Art & Artists in Exhibition: Vancouver 1890 - 1950
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Francis (Frank) Lyman Beebe

May 25 1914 -

Francis Lyman Beebe was born in Lacombe, Alberta in 1914, and lived in British Columbia from 1931. He was Chief Illustrator at the British Columbia Provincial Museum in Victoria, and a noted and prolific artist and illustrator of the province's plants and animals. He was known as a naturalist and ornithologist, and the author of numerous articles and scientific papers.

The two books on wildflowers he illustrated for George and Winnifred Hardy in 1949 and 1964 contain two hundred watercolours reproduced in each volume, an amazing total of four hundred paintings in just one series. He also illustrated, among other books, the Guide to Common Edible Plants of British Columbia, and The Grasses of British Columbia, both being handbooks from the Provincial Museum.

Beebe worked (at least) in watercolour, airbrush, and scratchboard for his illustrations. Information on the dust jacket about the authors and illustrator for Wild Flowers In The Rockies includes the following about Beebe:

     Frank L. Beebe has been called the Bootstrap Audubon because he has won for himself a name of importance as artist, naturalist and ornithologist without the aid of formal training of any sort in either art or the sciences. The late Allen Brooks advised against sending Beebe to an art school and said: "Give him field glasses and let him study birds, flowers, and mammals in the woods and he will develop his native talent, which is already considerable."
     He has developed a unique method of illustration by use of standard brushes in water color, supplemented by air brush. Beebe is a naturalist first and an artist second. The rare combination of the two has resulted in such scientists as Dr. Clifford Carl, director of the British Columbia Provincial Museum; Dr. W.A. Clemens, head of the Zoology Department, University of British Columbia; Dr. Ian McTaggart-Cowan and many others, choosing him to do the illustrations of flora and fauna for their works.
     Art is worthless in a scientific sense without representation, accurate to the millimeter, of stamen, petal, feather and scale. Because of Mr. Beebe's reputation in artistry and accuracy to the smallest detail, he was selected to illustrate "Wild Flowers In The Rockies." For accuracy and beauty of expression this representation of the wild flowers in the Rockies is without its peer.

Beebe showed work in the B.C. Artists exhibitions from 1938 to 1941 at the Vancouver Art Gallery. He later had a solo exhibition of 36 of his paintings from Wildflowers in the Rockies at the Gallery in 1949.


1949 May 3 - June 0 (?) Wild Flowers in the Rockies Vancouver Art Gallery

1938 Sept. 16 - Oct. 9 VAG   B.C. Artists 7th Annual Golden Eagle
Barrows and American Goldeneyes
1940 Sept. 20 - Oct. 13 VAG   B.C. Artists 9th Annual Goshawk
Columbian Ground Squirrel
1941 Sept. 26 - Oct. 19 VAG   B.C. Artists 10th Annual Cougar
Golden Crown Kinglet


Refer to BIBLIO.


PLANTAE OCCIDENTALIS - 200 Years of Botanical Art in British Columbia
      1979, By Maria Newberry House, The Botanical Garden, U.B.C., Technical Bulletin No 11
      Exhibition catalogue, illustrated; list of works; ISSN 0703-1432
      Biographical information on Beebe; eight works illustrated
      (see also UBC79)

PROFILES OF A HERITAGE - Images of Wildlife by British Columbia Artists
      Published by Centennial Wildlife Society of British Columbia and Liane Davison
      1987, no ISBN, Traveling Exhibition Curated by Liane Davison
      Sofcover, not paginated, works illustrated in colour and black & white
      Includes Foreword by Patricia Bovey, Introduction, biographies, artist statements
      Includes early artwork by Frank Beebe.

References - GENERAL

ARTISTS IN CANADA - provides birthdate and place.
Lists files on Beebe at:
      Edmonton Art Gallery - Library
      Vancouver Public Library - Fine Arts and Music Division
      University of British Columbia - Fine Arts Library
      Vancouver Art Gallery - Library
      National Gallery of Canada - Library and Archives
      Art Gallery of Ontario - Edward P. Taylor Research Library and Archives



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