Art & Artists in Exhibition: Vancouver 1890 - 1950
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Bertram Charles Binning

February 10 1909 - March 16 1976

Vancouver School of Art (Diploma 1932)
B.C. Society of Fine Arts (1941, Life Member 1963)
Federation of Canadian Artists (Founding Member 1941)
Canadian Society of Graphic Artists (1946)
Art in Living Group
Canadian Group of Painters (1948)
Royal Canadian Academy (Associate 1954, Member 1966)


Binning was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta. He moved to Vancouver with his family, and graduated from Kitsilano Secondary School. He attended the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Art from 1927 to 1932, then studied in a number of cities in England and the United States before returning to Vancouver to teach at the Vancouver School of Art from 1939 to 1949.


Watercolour by C.H. Scott of Fred Amess and B.C. Binning.

The opportunity to study in the different cities was almost certainly a result of a recommendation made to the National Gallery of Canada by Arthur Lismer, one of the members of the Group of Seven. In 1935 Lismer was traveling through Western Canada on a lecture tour with more than one purpose, and he noted in a confidential report to the National Gallery his comments about meeting Binning at the Vancouver Art Gallery children's Saturday morning art classes:
     "Mr. Scott's chief aid is Mr. Bert Binning, a young man of considerable enthusiasm and ability but one who has seen nothing beyond the limited range of his immediate environment. He is doing excellent work with the classes, is himself a gifted young artist and one of the most able young men in this work I have seen. I think that he would profit by being given an opportunity of extending his experience and knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of child study in other centres. I suggest that a sum sufficient to cover his expenses be allowed the Art Gallery of Vancouver, through Mr. Scott, and that he be sent to Ottawa, Toronto, New York, Buffalo, Toledo, Worcester and Cleveland to make a study of the practice and activities in those centres. I consider these are worthwhile suggestions for the general expansion and progress of the idea of art gallery classes. On my own part, I would be glad to have him for a short time at the Art Gallery classes in Toronto and there would be no difficulty in getting him into good centres in the United States galleries."

Binning was a founding member of the Federation of Canadian Artists in 1941, and B.C. Regional Director of the group from 1947 to 1949. He was also on the National Executive Member Brief Committee in 1949.

He exhibited with the B.C. Society of Fine Arts in their annual exhibitions starting in 1940, and became a member of the group.

Binning was on a list titled "Leading Vancouver Artists," provided to the Labour Arts Guild on April 10, 1946 by the Vancouver Art Gallery to assist in the Guild's call for entries to the second annual B.C. At Work exhibition.

He exhibited artwork in the B.C. Artists exhibitions at the Vancouver Art Gallery from 1934 to at least 1950.

On December 7, 1946 he gave a lecture for the Vancouver Institute titled Prefabrication - The Ultimate in Modern Architecture. On November 17, 1951 he gave another lecture titled Report on Art and Architecture in America and Europe.

His painting Ships in a Classical Calm from a 1950 solo exhibition was purchased by the National Gallery of Canada for their permanent collection.

Binning was very active doing architectural commissions around Vancouver. He designed the mosaic tile work for the B.C. Electric Building on Burrard Street (now the Electra condominiums), and another mosaic for the CIBC Bank on Granville Street at Dunsmuir (details illustrated below). He was Head of the U.B.C. Fine Arts Department from 1955 - 1968, teaching at U.B.C. both before and after holding that position.

Binning had an excellent sense of colour and design, and his work is sought after and fetching increasing prices. It is also distinctive, with his marine-themed paintings and single-line pen and ink drawings both being uniquely Binning. He died in Vancouver in 1976 at the age of sixty-seven.

Exhibitions

SOLO EXHIBITIONS
DATE EXHIBITION LOCATION
1944 Feb. 29 - March 19 Solo Exhibition (62 drawings) Vancouver Art Gallery
1946 Feb. 19 - March 10 Solo Exhibition (43 pictures) Vancouver Art Gallery
1950 Solo Exhibition (paintings) UBC Art Centre Gallery

