Lot 18
  • 18

Jack Hamilton Bush 1909 - 1977

80,000 - 120,000 CAD
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  • Jack Hamilton Bush
  • Glide
  • signed, titled and dated 1971 on the reverse
  • acrylic on canvas
  • 198 by 118 cm.
  • 78 by 46½ in.


André Emmerich Gallery, New York
Private Collection, New York

Catalogue Note

In the spring of 1969, just as Bush turned sixty, he began to experience attacks of angina. His doctor's reports and the electro-cardiogram tests alarmed him, of course, and shortly they found their way into his painting. Such paintings as Test, Flutters, Spasm, Sudden, Onslaught, and a series of watercolours called Spasms, are evidence that is hard to contradict. Test is almost an illustration of an ECG.

Glide was painted two years later, and while the title doesn't have the specific reference to Bush's medical state, it does have the shapes that Bush used earlier – like fat check marks – to symbolize his heart condition. By this time he had absorbed the imagery totally into his aesthetic vocabulary.

In its use of a mottled or textured background, Glide is also a harbinger of a subtle shift in Bush's painting direction. The backgrounds gain ever increasing prominence in the paintings of the following five or six years and characterize those Bush made until the end of his life. Indeed, this textural background became so strong in the last works that they almost became the subject or the raison d'être of each canvas. Seen in this context, Glide is a sort of hinge in Bush's development, a crucial pivot between the 'medical' subjects of early 1969 and their predecessors, and the final run of paintings when Bush turned to his great love of music for inspiration.