Art & Artists in Exhibition: Vancouver 1890 - 1950
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Vancouver Daily Province, October 2 1919

LOCAL WORK IS ON VIEW

British Columbia Artists Exhibit at New Westminster
More Detailed Impressions
of Picture Collection
at the Fair

by Bernard McEvoy

     A second visit to the art department of the New Westminster Exhibition confirms the opinion that the collection is the largest and most varied that has ever been exhibited in Western Canada. While the pictures loaned from the National Gallery at Ottawa are not nearly such a choice selection as might have been made, they at any rate add a new and virile note, and indicate a certain daring originality in some of the eastern painters.
     One of the best of the National Gallery paintings is "Morning at Algonquin Park" by J.W. Beatty, R.C.A. Simple and effective is our position, and broadly painted. It makes instant appeal to the lover of art. It is rather unfortunately hung close to a window, and would have shown much better in the centre of the adjacent wall-space. Perhaps the rule of thumb which says that you should look at a picture at a distance of three times its greatest dimension may in this case be extended a little. Then the spectator will see that though the artist has properly used blue in the snow, he has done it with discernment and moderation and in a way that brings out the luminous lights which he has introduced.

SOME CAMOUFLAGE.

     This can scarcely be said of the "Winter Camouflage" by Arthur Lismer with its deep blue snow and extremely green river. Both the green and the blue are exceedingly beautiful hues and regarded merely as colors they may be looked at with joy. Nor need the critic complain that he has never seen snow or water look exactly like that which the artist has portrayed, since the painter is at liberty to interpret nature as he will, say to use nature merely as a suggestion or a hint. Given this licence, the question is: Does the picture harmonize with its own scheme of color and composition? The popular answer to this question will probably be in the negative, and even to many of those who love new departures the work will appear to be a more or less unsuccessful experiment. Not even being legitimately ranged under the blessed work "decorative". The fact is that this term has been worked nearly to death so as greatly to bewilder ordinary people.
     There are two pictures by Wm. Brymner, R.C.A., of very diverse character, but both showing great skill and power. One of them is entitled "Evening", an upright oil painting in which there are massive trees that have a sort of solid majesty and repose about them. They are the age-old guardians of a rustic home and the picture is full of a feeling for nature. Mr. Brymner's other picture is of Venice - a water color with a bridge in it and buildings - a most harmonious and satisfactory piece of work. Mary Riter Hamilton comes out well in her picture "Les Sacrifices" - a girl with geese who is apparently saddened by the thought of their prospective fate. In harmonious tone and drawing this picture attains a large measure of success.
     Mr. W.P. Weston of Vancouver, a competent exponent of art, and a painter of much imaginative power, shows at his best in his fine breezy picture entitled "November". Simple in composition and powerful in treatment, this work bears the mark of artistic inspiration. It took the fancy of the editor of the "Studio" when it was first exhibited, and a reproduction of it appeared in the pages of that emininent London periodical of contemporary art.
     Of a different character, and representing the traditions of the Flemish school, "The Paddler" by H. Ten-Kats (sp.?), will bear a close inspection. Its many sixteenth century figures are admirably drawn and painted. The interior is probably that of a tavern, and various types of guests are somewhat contemptuously observing a Jew peddler who is humbly showing his goods. It is all straight and very clever painting, with no sort of camouflage about it - it combines invention, color-knowledge and craftsmanship.
     Wyly Grier, R.C.A. is represented by a painting of a keen-looking young man, who, on the label - too high up to be read - is described as the "master" of something - perhaps a ship. It is a portrait of much vitality, and stands out aggressively among adjacent landscapes.

SOME LOCAL WORK.

     Among local artists, Mr. H.J. de Forest, a representative of the older school of painting, and a worthy pioneer for many years in the cause of art in Vancouver, is seen to advantage in his fine picture of Mount Robson. Mr. de Forest is familiar with our British Columbia Alpine landscape; he has a good sense of color and a sincere method of work. In this picture of the great mountain, its snowy crest contrasted with the dark cloud behind it, the painter not only gives us a topographical portrayal, but a picture which is rich in detail and suffused with color. He is no more stereotyped in style than many of the painters who have essayed to give us transcripts of British Columbia scenery, and his picture will live when those of many less careful paint-(?) have been forgotten.
     The work of a painter of mountains in another medium is seen in the masterly water-colors of Mr. Tom Fripp, who carries out and improves upon the traditions of the Royal Watercolor Society of England, of which his father was a distinguished member. There is a delicacy and refinement in Mr. Fripp's method, combined with a poetic sense of the grandeur of his subjects, which make his work very attractive, and the examples which he shows in the present exhibition can not fail to arrest the beholder by their marvellous execution and finish. Of a different style of water-color, but representing easy and clean technique, are two pictures by Mr. Turner, the English artist. Mr. R.F. Gagen of Toronto is the painter of an upright water-color, showing mountains and a bridge over a stream - a very satisfactory piece of work.
     Kate A. Smith (Mrs. Frank Hoole), a local animal painter of distinction, has a picture of three plough-horses in a stubble field resting from their labors, along with their two drivers. This is a solid and clever painting, the lighting and drawing of which indicate much skill and good handling. The same may be said of her lively painting of chickens, which is in every respect pleasing and sincere. There is a pastel head of a girl by C.H. Scott which has been much admired. Though a small picture it is full of life and expression. The big trees and "Autumn" of Miss Grace Judge are good examples of this painstaking and improving artist. Mr. Charles G. Ferguson touches a high mark in his water-color of buildings by moonlight. Ivor Williams verges on a (?) impressionism in his pastel of a forest scene.
     It is however impossible within the limits of a short article to treat of every picture in this important and interesting exhibition in which New Westminster has put itself on the artistic map of the country. The R.A. and I.S. (sp?) has been very fortunate in having the assistance of a committee. The (stressful?) nature of whose work only those can estimate who have had exertions of this particular nature avenue of helpfullness. Two members of this committee exhibit (?) paintings of their own - Mr. Stanley Tytler and Mr. J.R. Wilson, the (?). The former shows two broadly painted pictures in all, one of Burrard Inlet, Vancouver, and the other a representation of the driftwood on (?) bluff at Comox - a difficult (?) (?) cleverly treated. Mr. Wilson has (?) small oil picture which show he has benefitted by Old Country (?), and has a good sense of what a picture should be.


Editor's note: the end of the article was very difficult to read, question marks in parentheses thus: (?) indicate missing words.

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