GROUP EXHIBITIONS
DATE EXHIBITION ARTWORK
1933 May 3 - 18 VAG   VSAGA 1st Annual Exhibition Anchors Ashore
St. Andrew's
Over the Roof Tops
Back Lane
Fisherman's Dry Dock (Lithograph)
Little Mountain (Lithograph)
Monday (Etching)
1934 Sept. 21 - Oct. 14 VAG   B.C. Artists 3rd Annual Artist, Rear Elevation
1934 ? - ? VAG   B.C. Artists Edmonton Exhibition Artist, Rear Elevation
1937 Sept. 17 - Oct. 10 VAG   B.C. Artists 6th Annual Fisherman's Shack
1940 May 17 - June 2 BCSFA   30th Annual The Window
1940 Sept. 20 - Oct. 13 VAG   B.C. Artists 9th Annual Decorative Figure and Background
Figure I (drawing)
Figure II (drawing)
1941 May 10 - June 1 BCSFA   31st Annual Reclining Figure
Girl Thinking
1941 Sept. 26 - Oct. 19 VAG   B.C. Artists 10th Annual Young Man at a Table
Girl with Tea Things
My Wife as Catherine of Russia
1942 May 15 - 31 BCSFA   32nd Annual Margeurite
Model Crouching
1942 July 7 - Sept. 2 VAG   B.C. Artists 1st Annual Summer Young Man at a Table
1942 Sept. 25 - Oct. 18 VAG   B.C. Artists 11th Annual Bathers
Figure Sitting
1942 Nov. 3 - 15 FCA   Red Cross Benefit (no information available)
1943 May 15 - June 6 BCSFA   33rd Annual Nude
The Dancer
Gabriel
Reclining Figure
Enchanted Forest
House with Trellis
1943 July 2 - Aug. 25 VAG   B.C. Artists 2nd Annual Summer Gabriel
The Dancer
1943 Sept. 25 - Oct. 20 VAG   B.C. Artists 12th Annual Diving Rafts and Boats
Boats at Horsehoe Bay
1944 Sept. 23 - Oct. 22 VAG   B.C. Artists 13th Annual Seaside Trees
Old Maple Tree
1945 May 18 - June 10 BCSFA   35th Annual Head
Moored Boats
1945 July 3 - Aug. 26 VAG   B.C. Artists 4th Annual Summer Head
1946 July 2 - 28 VAG   Jubilee Exhibition Holiday Excursion
1948 May 18 -June 6 BCSFA   38th Annual The White Ship
1948 Sept. 18 - Oct. 10 VAG   B.C. Artists 17th Annual Four Ships in Variable Weather
1949 May 3 - 22 BCSFA   39th Annual Convoy Under Way
Ships at Quiet Anchor
1949 Oct. 8 - 30 VAG   B.C. Artists 18th Annual Fanciful Seascape in Primary Colours
1950 April 25 - May 14 BCSA   40th Annual Drawing (Pen and Ink)
Fair Weather Signals
1950 Nov. 28 - Dec. 17 VAG   B.C. Artists 19th Annual Reflected Ship
Night Signals
1953 VAG   Six B.C. Painters Reflected Ship
Vacant and Occupied Squares
Tall Ship
Ship Chandlery
Ships at Quiet Anchor


References - BIBLIOGRAPHY

Refer to BIBLIO.

References - GROUP EXHIBITIONS

SOUVENIR CATALOGUE OF EXHIBITIONS OPENING
THE NEW VANCOUVER ART GALLERY
(refer to VAG51)

100 YEARS OF B.C. ART (refer to VAG58)

JOY AND CELEBRATION - VANCOUVER SUMMER 1967 (refer to UBC67)

SUMMER BUBBLE (refer to BAG70)

B.C. ARTISTS' TRIBUTE TO COLIN GRAHAM (refer to AGGV74)

PRINTMAKING IN BRITISH COLUMBIA 1889-1983 (refer to AGGV83)

VANCOUVER: ART & ARTISTS 1931 - 1983 (refer to VAG83)

GENERATIONS - FIVE DECADES OF ART IN WEST VANCOUVER 1912 - 1962 (refer to WVMA99)

DESIGNING A MODERN IDENTITY (refer to KAG01)

A MODERN LIFE: Art and Design in British Columbia 1945-1960 (refer to VAG04)

PAINT - A PSYCHEDELIC PRIMER (refer to VAG06)

DAILY GRIND EXHIBITIONS (refer to DG07)

OUR CHANGING LANDSCAPE (refer to BAG08)

VISIONS OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (refer to VAG09)

SHORE, FOREST AND BEYOND - ART FROM THE AUDAIN COLLECTION (refer to VAG11)

COTTAGES TO COMMUNITIES (refer to WVHS11)

88 ARTISTS FROM 88 YEARS (refer to ECU17)

References - GENERAL

Attendee at the 1935 Vancouver School of Art Summer Camp
(refer to SUMMER SKETCHING CAMP - SAVARY ISLAND)

THE SAVARY PUDDING folio by Frederick A. Amess, private collection.
   Original drawings, paintings and text by Amess, C.H. Scott, Grace Melvin,
       H. Mortimer Lamb, Plato von Ustinov, and other students and visitors.
   June 1935 (various dates), June 1939 (various dates)
   52 loose 12"x18" sheets of brown sketch paper

