Canadian Art



118. BRYMNER, William. P-RCA. OSA. Montreal Watercolour Society. P-PPC. CAC. (founding member). P-AC. [1855-1925].  Ross Peak [Selkirk Mountains, British Columbia]. 14 ½ x 21 ¼ inches. oil on canvas. signed & titled on recto.                                                                                                                                                         $15,000


     In 1886 Brymner was appointed director of art classes at the Art Association of Montreal, the same year that he became a full RCA member; he remained there for 35 years. Considered Canada's first outstanding art teacher, many of his students went on to become prominent Canadian artists, including Wilfred Molson Barnes, Clarence Gagnon, Prudence Heward, Edwin Holgate, Lilias Torrance Newton, Hal Ross Perrigard, Robert Pilot, Sarah Robertson and Anne Savage. A distinguished figure and landscape painter, Brymner was influenced by the academic and impressionist schools. He made a number of Western trips from 1886 to 1893, notably in the summer of 1892 when he travelled to the Canadian Rockies to fulfill a commission of large paintings for the CPR. Some of these were exhibited at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The present painting of Ross Peak probably dates from the 1886 trip.

     Provenance: William Scott & Sons, Montreal, label on verso





119. GAGNON, Clarence Alfonse. American Art Association, Paris. CAC. RCA. AC. PPC. Salmagundi Club, NY. [1881-1942]. [Trapper. Study for “Le Grand Silence Blanc”]. 5 ½ x 4 ¾ inches. pastel & graphite on paper. bearing Gagnon studio stamp on recto.                                                                                                              $10,000

     Born in rural Quebec, Gagnon studied drawing and painting under William Brymner at the Art Association of Montreal and under Jean-Paul Laurens at the Académie Julian in Paris. He also distinguished himself by the quality of his etchings and won honourable mention at the Salon de la Société des Artistes Français in 1905. In Paris, he met other Canadian artists including James Wilson Morrrice with whom he sketched and from whom he learned plein air painting. In 1908, he returned to Canada and settled in Baie-Saint-Paul. From 1909 to 1914 Gagnon moved between Canada, France, and Norway, but was always working on sketches he made in Quebec. From 1924 to 1936 he lived in Paris and devoted most of his time to creating illustrations for “Le Grand Silence Blanc” by L. F. Rouquette (1928) and “Marie Chapdelaine” by Louis Hémon (1933).

     See Ottawa, “Cyber Muse” The National Gallery of Canada, [website].

     Provenance: The Estate of the Artist; Walter Klinkhoff Gallery, Montreal, label on verso.




120. HUTCHINSON, Leonard
[1896-1980]. Got Anything To Eat, Mister? signed, titled & numbered 25 of an edition of 50 in pencil. [c1938-1942]. wood engraving. 10 1/2” x 8 1/4” (26.8 x 21.1 cm).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           $850


     Hutchinson’s wood engravings of the 1930’s and 1940’s depicted the life of the working poor and the unemployed. This particular print shows a girl, boy and mother (or grandmother), worn down by poverty and hopelessness, standing in front of a cabin with the caption, Got Anything To Eat, Mister?

"...Hutchinson could not ignore the plight of the people, both in rural and industrial areas, during the depression years. He was deeply moved by the hardships of the unemployed and the suffering of the farmers scratching out a living on the land. His numerous images of the oppressed and the unemployed show his sympathy with their condition. The starkness and graphic quality of the black and white print, especially wood engraving, provided a perfect vehicle for his themes." (Ainslie p. 57)

     Brown, Leonard Hutchinson, People's Artist, p. 25 (illus.).See MacDonald, A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Vol.II pp. 497-498 & Glenbow Museum, Images Of The Land Canadian Block Prints, pp. 56-57.




