Oh! the trying times in which we live! History stumbles along and historic events relating to Bloore’s story will be, when we notice, remarked upon here.
an Infant of the Spring
at Consignors Auctions
“When I lived in Paris you could buy a Monet for what would be about $600. Of course, I didn't have even that in those days and it is not my kind of stuff anyway. But I knew they were bloody good paintings.” - R.L.Bloore
1972 Baby Bloore at Consignors' March 14th Online Auction
The Estate stopped selling it's few remaining 5 by 7 inch oil sketches in 2012. The last one sold for $3700. And we were immediately asked for another. They do have a strong and curious appeal. How in the world then does this very dirty and neglected little treasure find itself in an online auction like this?
On the back the paints are noted by Bloore for reference, TQDW, Talens Quick Drying White oil paint over CIL enamel primer. It is dated 1971/72 indicating his relative devaluing of time and dates. It may have his name, last name, on the back under the frame backing but maybe not. He insisted that its value should derive solely from the obvious beauty of what is on the front, independant of any potential associations, reputations, institutions.
But speaking of associations, reputations and institutions, here is what Kenneth Saltmarche, then Director of the Art Gallery of Windsor, wrote in 1974 in his preface to the catalogue of the exhibition, Ron Bloore: Sixteen Years about the front of his:
“In my house, above a telephone desk, hang two small while panel paintings by Ron Bloore. They were a gift of the artist to my wife a few years ago. So, while I have been engaged in conversations with the gas company, or the bill collector, my eyes have wandered over these tiny pictures, drawing both knowledge and nourishment from them.
“They have helped ease the tedium of the practical matters of daily communication, leavened the day to day business conducted in that place, and led me gradually into a wonderful other world of limitless space and endless time.
“Through such daily contact, I have come to know - really know - the art of R. L. Bloore. Impossible for me to verbalize, its reality and poetry is nonetheless actual. Its impact is of now and of then. Is of Aegean sunlight warming and defining some ancient wall; is of jetstream in a clear sky.”
at the Wallace Galleries
October 12 to the 25th the Wallace Galleries in Calgary AB took an interesting approach to a show, an examination of the works of five of their painters who interacted in one way or another with a single art critic. And the show included Ron Bloore.
Ron Bloore at Emma Lake
Clement Greenberg was, like many an art critic, a failed painter. He was a failed landscape painter. And like some critics, he developed his own theory of art which, if it really needs to be said, was intellectually stillborn but became extremely influential nonetheless. That influence reached a turning point around 1962.
1958 to 1962 were tumultuous years in Regina and this was in no small part due to the efforts - successful efforts - of Ron Bloore to nurture a proper flowering of indigenous art production there. In ‘62 he took a two year sabbatical to Greece and Egypt. During his absence Greenberg came to Saskatchewan and Canadian art history took a dramatic turn with Ron Bloore as the pivot point.
It is a story yet to be taken up directly by the author of this site but it is told by Terrence Heath in his essay which is on the site
Happy 30th Anninversary to
the Wallace Galleries!
The Wallace Galleries in Calgary AB celebrated their 30th anniversary this year with an exhibition from Sept. 14 to Oct. 11 featuring all of their significant stable of artists. Fresh new works were the order of the day, and some very old Bloores can appear fresh and new, so we looked for a 30 year old work.
July 9 1987, Oil on Masonite, 24 x 36"
Click to see larger
And there is one. The estate has only one painting from 1987. And it is stunning and unique. Moreover, the estate has records of just two paintings being done by Bloore that year, in July. They stand like markers between the paintings that went before this transitional year and all the later works. They integrate, in paint, for the first time the dramatic spatial effects Bloore developed in the ink works of ’83 to ’86.
December 15 1984, Ink on Arches paper, 22 x 30" at Wallace Galleries
The other work, finished two days earlier, and now in a private collection, took a more two dimensional approach to the ink works’ compositional style.
July 7 1987, Oil on Masonite, 24 x 30", Private Collection
It’s obvious success seems to have spurred Bloore on to the ink works’ richer spatial effects like evoking a deep and complex background. The ink work examples shown here are currently in the Wallace Gallery stock.
August 8 1983, Ink on Arches paper, 22 x 30" at Wallace Galleries
In celebration of the anniversary and also in response to the outstanding success of last year’s Wallace Gallery exhibition
Ronald Bloore: Untitled
, two other estate paintings accompanied the 1987 work to Calgary. This 2003 piece is one of the last White-on-White paintings and even includes a small window onto the brown world of the works to come.
July 7 2003, Oil on Masonite, 48 x 32"
Click to see larger
And finally, and long overdue, the Wallace Gallery now has available one of the last series of Bloore's long career. A major work which was featured in the
Ronald Bloore: Fragments of Infinity
travelling exhibition put on by the Mackenzie Art Gallery of Regina.
Yellow Series #7, July 29 2006, Oil on Masonite, 48 x 48"
Yellow Series #7 in the
Going... Going... Going... Nowhere!
Painting #9, 1964-5, Oil on Masonite, 24 x 36"
Click to see larger
So a familiar piece turned up in Heffel’s March 2017 on line auction. And sadly, it received no bids. It is a great piece of history, radically unique even to this day and a beautiful old painting. But still, no bids.
This White Line Painting of 1965 was first displayed back in the last century by none other than Dorothy Cameron.
It is called number 9 and it appears ninth in a column of the Exhibition Catalogue of the show that Cameron traveled to the New Brunswick Museum and the Winnipeg Art Gallery in 1965. Interestingly, the exhibition hung in a commercial gallery in Toronto and in public galleries in the other two cities.
Also on that list is a painting called
which was auctioned in 2006. And how long ago even that seems now! That painting was given an estimate of $2,000-2,500 back then but it sold to a certain Mr. Thomson, who knows a deal when he sees one, for over $55,000. That story, and an image of the painting is
Here, above and below are some of the 2 foot by 2 foot paintings as they hung in the Dorothy Cameron Gallery in Toronto.
There’s a couple more familiar squares here too: the two grids. One sold badly at auction a while back for only $10,000 and the other is shown below selling a couple of years later at the Moore Gallery in 2011 for $40,000. And those are just 2-by-2’s while this current piece is a 2-by-3. The Wallace Galleries in Calgary just sold a 1960 2-by-4 in October ’16 for $71,000.
But these are the vicissitudes of the auction market. Is it a mug's game, as some say? We must say, no. Is life itself a mug's game? We must say, no. What does our art say about that? It must say, no.