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Iskowitz, Gershon
Blues
1972

When “Blues” was painted in 1972, Gershon Iskowitz was at the height of his success. In that year, he (along with Walter Redinger) represented Canada at the Venice Biennale. After training under Oskar Kokoschka, as well as at the academies of fine art in Warsaw and in Munich, he immigrated to Canada in 1949 as an Expressionist painter and Holocaust survivor. In 1967, a major shift occurred in his work. With a Canada Council travel grant, Iskowitz hired a helicopter to take him from Winnipeg to Churchill, Manitoba. Seeing the ground through the clouds from the air for the first time transformed the picture plane for him: “My paintings are not abstract. They’re real. They’re very, very much real. I see those things.” Like other Iskowitz works from this period, “Blues” is both a landscape and a Colour Field painting. Flecked with bright tachist spots, a swathe of blue cuts through cloud white.

 
Iskowitz, Gershon
Kielce, Poland 1919–Toronto ON 1988
Blues
1972
Oil on canvas
overall: 152.6 cm x 122.3 cm
Gift of Mrs. Ruth Soloway, 2012
55-004.24

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