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Joseph Plaskett, O.C., R.C.A. (1918-2014)

We buy and sell paintings by Joseph Plaskett.  For inquiries, please contact us.

Click here to read an article written about the artist by Tom Tebbutt  - "Joe Remembered".

Joseph Plaskett, born in New Westminster, BC in 1918, was originally influenced by Emily Carr and later by Bonnard, Matisse, Monet and Picasso as well. He studied in both San Francisco and New York, the latter experience turning into a disciple of abstract expressionist Hans Hofmann.


While living abroad since 1953, primarily in Paris, France but more currently in Suffolk, England Plaskett has pursued a constantly evolving figurative style now for more than 50 years exhibiting almost exclusively in Canada from coast to coast where his work is owned in countless collections of fine art.



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 garde. 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 It has been replaced by Contemporary Art.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



About and by Joe Plaskett


“Plaskett talks of “the peculiar way in which I deal with light, drowning the canvas and floating the form,” and this is what one seems to perceive on seeing a painting of his in colour. “I interpret the subject through light,” he also says, “but the object or person is there, the essential subject matter.”


But light in the sense of the often almost translucent luminosity of his paintings is not the only lightness of mood, almost a lightness of being, that is evident in these works which range from pastel through watercolour to – perhaps his most habitual way of painting – oil so light in texture as well as in tone and mood that it has a fluency one rarely sees anywhere but in watercolour, a lightness only a few of the late Impressionists equalled. It is at this point, talking about such a central attribute of his painting a “light” and “lightness” that Joe Plaskett comes nearest to a statement of philosophic intent or perhaps non-intent.


“In my world,” he tells us, “lightness eliminates the dark and a spirit of joy seeks to banish any pain. Escapism? Rather a concentration on a very real side of life.” It is significant that he has found his opposite in Francis Bacon, that painter of irremediable agony and darkness.”4



About Joe Plaskett


“Plaskett has been left free to pursue his passion for light and colour and their emotional coordinates in forms and genres which the great artists of the past followed but which were rejected by the recent apostles of pure form. He is, without excuse, a landscapist, a painter of still-life and a portraitist who seeks the other largely in himself. Seeking is essential to Plaskett’s aesthetic view and equally to his painterly methods.”5

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.
4. Plaskett, J., A Speaking Likeness, Ronsdale Press Ltd., 1999, Woodcock, G., Foreword, p. xxvii.
5. ibid, p. xviii.


Copyright © Galerie Walter Klinkhoff, Montréal.


Joe Plaskett was born in 1918 in New Westminster, B.C.  He attended Sir Richard McBride Primary School at Sapperton, then the Duke of Connaught Secondary School at New Westminster, where he began to copy paintings and work from nature or his imagination.  He then entered the University of British Columbia where he took an Honours B.A. in History, graduating with first class honours in 1939.  He attended teachers' college at U.B.C., and after finishing this course taught in B.C. schools for five years (North Shore College, N. Vancouver, 1940-45; Coquitlam High School, B.C., 1945-45).  He attended the Vancouver School of Art between 1940 and 1942 where he studied at the Banff Summer School in 1944 with A.Y. Jackson.  The following year he became a member of the B.C. Society of Artists (won a bronze medal for work in pastel from this society in 1944).  In 1946 he was awarded an Emily Carr Scholarship which enabled him to study art at the California School of Fine Art, San Francisco under William Gaw, David Park, Clay Spohn, and Clyfford Still.  He became principal of the Winnipeg School of Art in 1947 and resigned in 1949 to have more time to paint.  He then left for Paris where he studied with Fernand Léger, Jean Lombard, and Marzelle.  The following summer he toured the British Isles, Holland, Belgium, and Germany and returned to Venice and back to Paris.  In 1951 he moved to London, England to study at the Slade School with a bursary awarded by the British Arts Council.  At the end of 1951 he returned to New Westminster and exhibited his works at the Vancouver Art Gallery and the British Columbia Art Gallery.  He taught nights at the Vancouver School of Art in 1952-53.  He returned to Paris in 1953 with the assistance of a Canadian Government Overseas Scholarship to study etching and engraving with Stanley Hayter.  He returned to Canada in 1956 and took a teaching post with the Extension Department of the University of B.C.  In 1956 he also taught at the Vancouver School of Art and at Emma Lake in Saskatchewan.  He returned to Paris in 1957 to become a full-time painter free from any teaching duties.  In 1967 he was awarded a Canada Council fellowship to paint places across Canada.  When he returned to Paris in 1971 an exhibition entitled "Joe Plaskett and his Paris - In Search of Time Past" was organized and shown at the Fine Arts Gallery of the University of B.C., and was then circulated across Canada through the auspices of the Extension Services of the National Gallery of Canada.


