Ottawa, 1980, page 196, plate 80, illustrated.Note: After moving to Uxbridge in 1940, Milne rented a studio above Gray's Bakery on Brock Street. Silcox notes how, as a means of hiding him from his estranged wife, Milne's agent Douglas Duncan had "...disguised Milne's whereabouts by giving generic titles, such as Main Street, to paintings of what was really Brock Street in Uxbridge". Milne had also kept his address private from most friends and family, so all correspondence would be done through Duncan, at the agent's gallery, the Picture Loan Society. Milne first used Main Street as a subject in 1940, with "Window on Main Street", and continued years later with this work. By the time Milne had produced "Main Street (1942)" he had developed the perfect reproducible colour for the drypoint. The artist had been using varying mixtures for his drypoints, but by 1942, he began to use more stable and consistent mixtures so that the results would be predictable. He continued to use what many refer to as his "hellish colour". Rosemarie Tovell notes, "Milne's use of 'hellish colour'- a mixture of Yellow Ochre and Permanent Violet- broke dominance of the harsher blacks, whites, Cobalt Blues, and Chinese Vermilions. By early 1940, 'hellish colour' had become lighter and more transparent, varying from sandy to salmon shades." Milne's concern for mixing the perfect colour indicates a desire for his art to provide an immediate impact through accessible depictions. Silcox quotes Milne: "Since art is aesthetic emotion, exhausting, to be sustained intensely only a short time, the more quickly readable a picture is, the more its emotional effect is compressed and the greater its power". "Main Street" is a remarkable example of a vibrant street scene with tones that thrill the senses.