Canadian, b. 1941
House of Tea, 1997–1998
graphite, charcoal pencil, Conté crayon, pastel on hand-coloured Barrier white paper
213.4 x 152.4 x 243.9 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with funds from the President's Appeal 2000 and with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance program/Oeuvre achetée avec l'aide du programme d'aide aux acquisitions du Conseil des Arts du Canada
In the late 1980s Esther Warkov produced a drawing called The Sketching Party after a ninetheenth-century illustration of a group of amateur women artists in Victorian England. For The House of Tea she reproduced one of these women, but recast her as an upper-class Anglo-Saxon in Winnipeg. In this impressive installation, the central character has since died and she is laid out in a coffin with items that reference her life experiences. As a member of the upper class in her community, she was experienced in the rituals associated with the women of her day, and even in death she continues to pour tea from within her coffin. This work is a culmination of Warkov’s skill as a painter and a fine example of the Surrealist Prairie tradition.