A second visit to the art department of the New Westminster
Exhibition confirms the opinion that the collection is the largest and
most varied that has ever been exhibited in Western Canada. While the
pictures loaned from the National Gallery at Ottawa are not nearly such a choice
selection as might have been made, they at any rate add a new and virile
note, and indicate a certain daring originality in some of the
One of the best of the National Gallery paintings is "Morning at Algonquin
Park" by J.W. Beatty, R.C.A. Simple and effective is our position, and broadly
painted. It makes instant appeal to the lover of art. It is rather
unfortunately hung close to a window, and would have shown much better
in the centre of the adjacent wall-space. Perhaps the rule of thumb
which says that you should look at a picture at a distance of three
times its greatest dimension may in this case be extended a little.
Then the spectator will see that though the artist has properly used
blue in the snow, he has done it with discernment and moderation and
in a way that brings out the luminous lights which he has introduced.
This can scarcely be said of the "Winter Camouflage" by
Arthur Lismer with its deep blue snow and
extremely green river. Both the green and the blue are exceedingly
beautiful hues and regarded merely as colors they may be looked at
with joy. Nor need the critic complain that he has never seen snow
or water look exactly like that which the artist has portrayed, since
the painter is at liberty to interpret nature as he will, say to use
nature merely as a suggestion or a hint. Given this licence, the question
is: Does the picture harmonize with its own scheme of color and
composition? The popular answer to this question will probably be in
the negative, and even to many of those who love new departures the work
will appear to be a more or less unsuccessful experiment. Not even
being legitimately ranged under the blessed work "decorative". The fact
is that this term has been worked nearly to death so as greatly to
bewilder ordinary people.
There are two pictures by Wm. Brymner, R.C.A., of very diverse character,
but both showing great skill and power. One of them is entitled "Evening",
an upright oil painting in which there are massive trees that have a sort
of solid majesty and repose about them. They are the age-old guardians of
a rustic home and the picture is full of a feeling for nature. Mr. Brymner's
other picture is of Venice - a water color with a bridge in it and
buildings - a most harmonious and satisfactory piece of work.
Mary Riter Hamilton comes out well in her picture
"Les Sacrifices" - a girl with geese who is apparently saddened by the
thought of their prospective fate. In harmonious tone and drawing this
picture attains a large measure of success.
Mr. W.P. Weston of Vancouver, a competent
exponent of art, and a painter of much imaginative power, shows at his
best in his fine breezy picture entitled "November". Simple in composition
and powerful in treatment, this work bears the mark of artistic inspiration.
It took the fancy of the editor of the "Studio" when it was first
exhibited, and a reproduction of it appeared in the pages of that emininent
London periodical of contemporary art.
Of a different character, and representing the traditions of the Flemish
school, "The Paddler" by H. Ten-Kats (sp.?), will bear a close inspection.
Its many sixteenth century figures are admirably drawn and painted. The interior
is probably that of a tavern, and various types of guests are somewhat
contemptuously observing a Jew peddler who is humbly showing his goods.
It is all straight and very clever painting, with no sort of camouflage
about it - it combines invention, color-knowledge and craftsmanship.
Wyly Grier, R.C.A. is represented by a painting of a keen-looking young
man, who, on the label - too high up to be read - is described as the
"master" of something - perhaps a ship. It is a portrait of much vitality,
and stands out aggressively among adjacent landscapes.
SOME LOCAL WORK.
Among local artists, Mr. H.J. de Forest, a
representative of the older school of painting, and a worthy pioneer for
many years in the cause of art in Vancouver, is seen to advantage in his
fine picture of Mount Robson. Mr. de Forest is familiar with our
British Columbia Alpine landscape; he has a good sense of color and a sincere
method of work. In this picture of the great mountain, its snowy crest
contrasted with the dark cloud behind it, the painter not only gives us
a topographical portrayal, but a picture which is rich in detail and
suffused with color. He is no more stereotyped in style than many of the
painters who have essayed to give us transcripts of British Columbia
scenery, and his picture will live when those of many less careful
paint-(?) have been forgotten.
The work of a painter of mountains in another medium is seen in the masterly
water-colors of Mr. Tom Fripp, who carries out and
improves upon the traditions of the Royal Watercolor Society of England,
of which his father was a distinguished member. There is a delicacy and
refinement in Mr. Fripp's method, combined with a poetic sense of the
grandeur of his subjects, which make his work very attractive, and the
examples which he shows in the present exhibition can not fail to arrest
the beholder by their marvellous execution and finish. Of a different
style of water-color, but representing easy and clean technique, are
two pictures by Mr. Turner, the English artist. Mr. R.F. Gagen of Toronto
is the painter of an upright water-color, showing mountains and a bridge
over a stream - a very satisfactory piece of work.
Kate A. Smith (Mrs. Frank Hoole), a local animal
painter of distinction, has a picture of three plough-horses in a stubble
field resting from their labors, along with their two drivers. This is a
solid and clever painting, the lighting and drawing of which indicate much
skill and good handling. The same may be said of her lively painting of
chickens, which is in every respect pleasing and sincere. There is a pastel
head of a girl by C.H. Scott which has been
much admired. Though a small
picture it is full of life and expression. The big trees and "Autumn" of
Miss Grace Judge are good examples of this
painstaking and improving artist. Mr. Charles G.
Ferguson touches a high mark in his water-color of buildings by moonlight.
Ivor Williams verges on a (?) impressionism
in his pastel of a forest scene.
It is however impossible within the limits of a short article to treat
of every picture in this important and interesting exhibition in which
New Westminster has put itself on the artistic map of the country. The
R.A. and I.S. (sp?) has been very fortunate in having the assistance
of a committee. The (stressful?) nature of whose work only those can
estimate who have had exertions of this particular nature avenue of
helpfullness. Two members of this committee exhibit (?)
paintings of their own - Mr. Stanley Tytler and
Mr. J.R. Wilson, the (?). The former shows two
broadly painted pictures in all, one of Burrard Inlet, Vancouver, and the
other a representation of the driftwood on (?) bluff at Comox - a difficult
(?) (?) cleverly treated. Mr. Wilson has (?) small oil picture which
show he has benefitted by Old Country (?), and has a good sense of what
a picture should be.