Art & Artists in Exhibition: Vancouver 1890 - 1950
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David Spencer Ltd.
B.C. Artists' Golden Jubilee Exhibition

August 18 - 28 1936

This exhibition was what you might call a "sleeper" of a show. With 450 paintings and 15 sculptures, it was the biggest exhibition in Vancouver up to that time, and remained so until 1968. The exhibition was organized by the Women's Division of the Golden Jubilee Committee. A number of artists helped organize the exhibition, including Mrs. F.T. Schooley, Convener, and acting executive officers Mrs. Clara Bonne Miller, Mrs. Kate Smith Hoole, Miss Beatrice Lennie, H.A. Stone, Charles Marega, G. Thornton Sharp, Cameron Ramsay, J.W. Laing, H. Faulkner Smith, and Ralph Roberts. (Editor's note: it is probably safe to assume that most or all of these artists had work in the exhibition, since at least five of them did.)

In 25 years of research I had not found any references to this exhibition, until in Spring 2020 I saw a label on the back of a painting by Gertrude Lawson. The painting was in the collection of the West Vancouver Archives. I found an article by the Vancouver Historical Society about the opening of the David Spencer 1936 time capsule in 1986. There was a list of the contents of the time capsule, which included a 2-page report on the exhibition. The Vancouver City Archives kindly looked up the information and sent me a scan. (CVA file AM1495_945-D-01-fld 03.pdf, from "Women's Division Vancouver Golden Jubilee Committee" fond). The report provided some details about the exhibition, and also noted that a large amount of news reporting had been done about the show.

A friend found a couple of news articles online and sent them to me. One was a review of artwork in the show, the other was a lengthy review of who attended the opening and a description of the clothes they were wearing. To date, no catalogue of the entire exhibition has been located. In the meantime, I thought it useful to compile the known information into a single file for reference.

Spencer's had a public vote for best artwork, and three prizes ("beautiful books on Art") were awarded to the winners (see below). 15,000 people viewed the exhibition, which was held in a "specially constructed gallery" on the third floor of the David Spencer Ltd. Department store on Hastings Street.

ARTISTS KNOWN TO BE IN THE EXHIBITION

ARTIST TITLE / DESCRIPTION OF ARTWORK
Alexander, R.S. "A striking portrait study of a young, fair-haired man in a blue shirt ..."
Bainbridge, Unity "... two particularly fine portraits in oil, one of which a study of a sailor, caused much comment among those who have had a preview of the exhibition."
Barker, C.F. (artwork)
Boyd, Katherine A. "... a painting in oil of horses on the waterfront."
Bunyard, R.G. "... a pair of coloured prints ..."
Fowler, Major C.B. (artwork)
Fry, Bessie (artwork)
Griffith, Julius (Jr.) (artwork)
Hamilton, Mary Riter "... a portrait in pastels."
Harris, I. "... two strong pencil portraits."
Hayes, Mrs. J.J. Forest Fire; prize winner
Hoole, Kate Smith (artwork)
Lennie, Beatrice (sculpture)
Innes, John (artwork)
Lawson, Gertrude Morning on Mt. Edith Cavell
Paterson, Alexander (artwork)
Ramsay, Cameron De Trafford Young; prize winner
Roberts, Ralph (sculpture)
Rolleston, W. "... a pair of original and amusing fish pictures."
Schellenberger, Otto (artwork)
Schooley, Mrs. Frederick T. "... a group of three still life pictures."
Taylor, Turner "two paintings in oil":
"... Vancouver's first mayor, Malcolm A. MacLean."
"... a full length portrait in his red robes of office of His Grace Archbishop A.U. dePencier."
Thornton, Mildred Valley "... a lovely landscape in oils of Lost Lagoon with English Bay and Point Grey beyond."
von Ustinov, Plato (artwork)
Wallis, W.H. Burgos Cathedral; prize winner



Information from Vancouver Historical Society, Vancouver City Archives, West Vancouver Archives.
Online research by Gary Sim and Jason Vanderhill.