The Group of Seven & Contemporaries



121. JACKSON, Alexander Young. RCA. OSA. CGP. The Group of 7 [1882-1974]. Lake Superior. 8 ½ x 10 ¾ inches. graphite drawing on paper. second landscape sketch on verso. taken from an A.Y. Jackson sketchbook. signed, titled, & dated “July 1966” on recto.                                                                                                       $5,000


      “A Companion of the Order of Canada and recipient of a medal for lifetime achievement from the Royal Canadian Academy, A.Y. Jackson was a leading member of the Group of Seven and helped to remake the visual image of Canada…Fed up with advertising work and with Montréal's indifference to his painting, Jackson moved to Toronto in the fall of 1913. Soon he was sharing his studio with a shy, uncertain painter, Tom Thomson. The two quickly became firm friends, to their mutual advantage: Jackson taught Thomson aspects of technique, especially colour, while Thomson taught Jackson about the Canadian wilderness. Anxious to experience Thomson's north country, Jackson went up to Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park in February 1914. Here he not only found an excellent painting country but also an image of Canada. After a trip to the Rockies, he was back in the park that fall with Thomson, Arthur Lismer and Fred Varley, and painted The Red Maple, a sketch in which art-nouveau composition is balanced by bold colouring…He spent the summer of 1919 painting in Georgian Bay, and in September joined Lawren Harris, J.E.H. MacDonald and Franz Johnston in a boxcar trip into Algoma. These and subsequent expeditions provided the material for the first Group of Seven exhibition held in Toronto in May 1920. Jackson's active participation in seven other Group exhibitions and in many contemporary shows, including the controversial British Empire Exhibition in Wembley, England in 1924, ensured that his images of a rolling, unpopulated land became indelibly imprinted on the Canadian consciousness. All his life Jackson remained a leading proponent of the Group's land-based nationalism.” (The Canadian Encyclopedia online).

     Provenance: Private Collection, Toronto. Collection of Norman B. Bell, Toronto, by descent.





122. LISMER, Arthur. RCA. OSA. CSPWC. The Group of Seven. P-CGP. [1885-1969]. [Trees on Island]. 10 ½ x 13 ½ inches. ink & wash on paper. signed on recto.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    $4,000


     “As an immigrant from England, Arthur Lismer was fascinated by the Canadian landscape of rocks, pines, and expansive stretches of tumultuous water and sky. From 1920 he was a member of the Group of Seven, painters who advocated a new Canadian art that expressed the spirit of the nation through its landscape. Throughout his life he was a dedicated painter and draftsman and visionary teacher…Lismer was a charter member of the Group of Seven, and joined his fellow artists on painting trips to the Algoma region and north shore of Lake Superior. In 1928 he painted in the Rockies and from 1930 in the Atlantic provinces. His Impressionist-influenced paintings of the 1910s evolved into a more angular and cruder expression that he equated with the Canadian terrain and national identity. In his later work, Lismer concentrated on detailed foregrounds and tightly framed, close-up compositions of vegetation and land formations.” (National Gallery of Canada website).





123. [VARLEY, Frederick Horsman] ARCA. OSA. CGP. The Group of 7 [1881-1969]. [Kootenay Lake, Mt McGregor, Selkirk Range, Summer]. 11 x 13 inches. blue pencil on paper. Artist’s name, title, & date of 1956 in Kathy McKay’s hand on verso to backing.                                                                                                              $6,000


     “F.H. (Frederick Horsman) Varley saw art as a spiritual vocation. His interest in the figure as well as landscape set him apart from other members of the Group of Seven, of which he was a founding member (1920)…He emigrated in 1912 to work as a commercial artist in Toronto, following in the path of Arthur Lismer, also from Sheffield. There he met the future members of the Group of Seven and painted in Algonquin Park in 1914 with Tom Thomson and others. In 1918-20 he served as a war artist in England and France, producing some of the most moving canvases of the war. One of Varley's most famous works is Stormy Weather, Georgian Bay (1921), painted after a summer at Georgian Bay, yet he was primarily a figure and portrait painter. In 1926 he moved to Vancouver to teach at the recently established Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts, and for the first time landscape painting, in oil and watercolour, became his principal interest. His attraction to Asian philosophies and Chinese painting and colour symbolism characterizes his paintings from this period.” (National Gallery of Canada website).

     Provenance: The MacKay family, Toronto, from thence by descent (originally acquired directly from Varley, as the family were good friends and the artist often stayed with them).





124. HOUSSER HARRIS, Bess Larkin CGP. [1890-1969]. B. C. Woods Interior. 12 x 15 inches. oil on masonite. signed on verso.                                                    $3,000

     Bess Housser Harris was the wife of journalist & author Fred Housser (married 1914) and later of Lawren Harris (married 1934). She wrote and edited for the “Canadian Bookman”, of which she was in charge of the art section from 1924. An early supporter of the Group, she had articles by Harris and some of the other members published in the magazine. She did study under Varley but was mainly a self-taught artist. She exhibited at the Wembley exhibition in Britain in 1926 and was one of the artists invited to exhibit work at the Group of 7 May 1926 exhibition in the Art Gallery of Toronto. Her painting “Above Morain Lake” was reproduced in the “Year Book of The Arts in Canada” in 1929.

