Maxwell Bates R.C.A.

Young Woman

oil on canvas
30x22 in.
$22,000 Cdn.

Sale of Maynards Fine Art, Contemporary, Canadian, Northwest Coast and Inuit Art Auction, May 6, 2015, lot 39;
Equinox Gallery, Vancouver

Maxwell Bates views our existence as a hermetically sealed world of alienation and self-containement. It is a personalized and individual life we all lead; communications and human relationships can become totally exterior and distant from the inner core of our lives – the frightening realization of one’s self outside society. For Bates, art is a means of understanding the human condition, the human way of life.
– Art Parry on the work of Maxwell Bates, Vanguard, 1979

Bates was a master of observation, and his portraits are empathetic, and often somewhat humorous studies of human nature. The date of Young Woman is indistinct, but the work likely comes from Bates’ years in Victoria, where his work took focus on the cultural and social aspects of his surroundings. The solitary woman returns a confident and somewhat intimidating gaze back in the direction of the viewer in this work. Despite her simple pose, Bates conveys his subject with incredible character.

RCA, ASA, CGP, CSGA, CSPWC (1906-1980). Born in Calgary, Alberta, he was largely a self-taught painter, printmaker and architect and is considered, along with W.L. Stevenson, an innovator of Expressionism in Canada. He went to England in 1931 and after the war returned to Calgary where he was associated with…