Alan Caswell Collier

Canadian [1911-1990]

Ontario Society of Artists, Royal Canadian Academy of Arts

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Alan Collier began his formal studies at the Ontario College of Art (1929-33), where his instructors included J.E.H. MacDonald and Franklin Carmichael. The following year, at the peak of the Great Depression, Collier travelled across Canada by train, and like many young men of the time, worked on relief gangs (for little more than bed, board and twenty cents a day). During 1936 and 1937, Collier worked as a miner in order to save enough money to continue his studies, which he did at the Art Students League of New York (1937). He stayed in New York for a time, working as an advertising artist.

Following his return to Toronto in 1941 to marry, Collier worked as an aircraft mechanic, then spent 3 years overseas with the Canadian Army. After the war, he resumed his work in advertising art and continued painting. In 1952, he was juried into the Ontario Society of Artists, then in 1954, he was elected associate of the Royal Canadian Academy of Art (achieving full membership in 1961). In 1955, Collier joined the staff of the Ontario College of Art.

Alan Collier held his first one-man show at Roberts Gallery (Toronto) in 1956. That same year, he took a three-month sketching trip to western Canada, travelling by car and travel trailer with his wife and young son. The Colliers continued this practice every summer, visiting most parts of Canada. Later, Collier would continue his sketching trips, travelling by ship, train and helicopter to every region of Canada, even making several trips to the High Arctic. In 1963, Collier was awarded a commission by Standard Oil (New Jersey) to produce 8 paintings depicting the landscapes along the Trans-Canada Highway. In 1967, the same year he was awarded the Centennial Medal, Collier left his teaching position at the OCA in order to devote himself full-time to painting. Collier exhibited broadly during his career. In Calgary, Collier held his first solo exhibition at the Kensington Gallery in 1968, with regular bi-annual exhibitions following. In 1971, the Robert McLaughlin Gallery organized a retrospective exhibition of Collier’s paintings and drawings from 1935 to 1970 - the show was extended to several Ontario galleries.

There are few artists who have travelled and depicted the Canadian landscape as broadly as Alan Collier. Characterized by clean lines and bold use of colour, his paintings are commanding in their simplicity. Curator of Historical Art, Alicia Boutilier, writes for "Road Trip: Across Canada with Alan C. Collier", in which “All is Green and Gold (Near Okotoks, Alberta” was described as the “stunning focal point for Collier’s central Canadian landscapes”: “‘Simple’ is a word that Collier often used to describe his work: ‘I like simple forms, simple land forms’. In his paintings, geography is distilled into abstract shape and pattern, but never becomes fully abstract.”

Alan Collier's work can be found in numerous public collections, including: National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa); Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto); Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa); Hamilton Art Gallery; Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Queens-Kingston); Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Halifax); The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery (St. John’s); and Frye Museum (Seattle).

We are currently seeking works by Alan Caswell Collier to be included in future auctions.

If you are interested in selling with us or wish to get our opinion of the value of your artworks please contact us for an appointment to evaluate your artwork for auction.

A Few Notable Results from our Auctions

Alan Caswell Collier

ALL IS GREEN AND GOLD (NEAR OKOTOKS, ALBERTA); 1974
oil on canvas
36 x 72 in.

Sold for $ 30,000 (hammer price) – December 2019
A record price at auction for Alan Collier

Alan Caswell Collier

PRIMORDIAL LAND, SOUTH SHORE OF DEVON ISLAND, NWT
oil on canvas
36 x 70 in.

Sold for $18,000 (hammer price) – January 2005

Alan Caswell Collier

EVENING LIGHT FROM BOB RUSSELL’S FARM, NORTHWEST OF DRUMHELLER
oil on board
24 x 36 in.

Sold for $ 10,250 (hammer price) – March 2003

Alan Caswell Collier

YUKON RIVER
oil on canvas
24 x 32 in.

Sold for $ 9,500 (hammer price) – November 2016

Alan Caswell Collier

BESIDE THE DEMPSTER HIGHWAY (YUKON'S OGILVIE MOUNTAINS); 1990
oil on canvas
24 x 32 in.

Sold for $ 8,500 (hammer price) – November 2015

Alan Caswell Collier

ON FORTUNE BAY, NFLD (BELLEORAM, NFLD); 1990
oil on canvas
24 x 36 in.

Sold for $ 8,500 (hammer price) – November 2015

Alan Caswell Collier

THE HAINES ROAD
oil on canvas
24 x 36 in.

Sold for $ 7,500 (hammer price) – November 2015

Alan Caswell Collier

THE KANANASKIS ROAD (NORTH FROM ABOUT MILE 75)
oil on board
24 x 32 in.

Sold for $ 7,000 (hammer price) – December 2019

Alan Caswell Collier

THE RICHNESS OF ALGOMA (NORTH OF THE SOO, ONT.); 1990
oil on canvas
30 x 40 in.

Sold for $ 6,500 (hammer price) – November 2015

Alan Caswell Collier

ACROSS NORWEGIAN BAY, EASTERN ARCTIC
oil on board
16 x 36 in.

Sold for $ 6,500 (hammer price) – May 2017

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