     Larisey. “Light for a cold land, Lawren Harris’s Work & Life”

     Provenance: The Estate of the Artist, Vancouver; Heffel Gallery Ltd., Vancouver, label on verso.





125. HEWARD, Prudence. CGP. (founding member); CAS. (founding member)  FCA. [1896-1947]. [Nude study]. 17 x 11 inches. charcoal drawing on paper.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 $3,500


     “The painter Prudence Heward was one of a small group of women artists who were active in Montreal between the wars. Although she also produced landscapes and still lifes, she was primarily known for her figure painting. Her portraits of physically robust but psychologically complex women challenged conventional representations of passivity; her women, always set in the landscape, appear independent and brooding, at times defiant...She was invited to exhibit her work with the Group of Seven in 1928 and again in 1931, and held her first solo exhibition in 1932 at the Scott Galleries, Montreal. The National Gallery of Canada held a memorial exhibition in 1948, the year following her death. Heward was associated with the Beaver Hall Group; she was a founding member of the Canadian Group of Painters and Contemporary Arts Society, and a member of the Federation of Canadian Artists.” (National Gallery of Canada, website).

     Exhibited: “Prudence / Ross Heward: Figures and Grounds”, The McClure Gallery, Montreal, January, 2005 (exhibition curated by James D. Campbell).

     Provenance: The Estate of the Artist, acquired from the family by James D. Campbell, Montreal (included is a copy of the original certification note); The Estate of Norman B. Bell, Toronto.



The Sampson-Matthews Silkscreens


     These silkscreens were produced by the well-known commercial art firm, Sampson and Matthews Limited of Toronto. Initially the works were produced as part of a war-time art project which later expanded to general commercial interests. Some of the reproductions were commissioned by firms and private collectors who wished to have duplicate copies of works in their collections. In 1953, in association with the National Gallery of Canada, eighty-nine silkscreens by known Canadian artists were offered in a new Sampson-Matthews catalogue "Canadian Landscapes for Schools, Offices and Homes". Some silkscreens reproduced works previously completed by artists, others included works which were specifically produced for the project. This series was commissioned following an increased demand for fine Canadian works of art and with the realization of the cultural and educational value of fine Canadian paintings. All of the works were approved for silkscreen reproduction by a committee, acting on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the National Gallery, composed of A.Y. Jackson, .A.J. Casson and H.O. McCurry, Director of the National Gallery of Canada. All of the silkscreens were produced using the original, conventional silkscreening techniques but were printed using oil paint in twelve to fifteen colors on a heavy paper board. Originally, Franklin Carmichael worked as the head designer of the firm and in 1926 he was joined by A.J. Casson. Casson’s duties included silkscreen design, typography planning, and production supervision. Following the death of Ernst Sampson and Carmichael’s departure for the Ontario College of Art, Casson served as the vice president and art director of the company and was associated with the firm for some 32 years.

     Anslie, “Images of the Land: Canadian Block Prints 1919-1945”, p. 47; Sigvaldason and Steedman, “Art for War and Peace. How a Great Public Art Project Helped Canada Discover Itself”.





126. JACKSON, Alexander Young. RCA. OSA. CGP. The Group of 7. [1882-1974]. Maple and Birch. 29 ¾ x 39 ¾ inches. colour silkscreen on board. signed in the screen. Ottawa: Issued by the National Gallery of Canada. printed by Sampson-Matthews Ltd., Toronto. label on verso, [1947-1953].                                             $750


     Jackson was the driving force behind the original project, and this is one of the twelve Jackson silkscreens that were produced by Sampson-Matthews from 1942-57.





