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Joseph Plaskett, R.C.A., O.C.



By Tom Tebbutt

(Please click on the works below to view larger images.)

 In his own words:



“In 1949 I went to Paris and eventually stopped trying to be an abstract painter and gradually developed a personal figurative manner. I had turned against my own development and training that would have led me to remain a member of the avant gard. I defended my position by writing articles published in Canadian Art, two of them in praise of what I called “reactionaries”, artists who seemed to have turned against the acclaimed trends of the time, or at least leaving behind abstraction, like Balthus, Bacon and Giacometti.”  1


“Oh yes, I was schooled in Modern Art, and as a result my work, however appearance may belie it, is modern and in the stream of a great tradition which goes back to Giotto, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Courbet, Cezanne and on to Matisse and now me! Modern Art has been proclaimed dead, meaning that its masters like Picasso are dead. It has been replaced by Contemporary Art. It has entered into history. Abstract art is not dead, because all great art is inherently abstract. We now have Conceptual Art. All great art was conceptual. What greater concept can you imagine than the Sistine Chapel, or Botticelli’s Birth of Venus?” 2


” . . . the delight of being an artist – the lure of the unimaginable and with it the possible realization of vision.” 3




1. Speech delivered by Joseph Plaskett to the Vancouver Society of Contemporary Art , undated, circa 1996.

2. ibid.

3. Plaskett, J., A Speaking Likeness, Ronsdale Press Ltd., 1999, p. 295.

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