Collecting Our Thoughts: Etude #2, by Iain BAXTER&

Beaverbrook Art GalleryOctober 30, 20160 Comments

Etude #2, 1961 has been identified by internationally renowned artist IAIN BAXTER& (Canadian, b. 1936) as the formative early work that helped shape his career and propel him towards a life devoted to art. This important Canadian painting was recently added to the permanent collection of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.

Etude #2 was created in 1961 while BAXTER& was living in Japan.  During this period, hand-made expressive abstractions were still new and challenged the then current artistic order in Canada. It is a unique and very rare work with an authentic feel.  It is a work seeking new ground.  In 1961, abstraction in Canada was definitely in its infancy, the number of practitioners was very few. Beaverbrook’s history coincides with this chapter, founded in 1958, some of its prominent acquisitions are abstracts from this period by Bruno Bobak, Paterson Ewen, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Kazuo Nakamura as well as, important British and international contemporaries.  Additionally, it is Japan where BAXTER& was introduced to traditional calligraphic brush-drawing. The free form of expression was a revelation; it released him from the idea that drawing must be mimetic illustration. Importantly, Japan and calligraphy introduced him to the idea of harmonic relationship with nature, for BAXTER& this was the principal revelation and cornerstone that has guided his life and art to this date.

IAIN BAXTER& is one of Canada’s most internationally renowned artists and has been a perennial exhibitor from the 1960s to present. He represented Canada in the 1969 Bienal de São Paulo.  The innovation of his thinking was rewarded by inclusion in ground breaking exhibitions and chronicled in seminal art history texts and monographs defining international conceptual art. His work has been collected by all the principal art museums of Canada and some of the most revered institutions throughout the world, notably the Museum of Modern Art as well as the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

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