127. LISMER, Arthur. RCA. OSA. CSPWC. The Group of Seven. P-CGP. [1885-1969]. Isle of Spruce. 29 ¼ x 39 ¼ inches. colour silkscreen on board. signed in the screen. Ottawa: Issued by the National Gallery of Canada. printed by Sampson-Matthews Ltd., Toronto. label on verso, [1943].                                                     $2,000


     “Lismer had one silkscreen in the Sampson-Matthews program: “Isles of Spruce”. First printed in 1943, it was one of the bestselling prints for two decades, second only to Tom Thomson’s “Northern River". The silkscreen was based on a painting from 1922 that is now in Hart House, University of Toronto. Lismer’s best-known work and one of Canada’s few truly iconic paintings, it was issued by Canada Post as a six-cent stamp in September 1970, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Group of Seven.”

     Sigvaldason and Steedman. Art for War and Peace. How a Great Public Art Project Helped Canada Discover Itself; A Landscape of Awe. Arthur Lismer’s Isles of Spruce. pp. 46-47; 215.     





128. MACDONALD, Thoreau. Canadian Group of Painters. [1901-1989]. Winter Morning. 20 ¼ x 27 inches. colour serigraph on board. initialed “TM” in the screen. printed to lower margin: Winter Morning, Thoreau MacDonald. Issued by The National Gallery of Canada.” [printed by Sampson-Matthews Ltd. Toronto, 1944].                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     $450


     This is one of the eight Thoreau Macdonald silkscreens that were produced by Sampson-Matthews from 1942-1953.





129. PANTON, Lawrence Arthur Colley. RCA. P-OSA. CPE. CGP. CSPWC. [1894-1954]. Windswept. 30 x 40 inches. colour serigraph on board. signed in the screen. also signed & inscribed in pen “Supervised by A. J. Casson”. bearing Sampson-Matthews label on verso. Issued by The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Printed by Sampson-Matthews Ltd. Toronto, [1943].                                                                                                                                                                                                  $750


     This is one of two silkscreens that Panton originally produced for the war-time project.





130. THOMSON, Thomas John - 'Tom'. OSA. The Group of Seven [1877-1917]. [March]. 24 x 19 ¾ inches. colour silkscreen on board. (lower margin trimmed). Ottawa: Issued by the National Gallery of Canada. printed by Sampson-Matthews Ltd., Toronto. label on verso, [1947-1953].                                                        $450

     This is a posthumous reproduction of a work by the artist Tom Thomson.


Montreal Jewish Artists



131. BEDER, Jack. CAS. CSGA. CSPWC. [1910-1987]. Freight Yards, Autumn, Mill.10 ½ x 13 ½ inches. oil on board. signed & dated [19] 39 on recto. signed, titled, dated, bearing artist address stamp, & inscribed “#297”, “Exhibited: 1941, Mtl. Museum of Fine Arts” all on verso.                                                                          $3,000


     Born in Opatow, Poland, Beder immigrated to Montreal in 1926. From 1929 to 1934 he studied under Joseph Saint-Charles, Charles Maillard, Henri Charpentier, and French artist Maurice Félix at the École des Beaux-Arts de Montreal. He was a founding member of the Contemporary Arts Society [1939] (Lyman and other CAS artists were a great influence). In 1940 he opened a studio in Montreal and offered art lessons to students (from 1950-1952 he maintained a studio on Beaver Hill Hall). In 1987, the year of his death, he was included in the historically significant exhibition at the Saidye Bronfman Centre, “Jewish Painters of Montreal”.

     McMann, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Spring Exhibitions 1880-1970, [p. 24]. Trépanier, Peintres Juifs et Modernité. Jewish Painters and Modernity. Montréal 1930-1945”.

     Exhibited: 58th Spring Exhibition, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, March 20 to April 13, 1941 (#11, listed as “Autumn Morning”).



Canadian Urban Art



132. FRANCK, Albert Jacques. ARCA. OSA. CSPWC. CSGA. [1899-1973]. Keeting Slip, Toronto Docks. 19 x 23 ½ inches. black watercolour and wash on paper. signed & dated [19] 58 on recto. titled to artist’s label on verso. [#35].                                                                                                                                                            $2,500


     Dutch-born Albert Franck was the legitimate father of a whole school of Toronto urban art and his personal success engendered numerous imitators. He executed oils, watercolours, and drawings and his subjects were the small streets and back lots of old Toronto. Franck and his wife, artist Florence Vale, were great hosts and their home was a popular meeting place for progressive Toronto artists including “Painters Eleven”.

     Exhibited: Mun Art Gallery, St. John’s Newfoundland, label on verso.




