True to Curnoe’s belief in the inseparable nature of art and life, many of his semi-figural compositions were depictions of family and close friends. Here, his model, most likely a character from the artist’s life narrative, reclines in abstract space, her presence defined by the porcelain white contrast of her figure with a bold orange surround. Judith attests to Curnoe’s virtuoso command of colour and form. (1)
That seems all well and good until HA!! One year earlier, Curnoe painted a similar semi-figural work entitled Diane (1963) – which is now in the National Gallery of Canada (2). But that hussy can’t even keep her name straight: sometimes she goes by “Diane,” sometimes “Diane Stretching,” and for publicity “Diane’s Legs.”
And where did Judith end up? Passed around from The Isaacs Gallery to Waddington’s to Bonham’s due to the bankruptcy of Ritchies Inc.
Yes, that’s right. Diane ended up in a museum and Judith was faced with bankruptcy. Ah, the fate of a betrayed woman.
(1) Joyner Canadian Fine Art, Lot 140, GREGORY RICHARD CURNOE, “Judith,” May 27, 2011, Toronto, ON, Canada
(2) National Gallery of Canada, “Diane’s Legs,” 1963 (no. 40593)