In Parr’s drawings—as indeed in his life—hunters engage in a timeless quest for game. They participate, as do the animals they hunt, in a cyclic struggle for survival…. Hunting themes are not depicted as specific instances in time but, rather, are removed in historic time and attain an emblematic quality suggesting timelessness and permanence .
This quote from Marion E. Jackson’s 1988 essay in Parr: His Drawings, beautifully sums up Parr’s virtual obsession with depicting hunters and the hunt. Depictions of hunting and hunters engaged his imagination as did no other subjects. Parr’s firsthand experience provided the artist with a wealth of subject matter that he would compulsively depict with his signature bold style throughout his career. We have no doubt that the memory of his past success in the hunt inspired the imagery of this classic print.
In contrast with the untitled contemporaneous drawing Hunter with Animals in this exhibition, which is more or a less a pure “display” of human and animal figures, The Hunters has strong narrative elements. Two of the three hunters are actively engaged in capturing their prey. Even so, strictly speaking we are not looking at a “scene,” or even two; the other animals have nothing to do with the action; in fact, the two “action” scenes themselves (of a walrus hunt and a seal hunt) are unrelated. Parr seamlessly weaves narrative and display into one powerful image.
Parr’s partitioning of the figures is rendered with crisp, pleasing contrast in Iyola's cutting of the stone block. The Hunters is a classic example of what Ingo Hessel describes as Parr's "Period II.”
1. Jackson, Marion E., “Parr’s Drawings: The Marks of a Hunter” in Parr: His Drawings. (Halifax: The Art Gallery, Mount Saint Vincent University, 1988) p. 5.
The Hunters is reproduced in Ernst Roch, ed., Arts of the Eskimo: Prints, (Montreal: Signum Press, 1974) p. 51. Parr’s original drawing is reproduced in Marion Jackson, Parr: His Drawings (Halifax: The Art Gallery, Mount Saint Vincent University, 1988) cat. 9.
Parr’s original drawing is reproduced in Marion Jackson, Parr: His Drawings (Halifax: The Art Gallery, Mount Saint Vincent University, 1988) cat. 9. Not for sale with this print.