Art & Artists in Exhibition: Vancouver 1890 - 1950
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Frederick Arthur Amess

April 7 1909 - December 31 1970

Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts (Diploma 1929)
P.A.S.O.V.A.S.
B.C. Society of Fine Arts (Member ?- 1938-43 -?)
Federation of Canadian Artists (Founding Member 1941)
Art in Living Group



Amess sketching on Savary Island

Frederick Amess was born in London, England. His father's name is noted on Amess's death certificate as Robert James Amess (not J.H.O. Amess). The family arrived on the West Coast in 1911. Fred was in the first class at the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts when it opened in 1925, and was in its first graduating class in 1929.


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

In 1939 Amess held the position of Evening School Supervisor at the art school, and wrote an article for Behind The Palette, the Vancouver School of Art Annual for 1939-40, titled Evening School, in which he discussed the courses given in the evening classes, and student activities such as production of Behind The Palette. With the outbreak of war in Europe making the headlines in the daily newspapers and on the radio, Amess wrote that "the fever of destruction" must be counteracted by "the stimulus of creation".


Watercolour with Fred Amess illustrated as an infant.


Self-portrait.

His watercolour "Artists in a Wind" won the Beatrice Stone medal in 1940, after the jury decided it was superior to all of the oil paintings, which were nominally the only artworks to be considered.


The Injured Hercules.


Watercolour of Fred Amess and Mollie Lamb.


From the Savary Pudding, 1939


From the Savary Pudding, 1939

Amess married fellow artist Elizabeth (Betty) Elliott in Caulfeilds, West Vancouver, on June 21, 1941.

Amess was a Founding Member of the Federation of Canadian Artists in 1941.

Amess 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.

Amess did the cover images for the 1946 programme for the Vancouver School Board Diamond Jubilee.

He exhibited artwork in numerous B.C. Artists exhibitions at the Vancouver Art Gallery beginning in 1932.

He entered four pen and wash drawings to the 1949 B.C. Graphic exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery, but none of them were selected for the exhibition as they "did not come in".

Amess was a charter member of the B.C. Industrial Design Committee.

He had solo exhibitions at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1950 and 1951, as well as a duo show in 1941. He also showed work at the National Gallery, Ottawa, and at the Seattle Art Museum. He exhibited work with the B.C. Society of Fine Arts and won two awards of merit for his work. He also won a Bronze Medal from an exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Amess took over as director of the Vancouver School of Art when Charles H. Scott retired. Amess died in North Vancouver in 1970, aged 61.

Exhibitions

SOLO EXHIBITIONS
DATE EXHIBITION LOCATION
1941 June 3 - 15 J.H.O. Amess & Fred Amess Vancouver Art Gallery
1950 Oct. 31 - Nov. 19 Solo show Vancouver Art Gallery

