oil on canvas
signed and dated “ 7-25-60”
20 ins x 16 ins; 50.8 cms x 40.6 cms
“My father would come home at night with a wet canvas. Then, while we waited for supper to cook, we’d all sit on the couch and stare at it. The same way families today watch television. We’d look at his paintings.” So begins Joyce Borenstein’s 1992 documentary film “The Colours of My Father: A Portrait of Sam Borenstein”, a touching, animated glimpse into the life and work of her father, Samuel Borenstein.
Trips to the Laurentians every summer with his family sparked a keen interest in wildflowers, which he would render in rich sensual colours and thick, generous layers of paint. Known for only wanting to paint genuine things, Borenstein let nature be his guide. Capturing the world around him with unfettered enthusiasm, he was more concerned with evoking a mood of feeling in his work rather than picturing the thing itself. This foundational freedom is clear in Borenstein’s Still Life from 1960. The dazzling orange and ultramarine of the wildflowers, gesturally and thickly painted form, contrast with the muted background, made flat and angular by the use of a palette knife. This juxtaposition adds energy to the painting and draws our eye insistently to the wild force in the centre.
Speaking about his work, Borenstein explained:“How can I control myself when everything around me is so beautiful?”
Joyce Borenstein, The Colours of My Father: A Portrait of Sam Borenstein (documentary film), The National Film Board of Canada, Quebec, 1992.
Kastel Gallery Inc., Montreal
Private Collection, Ontario