The Independent talks about the discovery of an underpainting on an Emily Carr canvas at the Royal British Columbia Museum by Kathryn Bridge, the manager of collections:
“It looks as though Carr had re-purposed a larger canvas, cut it in half and painted smaller works on each half,” said Bridge. “You can see beneath the surface that there is something there.”
“Bear Totem” dates from 1937 and depicts a scene from the aboriginal Haida Gwaii village of Massett, 870 kilometres (540 miles) north of Victoria, but it’s not clear what the newly-discovered painting beneath shows and when it was painted.
An X-ray examination has confirmed the find, but discerning the hidden image will require infra-red imaging, yet to be completed.“It was just a wonderful thing to find,” said Bridge. “Of course you can never separate the two (layers of paint on the canvas), but it makes you speculate. Was it something she didn’t like, or was she so hard up at one point in her career that she needed to re-use the canvas?”
The search is now on for the other half of the re-used canvas.
Curators and art historians have examined other works by Carr in the museum’s collection, as well as collections in Vancouver, but have yet to find one with similar tell-tale paint along the edge.
Half of New Emily Carr Work Found in Canada (Independent)