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Varley went to Europe during World War One as a war artist from 1914 to 1918, painting a number of important and even controversial works.
Varley became a major influence on the west coast art scene when he arrived in Vancouver in 1926 to begin teaching at the recently opened Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Art under Charles Scott.
In 1927 he exhibited work in Victoria with the Island Arts and Crafts Society. He exhibited work with the B.C. Society of Fine Arts in November 1929. He also showed work in the annual B.C. Artists exhibitions in 1932 and 1934.
Varley had a solo exhibition in 1932 at the Vancouver Art Gallery, a show of landscapes in oil, watercolours, and drawings. The exhibition catalogue list includes catalogue numbers and prices but no titles for any of the artwork except for 4 of the 90 works in the show.
His contributions have been well recorded in biographies, exhibition catalogues, and surveys
of Canadian art, including the 1935 confidential report by
Arthur Lismer to the National Gallery of Canada, where Lismer
noted that Varley
"... has raised the whole standard of achievement and interest of hundreds of young people and many of the more mature artists."
Varley showed work in the B.C. Artists Christmas exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1933.
Varley and Jock MacDonald left the art school to found the B.C. College of Arts, Ltd. with Harry Tauber in 1933 after receiving cuts in pay from Scott. Although the College was instantly popular and enrolled many students, the finances didn't work out and the college closed in 1935. Varley left the west coast for Eastern Canada, and in later years only returned to the eastern part of B.C. in the Kootenay area.
A large number of paintings and sketches remain from his years of work in Vancouver, a historic legacy of one of our most noted and flamboyant artists.
|1932 December 1 - 12||Solo Exhibition||VAG|
|1928 Sept. 3 - 8||ProvExh 8th Annual Salon||John|
|1929 Nov. 16 - 30||BCSFA Winter Exhibition||Afternoon Light|
|A Lonely Beach|
|Coast Mountain Forms|
|1932 May - July||V.A.G. All-Canadian Exhibition||Morning|
|The Gorge of the Sphinx|
|1932 Oct. 5 - 30||VAG B.C. Artists 1st Annual||Dharana|
|Fire Ranger's Cabin, Lynn Valley|
|Drawing of a Head|
|1933 Dec. 1 - 17||VAG B.C. Artists Christmas Exhibition||Tantalus Mountains|
|The Gorge of the Sphinx|
|1934 Sept. 21 - Oct. 14||VAG B.C. Artists 3rd Annual||Valley of Clouds|
|Head of Negress|
|1934 ? - ?||VAG B.C. Artists Edmonton Exhibition||Tranquil Valley|
|Head of a Woman|
|1935 Sept. 20 - Oct. 15||VAG B.C. Artists 4th Annual||Landscape|
100 YEARS OF B.C. ART (refer to VAG58)
CONTEMPORARIES OF EMILY CARR IN BRITISH COLUMBIA (refer to SFU74)
VANCOUVER: ART & ARTISTS 1931 - 1983 (refer to VAG83)
VISIONS OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (refer to VAG09)
SHORE, FOREST AND BEYOND - ART FROM THE AUDAIN COLLECTION (refer to VAG11)
COTTAGES TO COMMUNITIES (refer to WVHS11)
THE FINE ARTS IN VANCOUVER, 1886 - 1930 (refer to THOM)
CREATIVE CANADA - VOLUME ONE
"A biographical dictionary of twentieth-century creative and performing artists."
1971; 310 pages; ISBN 0-8020-3262-1; University of Toronto Press
Compiled by Reference Division, McPherson Library, University of Victoria, B.C.
Includes 1-1/2 columns of information on Varley.
THE DICTIONARY OF BRITISH ARTISTS 1880 - 1940 (refer to DBA76)
ROYAL CANADIAN ACADEMY OF ARTS -
EXHIBITIONS & MEMBERS 1880 - 1979 (refer to RCA81)
MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS -
SPRING EXHIBITIONS 1880 - 1970 (refer to MM88)
ART BC, MASTERWORKS FROM BRITISH COLUMBIA by Ian M. Thom
2000, Douglas & McIntyre Ltd., ISBN 1-55054-808-5
232 pages illustrated in colour and b&w
Includes historical essays, biographical notes, index.
CANVAS OF WAR - PAINTING THE CANADIAN EXPERIENCE 1914 TO 1945
2000, by Dean F. Oliver, Laura Brandon; Foreword by J.L. Granatstein
Douglas & McIntyre Ltd., ISBN 1-55054-772-0
178 pages illustrated in colour and b&w
Includes historical essays, chronology, sources, index of works, index of artists.
BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX OF ARTISTS IN CANADA
(refer to BIAC03)
25 references to Varley.
THE FECKLESS COLLECTION (refer to FECK18)
GREATER VANCOUVER ART GALLERIES 1954-2020
(refer to GVAG20)
1 references to Varley.
ISLAND ARTS AND CRAFTS SOCIETY - List of Exhibitors
VANCOUVER PUBLIC LIBRARY - B.C. ARTISTS FILES (refer to VPL)
CITY & PROVINCIAL DIRECTORIES 1929/31 Vancouver (refer to DIR)
"F.H Varley, R.C.A., and J.W.G. Macdonald,
directors of the B.C. College of Art, will take
their pupils up 5,000 feet into this country which they declare has marvellous
possibilities from an artist's point of view."
From "In The Domain of Art" Vancouver Province, May 5 1934
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