Simmins--Academic and Impressionist artsts at the end of the 19th c

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Canadian Art in the Light of Traditional and Progressive Currents in Europe and the United States, 188-1914: the Age of Internationalism


prior to this have discussed variations in landscape paintings -- the Luminists, CPR artists, etc. Also the influence of photography. Also reiterate dvt of artists' organizations: CSA in 1867 (brief period during which Montreal is most important art city); OSA in 1872 (shift back to Toronto); RCA 1881

Seen that these movements resulted in a strong nationalist stance equated with landscape. In work of Lucius O'Brien, and Fraser, see first national school of landscape painting.

About 1885, however, this interest in nationalist landscape underwent a sudden change. This was due to a new series of influences that Canadian art underwent, in particular, from academic developments from France and U.S.

Leads to several new developments. Most important among these: 1) new interest in international developments; 2) broadening of subject matter to reintroduce figure; 3) conviction that Canadian subject matter unnecessarily restrictive

the approaches that would be developed would hold sway until the world war, and then would be replaced by militant nationalism -- in the Group of Seven -- after World War I

-- This lecture to treat several of these different currents -- keeping in mind that while individually different, all derive in one sense or another from international currents. This is why call period of Internationalism

n Reid calls it the French Period, 1880-1914, but too general: actually several different aspects of influence from France: the traditional academic; views of bucolic life (from peasant specialists, such as Jules Breton); and the more progressive faces of French art -- the Impressionists and the Symbolists.

-- stress importance of Paris as a magnet -- slides of Opera, etc

-- discuss teaching methods of the Beaux-Arts -- working from the print, from the cast, form the model, putting figure drawings into compositions; trying to achieve memorable expression; then to finish them. Goal for French = Prix de Rome; goal for foreigners = rigor and ability to plan in terms of compositions. NB incredible numbers: the most popular, Julien's, had an enrolment of 1,000 or more students (these would be outside ateliers into which the students would be enrolled)

-- reasonable goal for foreigners to be included in Salon exhibitions; Cdns did pretty well

-- Advantages: skill with figure (basis of academic teaching); ability to plan large-scale compositions. Ptgs highly detailed and finished and often based on exacting historical research

-- Disadvantages: academic "machines" lead to lack of conviction -- works can seem artificial, clichéd, uninpired

-- Examples of French artists: Paul Delaroche (1797-1856); Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904); D' pupil; Thomas Couture (1815-79) -- D's student and Gros's William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) -- the epitome of the hidebound academician

Canadian Examples

Robert Harris (1849-1919)

-- b. North Wales, raised Charlottetown; brother notable architect in PEI. Recd first training in Boston and by end of 1876, goes to London, to Slade School; arrives in Paris a year before Brymner, enrolls in studio of Léon Bonnat, then considered a specialist in biblical and historical subjects

-- settles Toronto 1879 (George Reid a student in Toronto, remembered that Harris's arrival caused "great excitement"). Harris was asked to teach drawing at the art school, and according to Reid, "almost at once introduced the French way of working, therey considerably changing the teaching methods of the school"

-- Succeeds O'Brien as VP of the OA, and encouraged young artists to look to Paris; leaves Toronto 1881 but had already made his mark.

-- acad training enabled him to take on the Fathers of Confederation (1883-85; destroyed. 1916)

-- thereafter as a portraitist, but also paints perhaps single most famous work: Meeting of the School Trustees (1885); see also Harmony (1886), a Whistlerian portrait of his wife

Self Portrait, 1885; Harmony, 1879
Newsboy, 1879 Portrait Of A French-Canadian, 1899
Portrait Of A Man, Nd Sarah Harris, 1886
School Trustees, 1885 Bessie In Her Wedding Gown, 1885
Fathers Of Confederation, 1883
Self Portrait, 1908 Ruth Harris, 1896

William Brymner (1855-1926)

-- b. Scotland, raised Mtl; first Cdn to study in Paris who later had a wide influence

-- studies architecture then in 1878 enrolls Acad Julien, theought there by Boug. Admires Meissonier; stays in Paris seven years, settles in Montreal 1886; would teach at AAM from 1886 to 1921

-- A Wreath of Flowers (1884) completed while still in Paris; deposited RCA (Brymner would later be RCA president)

Weaving, 1885
Gathering Wild Strawberries, 1885
Girl With Yellow Dress, 1897
Girls Reading, 1898
Vaughan Sisters, 1910

Paul Peel (1860-92)

-- probably best known and most reproduced of any Canadian artists

-- exudes raw talent; but readily capitulated to worst sentimental excesses of academic pot-boilers

-- b. London Ont.; trained 1877 Pha., under Eakins -- that is, age 17; thereafter London, and Brittany, with Americans who gathered there

-- marries and stays in Europe, but sends works to Toronto, including 1890 one-man show, at which Venetian Bather was shown

-- won a bronze medal at the Salon for After the Bath

The Painter, 1880; Girl With Parasol, Nd
The Spinner, 1880; Devotion, 1881
Reading The Future, 1883
Adoration, 1885; Mother Love, 1888
Bubble Boy, 1884 The Wreck, 1884
Japanese Doll And Fan, 1889 The Painter's Palette, 1890
Luxembourg, 1890 Before The Bath, 1890
Venetian Bather, 1889 Little Shepherd, 1892
Orchestra Chairs, 1892 Portrait Of The Artist, 1892

William Blair Bruce (1859-1906)

-- Hamilton born; like Peel, marries and stays abroad
-- studies with Bouguereau at Julien's from 1881

-- huge and ambitious ptgs never exhibited in Canda during his lifetime, but did win him a reputation in Sweden, where a museum of his work has been established

La Joie des Néréides, 1896; Phantom Hunter; The Smiths, 1894

George Reid (1860-1947)

-- long-lived and productive; important as teacher at OCA (from 1890)

-- with Eakins 1882-85; Paris trip postponed as a result

-- eventually made it there, however, and a number of his academic studies are now in AGO; Reid observes that after his training in Paris he actually constructed studio sets of hay-lofts, country kitchens, etc., in which to pose his models

-- influence of Harris apparent, and of Whistler

-- a small-town Ontario boy, he at first resisted studies in art, but eventually studied at Toronto's local art school.

-- limitation of local training: no model. So goes to Pha to study with Eakins; this is a decisive influence on him

-- E forced to resign because removed loincloth from male model in female drawing class

-- wife Mary Hiester from Pha. They goe to Paris by summer of 1888; Julien's by then ful of Canadians (among them: Peel, Brymner, and others who would be active in CAC: Williamson)

Mortgaging the Homestead, 1890

-- first ptg in Toronto. ambitious to take on mural work, because of seeing Puvis's frescoes in the Hôtel de Ville in Paris -- so tried to execute for Toronto's Municipal Bldgs, constructed 1893-99 to designs of home-grown talents Charles and Edward Lennox; first proposed to City 1894; they hem and haw; by 1897 offered to execute for free -- which they accepted

-- returns to Paris in 96 and thereafter influence of Impressionism evident on his work

Sp, 1884 Mary Hiester Reid, 1898
Gross Clinic, 1875; Eakins, Portrait Of An Art Student, 1890
Call To Dinner, 1887; Forbidden Fruit, 1889
The Story, 1890
Mortgaging The Homestead, 1890