Art & Artists in Exhibition: Vancouver 1890 - 1950
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Alfred Crocker Leighton

October 27 1901 - May 6 1965

Royal Society of British Artists (elected 1929)
Alberta Society of Artists (Founding President 1931)
Royal Canadian Academy of Art (Associate 1935-1946)
Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour (Charter Member 1933-1941)
International Institute of Arts and Letters (Member)

Alfred Crocker Leighton was born in Hastings, Sussex, England, on October 27, 1901. He made trips to Canada in 1925 and 1927, taking pictures to assist in his commercial artwork in England for the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. He exhibited his work in Vancouver at the James Leyland Gallery in 1928 during a painting trip to the coast for the C.P.R. He moved to Canada in 1929 to take up the position of Director of Art at the Institute of Technology and Art in Calgary, Alberta. He helped to create the Alberta Society of Artists in 1931, becoming the group's first President, as well as the Calgary Sketch Club and the Medicine Hat Sketch Club.

In 1933 Leighton illustrated a little book published by the Empress Hotel, Victoria B.C., titled "Victoria B.C. - City of Enchantment in Canada's Evergreen Playground". The 32 page book was written by Lady Willison, with Leighton providing ten colour reproductions of his paintings of Victoria and the Empress Hotel.

In 1934 Leighton had a solo exhibition of his watercolours at the Vancouver Art Gallery. He had another exhibition at the Art Gallery in 1935, information at the gallery noting that the exhibition catalogue for the 1935 show was from the University of Alberta exhibition.

Leighton and his wife Barbara also lived in British Columbia for a while, at Crescent Beach and at one point even owning a farm in Chilliwack. He regularly exhibited his work at the Royal Academy in England, as well as shows in Canada. He was elected Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1935.

Leighton's wife Barbara was also an artist, who exhibited under the name Barleigh. She created a series of woodcut prints using her husband's watercolours as the original images.

In 1935, Arthur Lismer, one of the members of the Group of Seven, 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 Leighton:
     "At the art school in Calgary, which is in the Technical School, the work is under the direction of Mr. Leighton and is evidently the only kind of organized art instruction in the province. From what I saw it is somewhat academic, which in itself is not a bad thing but old fashioned and not stimulating or productive of much art interest.
     On the other hand there is no doubt that Mr. Leighton's activities have had a far-reaching influence, especially his outdoor school in the summer, which this year has been placed under the department of Education and the Calgary Technical schools."

In 1939 Leighton's painting was selected "Best of Show" at the World's Fair in New York.

He had two watercolours in the B.C. Society of Fine Arts annual exhibition in 1942.

Leighton died in Calgary in 1965.

Exhibitions

Exhibitions

SOLO EXHIBITIONS
DATE EXHIBITION LOCATION
1934 May 18 - 27 Watercolours Vancouver Art Gallery
1935 May 3 - 12 Watercolours Vancouver Art Gallery

GROUP EXHIBITIONS
DATE EXHIBITION ARTWORK
1942 May 15 - 31 BCSFA   32nd Annual The Bridge, Grinton, Yorkshire
Eltham, Kent


References - SOLO EXHIBITIONS / MONOGRAPHS

Refer to BIBLIO.

References - GROUP EXHIBITIONS

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

AN EXHIBITION OF OUR COLLECTION OF
EARLY WESTERN CANADIAN WATERCOLORS
(refer to UL78)

BEYOND THE CANVAS - Artists, Stories and the Sea
      by Jennifer Breckon and James P. Delgado
      Featuring the Mary and Bill Everett Family Collection
      2000, ISBN 0-9695221-4-2; exhibition at the Vancouver Martime Museum; illust. in colour
      Includes Foreword by Patricia E. Bovey, Introduction by James P. Delgado; list of works
      Essay A Collector Recollects by Bill Everett
      Exhibition included work by Leighton

References - GENERAL

FAR HORIZONS, by Bliss Carmen, illustrated by A.C. Leighton
      1926; published by McLelland and Stewart

THE DICTIONARY OF BRITISH ARTISTS 1880 - 1940 (refer to DBA76)

THE SHELL CANADA COLLECTION (refer to SHEL77)

A DICTIONARY OF CANADIAN ARTISTS (refer to M)

CREATIVE CANADA - VOLUME TWO, by University of Toronto Press
      1972; ISBN 0-8020-3285-0
      Includes one full column of concise information about Leighton.

THE MOUNTAINS AND THE SKY by Lorne E. Render
      1974, Glenbow-Alberta Institute; published by McClelland and Stewart West
      ISBN 0-7712-1001-2; 224 pages, illustrated throughout in colour and b&w
      Includes biographical information on Leighton and four of his paintings illustrated

ROYAL CANADIAN ACADEMY OF ARTS -
EXHIBITIONS & MEMBERS 1880 - 1979
(refer to RCA81)
      Lists seven RCA exhibitions of Leighton's work from 1931 - 1938.

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

ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS - THE FIRST SEVENTY YEARS
      2000, by Kathy E. Zimon; illustrated b&w with colour section at end
      University of Calgary Press; ISBN 1-55238-034-3
      Includes list of members, executive, exhibitors in selected exhibitions, index
      Includes a chapter on Leighton

BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX OF ARTISTS IN CANADA (refer to BIAC03)
      16 references listed for Leighton.

THE BOW - LIVING WITH A RIVER, edited by Gerald T. Conaty
      Includes essays by G.T. Conaty, Daryl Betenia, Catharine Mastin
      2004; ISBN 1-55263-634-8; Glenbow Museum, published by Key Porter Books Ltd.
      160 pages, hardcover; extensively illustrated with artwork and historical photographs
      Includes essays, select artist biographies, art and general bibliographies, index
      Artwork by western artists includes Leighton

ART INSPIRED BY THE CANADIAN ROCKIES, PURCELL
MOUNTAINS AND SELKIRK MOUNTAINS 1809-2012
(refer to TOWN12)

Clippings

"Youthful Artist Suffers Hardships to Get Pictures"
      The Evening Sun, Vancouver, October 29, 1927

"Another English artist who has recently settled in the West is A.C. Leighton. He visited Canada first in 1925, and since 1929 has been a teacher of art at the Calgary Institute of Technology. He is a water-colour painter of ability, and has painted the prairies and mountains with a fine feeling for colour and luminosity. In 1929 he was elected a member of the Royal Society of British Artists (England), and in 1931 was one of the founder members of the Alberta Society of Artists, becoming the first President of this newly formed society."
      From Canadian Landscape Painters, Albert H. Robson; page 186
      The Ryerson Press, Toronto, 1932

"Leighton Art Exhibit" by (unknown)
      Vancouver Sun, May 17 1934

"Leighton Exhibit of Watercolours Very Attractive" by (unknown)
      Financial News, May 25 1934

" ... together with oil and watercolour paintings by A.C. Leighton ... all contribute much to this extraordinary show."
      From "B.C. Society of Fine Arts Display Sets New High Mark," by Palette
      Vancouver Daily Province, May 16, 1942


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