Joe Plaskett died September 21, 2014, in England, at age 96.





Galerie Walter Klinkhoff, Montreal, 1973; 1976; 1979; 1983; 1986; 1992; 1997, 2001; 2003; 2006; 2008;

Vancouver Art Gallery, British Columbia, 1940; 1943; 1952;1956;

University of B.C. Fine Arts Gallery, Vancouver, 1952; 1960; 1971;

Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, 1952;

Coste House, Calgary, Alberta, 1953;

Picture Loan Society, Toronto, 1953; 1958; 1960;

Holy Trinity Memorial Hall, New Westminster, 1956

New Design Gallery, Vancouver, 1960; 1963; 1965;

Brandon Art Centre, Manitoba, 1960; 1968;

Waddington Gallery, Montreal, 1960;

Public Library, New Westminster, 1961;

Robertson Galleries, Ottawa, 1963; 1965; 1967;  1970; 1973;     

Griffith Galleries, Vancouver, 1968;

University of N.B. Arts Centre, Fredericton, 1968;

Fleet Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1970;

Jerrold Morris Gallery, Toronto, 1970;

Bau-Xi Gallery, Vancouver, 1974; 1975; 1977; 1983; 1985; 1986; 1992; 1995;

Burnaby Art Gallery, B.C., 1976;

Kelowna Art Gallery, B.C., 1976;

Topham Brown Gallery, Vernon, 1977;

Lefebvre Gallery, Edmonton, 1977;

Wallack Gallery, Ottawa, 1977; 1981; 1985; 1992; 2003;

Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris, France, 1978;

Bau-Xi Gallery, Toronto, 1980; 1981; 1983; 1987; 1992; 1993; 1995;

Gallery 78, Fredericton, 1981; 1983; 1987; 2008;

Galerie Le Robinson, Paris, France, 1984;

University of Victoria, Maltwood Gallery, 1984;

Canadian Cultural Centres, Paris et Bruxelles, 1985;

Galerie Eric Klinkhoff, Canadian Art Dealer & Gallery in Montreal

Joseph Plaskett, O.C., R.C.A. (1918-2014)

"The Pump"

Oil on canvas, diptych,  31.1/2" x 78"  (SOLD)

Galerie Eric Klinkhoff, Canadian Art Dealer & Gallery in Montreal

Joseph Plaskett, O.C., R.C.A. (1918-2014)

"Table by Lamplight"

Oil on canvas 23.1/2" x 28.1/2"  (SOLD)

Galerie Eric Klinkhoff, Canadian Art Dealer & Gallery in Montreal

Joseph Plaskett, O.C., R.C.A. (1918-2014)

"Two Cyclamen (3)"

Oil on canvas  25.1/2" x 39"  (SOLD)

Galerie Eric Klinkhoff, Canadian Art Dealer & Gallery in Montreal

Joseph Plaskett, O.C., R.C.A. (1918-2014)

"Fruit and Flowers", 1982

Oil on canvas  25.1/2" x 32"  (SOLD)

Galerie Eric Klinkhoff, Canadian Art Dealer & Gallery in Montreal

Joseph Plaskett, O.C., R.C.A. (1918-2014)

"Still Life with Strawberries", 1971

Oil on canvas  21.1/2" x 26"  (SOLD)

Galerie Eric Klinkhoff, Canadian Art Dealer & Gallery in Montreal

Joseph Plaskett, O.C., R.C.A. (1918-2014)

"Daffodils and Apples No. 2", 1986

Oil on canvas  19.3/4" x 25.1/2"  (SOLD)

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