E. Prudence Heward
Farmer's Daughter, c. 1938
oil on canvas
66.6 x 66.5 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift from the Estate of Prudence Heward
Prudence Heward was a central player in the revival of figure painting in the 1930s. She was a member of the Beaver Hall Group and studied in Montreal with William Brymner and Maurice Cullen, and then later in France. She is best known for her dignified and psychologically intense portraits of children and nudes, often portrayed in landscape settings. The youthful subject in Farmer’s Daughter is most likely a family friend or relative. She stares back at the viewer with unsentimental stoicism, set against an agrarian landscape of southern Ontario. Brought together in a composition balanced by uniform brushwork and tone, the figure and landscape provide an apt metaphor of the inextricable link between human sustenance and the labour of farming.