The Teaching of Drawing by B.C. Binning
      Canadian Art magazine, Vol. 5 No. 1, October-November 1947, p. 20-23; 4 illustrations

A DISQUISITION ON ABSTRACT PAINTING by Lawren Harris.
      1954, Rous & Mann Press Ltd., Toronto; 16 pages; illustrated
      Includes one illustration by B.C. Binning

MACLEAN'S MAGAZINE - B.C. CENTENNIAL ISSUE (refer to MAC58)

THE FINE ARTS IN VANCOUVER, 1886 - 1930 (refer to THOM)

CREATIVE CANADA - VOLUME ONE, by University of Toronto Press
      1971; ISBN 0-8020-3262-1
      "A biographical dictionary of twentieth-century creative and performing artists."
      Includes one and a half full columns of information about Binning

THREE HOURS LATER (refer to 3BC74)

VISUAL ARTS BRITISH COLUMBIA (refer to VABC77)

A GUIDE TO SCULPTURE IN VANCOUVER (refer to GSV80)

ROYAL CANADIAN ACADEMY OF ARTS -
EXHIBITIONS & MEMBERS 1880 - 1979
(refer to RCA81)

ARTISTS IN CANADA 1982 - UNION LIST OF ARTISTS' FILES (refer to AIC82)

ART BANK CATALOGUE (refer to AB87)

A DICTIONARY OF CANADIAN ARTISTS (refer to M)

ART BC, MASTERWORKS FROM BRITISH COLUMBIA by Ian M. Thom
      2000, Douglas & McIntyre Ltd., ISBN 1-55054-808-5
      232 pages illustrated in colour and b&w
      Includes two sections on Binning; 2 full page colour illustrations of his work

BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX OF ARTISTS IN CANADA (refer to BIAC03)
      18 references cited for Binning, including CC1, M, and RCA listed above.

WATERFRONT by James P. Delgado, Executive Director, Vancouver Maritime Museum
      "The illustrated maritime story of Greater Vancouver"
      Published by Vancouver Maritime Museum and Stanton Atkins & Dosil Publishers
      2005, ISBN 0-9732346-5-2, 186 pages hardcover first edition with dust jacket
      Includes list of sources, index, credits, acknowledgements
      Extensively illustrated in colour and black and white with art and photographs
      Artwork reproduced from Atkins Feckless Collection includes print by Binning

PUBLIC ART IN VANCOUVER - ANGELS AMONG LIONS (refer to PAV09)

VANCOUVER PUBLIC LIBRARY - B.C. ARTISTS FILES (refer to VPL)

VANCOUVER SCHOOL OF ART - LIST OF GRADUATES & STUDENTS (refer to VSA)

THE LIFE AND ART OF HARRY AND JESSIE WEBB (refer to MTP14)

CITY & PROVINCIAL DIRECTORIES 1933-34 (refer to DIR)

THE FECKLESS COLLECTION (refer to FECK18)

GREATER VANCOUVER ART GALLERIES 1954-2020 (refer to GVAG20)
     7 references to Binning.

Clippings

"B.C. Binning is always a master draftsman."
      From "B.C. Society of Fine Arts Display Sets New High Mark," by Palette
      Vancouver Daily Province, May 16, 1942

"Well-known Vancouver artists recently elected (BCSFA) members include ... B.C. Binning ..."
      From "B.C. Artists' Display To Calgary For Exhibition," by Palette
      Vancouver Daily Province, May-June 1942

" ... Among those contibuting paintings and drawings are: ... B.C. Binning ... "
      From "Noted Artists Offer Paintings For Red Cross"
      Vancouver Daily Province (presumed), November 1942

"Among other prominent exhibitors are ... B.C. Binning ... (continues)
      From "Summer Show at Gallery Major Event for Art Lovers," by Palette
      Vancouver Daily Province, July 7, 1943

"The quality of painting in B.C. exhibitions has been greatly strengthened by the inclusion of works by former students. This reflects the good work of a loyal and enthusiastic staff consisting at present of Grace W. Melvin, Fred A. Amess, B.C. Binning, J.L. Shadbolt, and a number of other teachers, past and present, in the Day, Evening and Saturday Morning Classes."
      From "A Short Art History of British Columbia", by Charles H. Scott
      Behind The Palette, June 1947

"In the pronounced swing to the left we find ... two remarkable canvases by B.C. Binning, dealing in an abstract way with ships ..." (continues)
      From "Lively Spirit Pervades B.C. Artists' Exhibition" by Palette. Vancouver Daily Province, May 3 1949


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