Harold Town Tyranny of the Corner, Persian Set 1962

Artwork details

Artist
Harold Town 1924–1990
Title
Tyranny of the Corner, Persian Set
Date 1962
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 2038 x 1626 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Presented by Mr and Mrs Samuel Zacks 1963
Reference
T00563
Not on display

Catalogue entry

Harold Town born 1924 [- 1990]

T00563 Tyranny of the Corner, Persian Set 1962

Inscribed 'Town 62' centre r., and on back of canvas 'Town 62' twice and 'OIL & LUCITE | USE NO TURPS'
Oil and lucite on canvas, 8o 1/4 x 64 (203.5 x 163)
Presented by Mr and Mrs Samuel J. Zacks 1963
Prov: Mr and Mrs Samuel J. Zacks, Toronto (purchased from the artist)
Exh: 83rd Annual Exhibition, Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, Toronto Art Gallery, January-February 1963 (73); Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John's, March-April 1963 (73); Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University, Kingston, April 1963 (73)
Lit: Robert Ayre, 'Canadian Painting' in Museums Journal, LXII, 1963, p.261; Robert Fulford, 'The Multiplicity of Harold Town' in Artscanada, XXVIII, April-May 1971, p.55

Harold Town received an 'Award of Merit' of $500 for this painting as part of the Samuel and Ayala Zacks Purchase and Gift Award inaugurated in January 1963 (see also Onley T00562).

He has written of this work and the series to which it belongs (23 May 1963): 'The "Tyranny" was painted in the spring and early summer of 1962, and is part of a series which is just now coming to an end in some pictures called "The Decline of the Tyranny of the Corner" ... Every picture with the "Tyranny" title has the problem of the corner, and in all these pictures the corner is painted first. The "Set" part of the title denotes the person, place, or event that the picture is to form a background for, in the same manner as a stage set. During this phase I painted several straight "Sets" without the "Tyranny" problem; such as "Sitwell Set", "Uncas Set" (Guggenheim Museum), "Parkin Set", etc.'

As Robert Fulford, loc. cit., explains: 'In his Tyranny of the Corner series, 1962-65, Town decided that painting had emphasized too much the central image, so he pushed his concerns out toward the corners of the picture plane; now attention, rather than being directed toward a single focal point, was spread out across the canvas and the corners were allowed to contend with the central image for dominance'.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.728-9, reproduced p.728

About this artwork