Price Realized: $
Date: 1952
Artist: Maxwell Bennett Bates
Medium: oil on board
Dimensions: 24 x 18 in. (61 x 45.7)

signed & dated lower right; signed & titled verso
Provenance: The Hett Gallery, Edmonton AB
Note: Illustrated on page 256 of “Maxwell Bates: Biography of an Artist” (Kathleen Snow; University of Calgary Press; 1993).

In January of 1946 Maxwell Bates returned to Calgary, ending a bitter-sweet 15 year absence, which begun as a formative artistic journey and ended with five challenging years as a prisoner of war. During these post-war years, Bates moved to quickly reinstate himself as an artist and architect. Within one year of his return, his work was showcased in a one-man show at Canadian Art Galleries, with additional gallery exhibitions to follow. It was through Canadian Art Galleries that Bates met May Watson (Nielsen), a bright and accomplished professional woman (and art lover), who walked into the gallery during a return visit to Alberta from her home in New York. She was drawn to a portrait of a woman wearing a decorative hat, and asked to meet the artist. The two struck up a friendship and soon Bates moved with her to New York (in 1949), where they soon married. It was during this time that Maxwell Bates studied with expressionist Max Beckmann at the Brooklyn Museum Art School in New York, a like-minded artist whom he admired.

Max and May Bates returned to Calgary in 1950, where they were now both active in the art community. Sadly, May had a stroke in 1951 and after a period of failing health, died in June of 1952. This work “Head of a Woman” was painted during May’s illness, and is most likely her portrait. It is certainly a sentimental homage to the piece that first brought them together.

LOT: 198

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