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Hortense Mattice Gordon
'Abstract in Coral and Jade', Painters Eleven, Ontario, Canadian Modernist Oil

1949

About the Item

Signed lower left, 'Hortense M. Gordon' for Hortense Crompton Mattice Gordon (Canadian, 1886-1961) and dated 1949. Previously with: Dominion Gallery of Montreal (stamp, verso). Photo courtesy of Art Gallery of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Hamilton artist Hortense Crompton Mattice Gordon was one of Canada’s earliest non-representational painters, embracing abstraction in the 1930s. She was also an active member of Canada's first English-speaking abstract group, Painters Eleven. A scholarship recipient, Hortense Mattice first attended the Hamilton Art School and, subsequently, moved to Chatham, Ontario. Initially focusing on porcelain painting, Mattice quickly began building a portfolio of oils and, from 1908, was exhibiting both her porcelain and landscapes at what is now the Chatham Cultural Centre (1908) and the Art Gallery of Ontario (1909). During this time, Mattice frequently traveled to the United States and, in 1915, visited the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, where she would have seen early works by important modernists including Picasso and Matisse. She started her teaching career in Chatham but, having received a job offer from the artist John Sloan Gordon, returned to Hamilton to teach at the Hamilton Art School in 1918. The two artists married in 1920. In 1922, Gordon and her husband took a study trip to France and, inspired by the fervent of Modernist ideas in Paris, expanded her own approaches to art, developing an increasingly soft, loose paint handling style. It was not until the 1930’s, after a few more trips to France and her discovery of Piet Mondrian’s work, that elements of abstraction began to appear in Gordon’s work. After the death of her husband in 1940, Gordon attended the Cranbrook Academy of Art and studied with Hans Hoffmann (1941-1945) whose influence and friendship pushed her to explore non-objective painting. After her training with Hofmann and in Cranbrook, Gordon began to exhibit regularly and with success in both Canada and the United States including at the Riverside Museum (New York, 1947), Creative Gallery (New York, 1952), in Ann Arbor (Michigan, 1952), Phillips Gallery (Detroit, 1952), the Flint Institute of Arts (Michigan, 1952), Mount Allison University (New Brunswick, 1952), the Galerie Agnes Lefort in Montréal and Art Gallery of Hamilton (retrospective, 1960). She was a member of the Contemporary Artists of Hamilton (honorary president in 1948), the Ontario Society of Artists, the Hamilton Women’s Art Association, the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (from 1930) and, from 1952, the Painters Eleven. Hortense Mattice Gordon's works are held in permanent collections including the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa; Thames Art Gallery, Chatham; Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton. Select exhibitions 1994: The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (retrospective) 1993: Thames Art Gallery (retrospective) 1961: Gallery Moos, Toronto 1954: Windsor Art Gallery 1952: Philips Gallery, Detroit 1928: Norman C. Maynard, Hamilton Reference: Stuart MacCuaig, Climbing the cold white peaks: A survey of artists in and from Hamilton 1910-1950, Hamilton Artists' Inc. 1986; Iris Nowell, Painters Eleven: The Wild Ones of Canadian Art, Douglas & McIntyre 2011; Mallett’s Index of Artists, Supplement, Daniel Trowbridge Mallett, Peter Smith: New York 1948 Edition, R.R. Bowker Company 1940, p. 106; et al.
  • Creator:
    Hortense Mattice Gordon (1881 - 1961, Canadian)
  • Creation Year:
    1949
  • Dimensions:
    Height: 16 in (40.64 cm)Width: 20 in (50.8 cm)Depth: 0.13 in (3.31 mm)
  • Medium:
  • Movement & Style:
  • Period:
  • Condition:
    minor restoration, minor losses, minor corner bumping; unframed.
  • Gallery Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
  • Reference Number:
    1stDibs: LU3448803221
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