GROUP EXHIBITIONS
DATE EXHIBITION ARTWORK
1929 Nov. 16 - 30 BCSFA   Winter Exhibition Housie Housie, Hastings Park
The Barker
1930 Nov. 27 - Dec. 7 PASOVAS   Art Club Exhibition Pen and Ink
Christmas Decoration
Cold Water Stream
Sunlight, Grouse Mountain
Seymour Valley
Granite Falls
Olson Lake
Firewood
Burrard Inlet
Theodosa Valley
Portrait
1932 May - July VAG   All Canadian Exhibition A Mill on the Fraser
1932 Sept. 17 - 30 PASOVAS   Club Exhibition "Haystack"
"The Raising of the Totem"
"Sunspot"
"Donkey Engine"
Sketch
Sketch
Sketch
Sketch (red conte)
1932 Oct. 5 - 30 VAG   B.C. Artists 1st Annual The High Dive
The Street Scene
1933 May 3 - 18 VAG   VSAGA 1st Annual Exhibition Buccaneer Bay
The Canal
Yacht
The Old Barn
Tom
At Work
Studio Corner (Pen and Ink)
In a Chinese Vegetable Garden (Lithograph)
Unemployed (Dry Brush)
The Mourner
Studio Corner
1933 June 3 - 11 VAG   BCSFA 23rd Annual Hello!
Deadman's Island
1933 Sept. 22 - Oct. 15 VAG   B.C. Artists 2nd Annual Hot Hills
Wind Twisted Trees
1934 Sept. 21 - Oct. 14 VAG   B.C. Artists 3rd Annual The Record
Torture and Calm
Sketch, Savary Island
1935 Sept. 20 - Oct. 15 VAG   B.C. Artists 4th Annual Summer Fallow
The Main Drag
1936 June 26 - July 12 VAG   BCSFA 26th Annual The Old Fisherman
1936 Sept. 18 - Oct. 11 VAG   B.C. Artists 5th Annual Mural Panel (Detail)
1938 Sept. 16 - Oct. 9 VAG   B.C. Artists 7th Annual Homeward Bound
1939 June 9 - 25 BCSFA   29th Annual Fantasia
Steveston
1939 Sept. 15 - Oct. 8 VAG   B.C. Artists 8th Annual Stack
H. Mortimer Lamb, Esq.
Cottage at Savary
Wind
1940 Sept. 20 - Oct. 13 VAG   B.C. Artists 9th Annual The Net
Artists in a Wind
Farmyard
Windy Hope
1941 May 10 - June 1 BCSFA   31st Annual Float, Kamloops
On the Fraser
Siesta
1941 Sept. 26 - Oct. 19 VAG   B.C. Artists 10th Annual Ballet Rerhearsal
1942 May 15 - 31 VAG   BCSFA   32nd Annual Mission
1942 July 7 - Sept. 2 VAG   B.C. Artists 1st Annual Summer Ballet Rehearsal
Artists in the Wind
1942 Sept. 25 - Oct. 18 VAG   B.C. Artists 11th Annual The Artist and his Model
Sitting Pretty
1943 July 2 - Aug. 25 VAG   B.C. Artists 2nd Annual Summer The Artist and his Model
1943 Sept. 25 - Oct. 20 VAG   B.C. Artists 12th Annual The Young Dancer
1944 Sept. 23 - Oct. 22 VAG   B.C. Artists 13th Annual Hope
Equestrian
Tangle
1945 May 18 - June 10 BCSFA   35th Annual Sheepfold
1945 July 3 - Aug. 26 VAG   B.C. Artists 4th Annual Summer Sheepfold
1945 Sept. 22 - Oct. 21 VAG   B.C. Artists 14th Annual Portrait
Cariboo Pattern
1946 July 2 - 28 VAG   Jubilee Exhibition Valley Farmer
1947 Sept. 20 - Oct. 12 VAG   B.C. Artists 16th Annual No. 8
Savanah
1948 Sept. 18 - Oct. 10 VAG   B.C. Artists 17th Annual Beach
1949 Oct. 8 - 30 VAG   B.C. Artists 18th Annual Beach
1949 Nov. 22 - Dec. 11 VAG   First B.C. Graphic Ballet Rehearsal (did not come in)
Ballet (did not come in)
Woods (did not come in)
Northland (did not come in)

References

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

EVENING SCHOOL
      Behind The Palette, Vancouver School of Art Annual 1939-40

WHO'S WHO IN NORTHWEST ART (refer to WWNA41)

VANCOUVER SCHOOLS DIAMOND JUBILEE SOUVENIR PROGRAMME
      1946; 4 pages; published by Vancouver School Board
      Cover images by Fred Amess

The Art In Living Group by Fred Amess
      Canadian Art magazine, Vol. 5 No. 1, October-November 1947, p. 13, 52; 1 illustration

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

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

CREATIVE CANADA - VOLUME TWO
      Compiled by Reference Division, McPherson Library, University of Victoria, B.C.
      1972; ISBN 0-8020-3285-0
      "A biographical dictionary of twentieth-century creative and performing artists."
      Includes 2/3 of a column of information about Amess, confirmed by the artist.

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

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

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

A DICTIONARY OF CANADIAN ARTISTS (refer to M)
      Half-page bio on the artist & numerous references.

BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX OF ARTISTS IN CANADA (refer to BIAC03)
      3 references cited for Amess.

VISIONS OF THE WEST COAST - ROBERT ALLER & HIS COMMUNITY (refer to UVIC05)

OUR CHANGING LANDSCAPE (2008) (refer to BAG08)

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

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

THE FECKLESS COLLECTION (refer to FECK18)

GREATER VANCOUVER ART GALLERIES 1954-2020 (refer to GVAG20)
     1 reference to Amess.

B.C. VITAL STATISTICS ON-LINE marriage, death (refer to BCVS)

Clippings

"The other large canvas is by Fred Amess and represents a log hut in the woods."
      From "Pasovas Club Has Splendid Annual Show"
      Vancouver Province, November 6, 1934

"Among the larger paintings on display is Frank (sic) Amess' "Woodland Temple," mural-like in style, and with unusually fine light-and-shadow effects."
      From "Pasovas Art Show"
      Vancouver Sun, November 6, 1934

"I do not find Robertsons medium suitable for oil painting - "
     From "Overflow from first column" by Amess
      Savary Pudding, Volume 2, Number 8, 1935

"With all this beauty round us we all feel that the men could do a little painting up. May we suggest:
      1. Plucked and arched eye-brows for the Scott
      2. Sanguine finger and toenails for Mr. A-mess
      3. Hot oil and Henna rinse for Shaggy-Shad
      4. A pin-curl special for Mr. Mortuary
      5. Rubinstein’s Plastic Pack for More M’duke Lamb
      6. AND ONE THING WE ARE SURE OF – (to reduce the Fire Hazard)
           the Baron’s eyelashes singed, dimples blacklisted, perhaps Solitary Confinement."
      From "BEAUTY SUGGESTIONS"
      Savary Pudding, June 6 1939

"Mobs reach veranda of famous Royal Savary. Parade of picketeers among deck chairs of wealthy holideers. Refuse order of please for immediate dispersal – much to discomfort of millionaire loungers.
NOVEL METHODS USED BY PIXILATED PICKATEERS
      Famous Moscow “March of the Women” recalled as women wearing yellow signs and leading a red lamb at head of parade march through resort. Government fears influence of strange man god. Women said to prostrate themselves before two-ton idol. Fanatical scenes of cult worship as “Save Amess” campaign roars. Said to recall images of ancient Buddha in China. Wields weird power."
      From "SAVE AMESS CAMPAIGN BECOMES PUBLIC MENACE"
      Savary Pudding, 1939

"To the wild cheering of a hoarse-throated audience Baron Von Ustoff refused to be thrown by King Kong Freddie. Mr. Ustoff poured blood in a charming matched two piece suit of shipdeck grey."
      From "BEHEMOTHS BATTLE TO DRAW ON SHIPDECK"
      Savary Pudding, 1939

"Miss Melvin, running for Glasgow veterans beats Beefy Marpole Freddy to tape in shipdeck 10-length handicap."
      From " "GRACE" before "MEAT" "
      Savary Pudding, 1939

"Artists represented in the group comprise the following ... Fred Amess ... (continues)
      From "Maritime Art Association"
      Vancouver Art Gallery Bulletin, November (?), 1939

"Fred Amess in "Mission" scores high, too, in a new vein."
      From "B.C. Society of Fine Arts Display Sets New High Mark," by Palette
      Vancouver Daily Province, May 16, 1942

"Hung side by side, and yet in harmony, the visitor can enjoy on the same wall such varied products as "The Dancers" by Fred A. Amess ... (continues)
      From "Summer Show at Gallery Major Event for Art Lovers," by Palette
      Vancouver Daily Province, July 7, 1943

"It was '43 I think, when I was last in Trail, to see the first exhibit of Vancouver artists, sponsored by James L. (sic) Amess, of B.C. Fine Arts association, Vancouver, Mrs. Mildred V. Thornton, Bess Symons, Fred Amess and the writer.(continues)"
      From "LIKES WESTON", by "Allan P. Allsebrook"
      Trail Daily Times, March 1948

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