Marion Nicoll R.C.A.

Untitled, 1959

watercolour on paper
14.5x16.5 in.
$6,500 Cdn.

Masters Gallery Ltd., Calgary, 1987;
Private collection, Calgary
Peter Ohler Fine Arts, Toronto;

Related canvas
Religious Procession, Taormina, Sicily, 1959, private collection

“I am an abstract painter naturally and through conviction. A painter who grows must move into new expressions. Ten years of unsatisfactory painting … and I was ready for the step forward when I attended the seminar at Emma Lake, Sask., with Will Barnett in 1957. A years painting in New York confirmed my beliefs.”
– Marion Nicoll quoted in the Edmonton Journal, January 26, 1963

After she was exposed to Abstraction at an Emma Lake course in 1957, Marion Nicoll’s practice was fundamentally changed. In 1958, she received a Canada Council grant that allowed her to travel to New York City until 1959, after which she and her husband took the summer in Europe This watercolour sketch is a study, likely made on this trip, for what would become a large canvas titled Religious Procession.. In Sicily, she began to paint her first “mature abstract paintings” (1), which would become the foundations for her practice in the years to come.

1. Ann Davis and Elizabeth Herbert, Marion Nicoll: Silence and Alchemy, p.53

1909-1971 Marion Florence S. Mackay Nicoll was born in Calgary, Alberta. In high school, she took extra curricular painting classes at St. Joseph’s Convent, Red Deer, Alberta (1925-1926). She studied at the Ontario College of Art, Toronto, but she did not finish because of an illness. She then studied under…