Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Alex Colville

Hound in Field, 1958
Susan, my talented artist bloggy friend from Nova Scotia, thought that
I might enjoy the artwork of the Canadian artist Alex Colville, since I
like Andrew Wyeth's works. And she was so right! The soft tempera
paintings are simple, realistic and his subject matter very ordinary,
which, in my opinion, makes them extraordinary. Colville worked as
one of Canada's most famous war artists in WWII, painting troops
landing on Juno Beach on D-Day. He returned to Nova Scotia after the
war where he was a member of the faculty at Mount Allison University's
fine arts department until he left to devote himself to painting full time.

Horse and Train, 1954
Colville's Horse and Train was inspired by two lines of the 1949
poem "Dedication to Mary Campbell" by the South African Poet Roy
Campbell. The painting is simple, yet I think very haunting and
complex. This piece, like many of his works, has a surreal and quite
magical quality about it.
.
Against a regiment I oppose a brain
And a dark horse against an armored train
.

Alex Colville, by Arnaud Maggs

37 comments:

  1. The dog looks amazing on the 1st painting!

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  2. There's something mystically beautiful about the horse and train.

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  3. Had not heard of Alex Colville. I LIKE his art! Thanks for making me aware. Will look for more of his work.

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  4. Willow - Alex Colville? - he is new to me and the horse and train piece is just amamzing! thanks

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  5. I love the dog pic and was hoping it could be enlarged but, alas, no. Oh, I wish I could paint and draw - I'm totally useless in that department.

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  6. A nice trip down memory lane for me, Willow. It's been ages since I've looked at an Alex Colville painting. I'd forgotten how wonderful they were.

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  7. Amazing works .. not necessarily my taste but still .. they are images that stay with you after you've turned away/moved on

    Thank you

    :-Daryl

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  8. You post on beauty in picture and word, yet I hear sadness in your soul. Are you home alone?

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  9. Hi Willow - I have something for you over at my place.

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  11. Very interesting paintings - I had not heard of the artist. I particularly like the dog one where I think he has captured dogginess very well.

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  12. I'll have to look up some more Coville paintings. Thanks willow.

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  13. Oh wow, those paintings are exquisite! Thank you for sharing.

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  14. More of your introductions to wonderful artists! Thanks!

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  15. Thanks for doing the research...I had never heard of Colville. I like the quality of his images, almost abstract. Beautiful color and the horse and train is stunning!

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  16. Simple yet full of power, the hound in his contorted form shows real movement and love of his romp, nose to the ground. I too love Wyeth.

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  17. Spencer likes the train! :)

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  18. I love coming here and learning about so many different and wonderful things.

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  19. Wow what a haunting image and I love the poem. My money's on the dark horse. :)

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  20. Wow--wonderful stuff...and strangely reminiscent of Wyeth while clearly coming from a vision that's Colville's own....

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  21. I love the picture of horse and the train. Your friend was right. I liked these pictures :-).

    Thanks for a lovely post.

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  22. His art is pleasing to the eye. I can appreciate its being included in the greater body of work dubbed art. Pappy

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  23. The horse and the train is indeed hugely dramatic and interesting, and I dare say one could write a novel on its interpretation. A description of great art, if ever there was one!

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  24. Columnist--yes, I totally agree. It is a powerful work and I can easily see a novel emerging!

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  25. You chose my two favourite painting's of Colville's. I grew up in Sackville, New Brunswick home of Mount Allison - my grandmother Florence taught Applied Arts there years ago when it was still called The Ladies College.

    I remember one Colville exhibition at the Owen's Art Gallery on campus where I stood in front of the Hound in Field for what seemed like forever ... I was completely mesmerized by it.

    While in Brownies I went to his house and his wife helped me with (judged) my Brownie art badge. I felt even way back then like I was at a movie star's home. I was so in awe of his talent.

    I'm so glad that you enjoyed his work dear Willow. xo Susan and the Gang at 29 Black Street

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  26. Susan--I am so glad you pointed me in his direction. And how delightfully interesting that you have a personal connection. I was a Brownie, too, but my help wasn't quite so exciting. What a fun story!

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  27. Colville's paintings are rather unusual and memorable. I think I love them.

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  28. This is great.
    Than ks for sharing.

    Troy

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  30. Having grown up in New Brunswick several years ago, I can relate to the beautiful art work created by Alex Colville. Several of his works captured scenes in the area surrounding the Tantamar Marshes between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

    His ability to capture the emotion of the moment rivals other great Canadian artists such as Robert Bateman and,indeed, he is in the same league.

    Well done! Both my wife and I enjoyed your site.

    Gary

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  31. My wife and I were at the National Gallery in Ottawa this summer where they had a display of Colville's WW II art on display.

    Used to the more subtle drama of his later works we were unprepared for the brutal honesty of his War Time art.

    For anyone interested in Colville, I urge you not to neglect this period. It will change your understanding of his work.

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  32. Willow - Thanks for sharing. I can see the connection you made to the Andrew Wyeth paintings. We toured a museum of his work once on a trip to Penn.if my memory served me correctly. We enjoyed his work.

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  34. Oh willow, I just went back to see your award 'Blog of Note' on 5th December and here is a picture of Buster!! Well, a Buster look alike anyway. I want this picture!

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)