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Street, Alert Bay depicts a Kwakwaka’wakw community scene.

Heffel Inc/Courtesy of manufacturer

A 1912 Emily Carr painting sold at auction this fall for $2.4-million now belongs to the Audain Art Museum in Whistler, B.C.

Street, Alert Bay was acquired this week by the museum courtesy of the Audain Foundation, which bought the work in Toronto in November.

The painting has been installed at the gallery as part of the show Emily Carr: Fresh Seeing – French Modernism and the West Coast. When the show comes down in January, the painting is to move to the gallery’s permanent display of works by Carr.

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The painting, which the museum calls one of Carr’s most historically important oil-on-canvas productions, depicts a Kwakwaka’wakw community scene. It is based on her 1909 watercolour Alert Bay, Street Scene with Mother in Foreground. After Carr’s travels in France in 1910 and 1911, she created new versions of a number of previous works, displaying a bold new, modernist style. Street, Alert Bay, with its brilliant colours and vibrant tone, is one of these examples.

Audain Art Museum director and chief curator Curtis Collins said in a statement that the acquisition adds depth and range to the institution’s “substantial” collection of works by Carr, calling her “Canada’s most noteworthy 20th-century painter.

“It is an iconic piece that reveals the artist’s dramatic use of bold colour following her return from France, which was a formative movement in Carr’s brilliant career, and we are thrilled to share this remarkable painting with the world.”

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