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
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'.
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