Walter Joseph (W.J.) Phillips

Canadian (1884 - 1963)

Walter Joseph (W.J.) Phillips was a Canadian painter.
Based on records, Walter Joseph (W.J.) Phillips's estimated art value is C$100,000 (*)

Walter Joseph (W.J.) Phillips's work could be available for sale at public auction with prices in the range of C$100,000 - C$250,000, or even much higher.

From records, the highest price paid at auction for a watercolour work attributed to Walter Joseph (W.J.) Phillips (1884-1963) was C$157,250 - paid for "Totems, Alert Bay" at Heffel in Vancouver on Wed, Jul 15, 2020. has 1299 auction art sale records for their watercolour results, with prices in the range of C$100,000 to C$250,000.

Heffel Auction House Biography and Notes

Walter J. Phillips traveled to the West Coast in 1927, visiting and sketching at Siwash and Kwakiutl villages such as Mamalilicoola, Alert Bay and Karlukwees on Turnour Island. Of Karlukwees, the subject of this extraordinary watercolour, he wrote, "We found another village - Karlukwees - more interesting than the others. The clean white beach had borrowed its shape from the new moon...Karlukwees provided many subjects for painting. In fact never have I seen a more delectable sketching ground. We had penetrated an arm of the sea, the open sea seemed far away, for it flowed only in narrow channels, between an immense number of islands. I regretted leaving the coast, and I long to return." Now abandoned, Karlukwees was at that time the primary winter village residence of the Tlowitsis Nation. The village was the subject of one of Phillips's finest colour woodcuts, entitled Karlukwees, as well as two prints from his 1930 portfolio of black and white wood engravings entitled An Essay in Woodcuts, including Shacks on the Beach, Karlukwees, which is derived from this watercolour. Phillips was renowned for his technique in watercolour, originating from his training in England and the influence of accomplished nineteenth century British watercolourists such as David Cox and John Sell Cotman. Once in Canada, his work was transformed by the brilliance and clarity of light. This stunning watercolour is an outstanding example of Phillips's refined use of transparent washes, which define form and atmospheric effects while being light-filled. One can sense not only the feeling of the essence of the village, but the very air itself. Phillips captures all the structural uniqueness of the village - the massed planes of the buildings with the pilings that lift them above the reach of the ocean, and the central focus of the striking totem, behind which the tip of yet another totem rises. A masterful watercolour of this "delectable sketching ground", Karlukwees BC (Siwash Winter Villages) is a fascinating illustration of this village when it was still inhabited.

(*) Value is calculated as an average of the top watercolour sale records from database.
This information is not intended to substitute professional advice.
To estimate the value of a specific artwork created by Walter Joseph (W.J.) Phillips, follow some of the advice from our Valuating art page, or contact an art specialist if our automated estimate value is greater than C$2,500.