This print, Untitled (7 Geese, 4 People, 2 Dogs), is typically Parr. To me, it is a fabulous work, so I have to question why the CEAC would have rejected it back in the 1960s. I would love to have been a fly on the wall, to hear why this particular print by Parr was overlooked. Someone may have felt that it was too similar to Blue Geese Feeding (1961) or maybe The Hunters (1962), but it is unique from those works in many ways too. It an expressive, powerful work, not only well-designed, but beautifully executed as well.
Though when you think about it, as beloved an artist as he is today, Parr’s stature as an artist has changed significantly since the 1960s. There are not actually that many Parr prints, only 34 of his prints were released in annual print collections, which is significantly less than some of his contemporaries working in the studio around the same time including Pitseolak Ashoona, OC, RCA (1904–1983), Kiakshuk (1886–1966) and Lucy Quinnuayuak (1915–1982). CEAC Records indicate that Parr had “a weaker market than others”, but time has certainly changed that as his prints are some of the most desirable, and Untitled (7 Geese, 4 People, 2 Dogs) holds a place as one of the most interesting–even if it was withheld for over forty years.
This article is part of our Feature series “What Gets Lost: The Canadian Eskimo Arts Council’s Rejected Prints“.