133. FRANCK, Albert Jacques. ARCA. OSA. CSPWC. CSGA. [1899-1973]. Chorley Park, The Great Hall. Sic Transit… [Gloria Mundi],1961. 10 x 12 inches. watercolour on paper. signed & dated on recto. titled to artist’s label on verso. [#13].                                                                                                                                  $3,200

     Chorley Park was the former official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. Built in Toronto’s Rosedale district, construction began in 1911 and continued to 1915. The structure was designed by architect Francis R. Heakes in a French Renaissance chateau style. Sir John Strathearn Hendrie was its first resident. Notable visitors included the Prince of Wales in 1919 and David Lloyd George. During the Depression Liberal leader Mitchell Hepburn, citing the huge maintenance expense, campaigned on a promise to close the residence.  In 1937 after nearly 22 years of service, Chorley Park was closed and its furnishing sold at auction. Purchased by the Federal government, the property was used as a military hospital during WWII and as the headquarters of the RCMP. In 1960 the City of Toronto acquired the property with the intention of tearing down the now decrepit structure and turning the estate into parkland. All that is left of the building is the original bridge and the outlines of its foundations.

     Exhibited: Albert Franck in Retrospect. A small selection from the artist’s collection. Catalogue published by the New Brunswick Museum, Saint John. Exhibition also traveled (1973-74) to Centennial Art Gallery, Halifax, N.S.; Dartmouth Heritage Museum, N.S.; St. Louis University Art Gallery, Edmunston, N.B.; Memorial University Art Gallery, NF.; University of New Brunswick, Fredericton; Gallery Moos, Toronto. (catalogue: #14); Exhibited at the Mun Art Gallery, St. John’s Newfoundland, label on verso

     Provenance: The Estate of Albert Franck, Toronto.





134. GODFREY, William Frederick George. P-Canadian Society of Graphic Arts. Canadian Society of Painter-Etchers & Engravers. North West Print Makers, Seattle [1884-1971]. [The Old Curiosity Shop, Quebec City]. 23 x 27 ½ inches. gouache on board. lower right corner restored. signed & inscribed on verso: “W.F.G. Godfrey, 382 Dovercourt Rd. Apt 14, Toronto, Ont. Return to Haynes Gallery, King, Toronto, Ont.” [c1925].                                                                                                              $3,500

     This picture depicts what is colloquially known as the Montcalm House, reputed to be the place where the wounded French General was brought after the battle of the Plains of Abraham. The building is at least 300 years old and has been used in a number of different ways. Currently it is the location of a fine eatery called “Restaurant Aux Anciens Canadiens”.

     Godfrey studied at Central Tech under A. Harvey, John Chester and F.S. Challener. He exhibited at the RCA from 1923, at Wembley Exhibition (1925) and Graphic Arts Exhibition, London (1926). He won a Gold Medal at International Salon, New Westminister, B.C. (1929) and at the CPE (1935).

     Exhibited: This may be the work entitled “The Old Curiosity Shop” which was exhibited in 1925 at the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, 47th Annual Exhibition, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts [#83]. In the present gouache there is a sign depicted on the right side of the shop where the word “Curios” can be made out. The verso also bears a stained area equivalent to the size of known exhibition labels from that period.

     McMann, “Royal Canadian Academy of Arts Exhibitions…1880-1979” (p. 150). Macdonald, “A Dictionary Of Canadian Artists” (Vol. 2, pp. 284-285).




135. LITTLE, John Geoffrey Caruthers. RCA. [b. 1928]. Sketch, Looking North from Foot of Rue de la Visitation, Montreal, 40 Years Ago. 8 x 10 inches. oil on masonite. signed on recto. signed, titled, & dated 2000 on verso.                                                                                                                                                                   $8,000


     Little’s paintings of old Montreal and Quebec City streets and houses earned wide acclaim. During a solo exhibition at Watson Art Galleries in 1957 the Montreal Gazette noted, “His vision is clear and his interpretation of his subjects is solid and literal. His buildings are solidly based, bear the marks of age and are recorded with a laudable attention to drawing…His figures have animation, there is a convincing sense of movement in the crowds and the impression of traffic congestion in narrow streets is capitally conveyed...”

     Provenance: Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., Montreal, label on verso; Private collection, Toronto.