Vancouver Art Association
January 18 1889 - c1894
The Vancouver Art Association was the first art organization in Vancouver.
In 1890, from October 6th to 11th, the group held their
First Annual Exhibition in the Art Gallery
located in the Lefevre Block on Hasting Street. There were 338 paintings
in the exhibition, a huge number to have on display.
The Association produced an extensive, lithographed exhibition catalogue
for the show. It included a complete list of all artwork in the show,
the owners and artists of the works; a list of members of the Association;
and programmes for a number of activities associated with the exhibition
- a Musicale, a Ball, and other events. There
were also a number of advertisements for various local businesses.
The exhibition was an excellent effort by a small group of people, but
it would be ten years until an equivalent exhibition was mounted in
Vancouver. There was a loan of a number of British Columbia
paintings by Lucius Richard O'Brien, the
Founding President of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.
There were 59 members listed in the exhibition catalogue for the 1st Annual Exhibition,
as well as six patrons and fifteen officers.
In 1894 the Association organized another exhibition, at Dunn Hall on
Granville Street. A copy of the programme is shown above. After this
the Association became known as the Art, Historical, and Scientific
Association of Vancouver. Refer also to articles noted below.
|Van Horne Block, Granville Street
|1890 October 6 - 11
|1st Annual Exhibition
|Art Gallery, Lefevre Block, Hastings Street
|2nd Annual Exhibition (paintings & loan collection)
|Empty store, Granville Street
|1894 November 6
|Dunn Hall, Granville Street
"The first Art Association in Vancouver was formed in the 1889. This seems to have
been the result of a suggestion made to the late S. Gertrude Mellon by an old country
relative who proposed a centenary celebration of the building, by Captain Meares in
June 1788, of the first fort at Nootka Sound, under the auspices of the East India
Company. The Daily News-Advertiser of September 22nd, 1887, commented upon the
suggestion and discussed the advisability of having some Historical society which
should gather and preserve all records and information connected with the history
of British Columbia. The matter was freely discussed for some time, and efforts to
form some society of the sort were made from time to time. Through various ups and
downs, there finally evolved the First Annual Exhibition, held by the Vancouver Art
Association in the Art Gallery, Lefevre Block, Hastings Street, which continued for
one week, October 6 - 11, 1890.
After this, the Art Association seems to have disappeared, but the Daily
News-Advertiser, April 15th, 1894, contains this notice: "It is proposed to revive
the Art Association of Vancouver and also to enlarge its scope by the addition
of an historical and scientific department."
"The First Art Organization in Vancouver",
Museum Notes, Vol. III, No. 3. September 1928
Published by the Art, Historical and Scientific Association of Vancouver
"From the newspaper files could be obtained, notices of the second exhibition. That was
held in an empty store on Granville Street, and was opened by the Governor; was not
only an exhibition of paintings, but a loan collection of china and valuable bric-a-brac.
... It was surprising to find such a collection in a place like Vancouver in those days."
From personal correspondence, Mrs. Annie E. Richards (formerly Mrs. (Capt.) Webster, 1939
Vancouver Art Gallery file on Vancouver Art Association