Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald, Summer Afternoon, The Prairie, 1921, oil on canvas. Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, L-90.

Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald, The Hudson River, n.d. oil on burlap 50.6 x 40.9 cm Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift from the Estate of Arnold O. Brigden G-73-328

L.L. FitzGerald’s Impressionist Decade, 1910-1920

This exhibition features work by Manitoba artist Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald (1890-1956) that he created  during the first decade of his professional career, including figure studies, industrial scenes, and landscapes—paintings, drawings, and prints.

FitzGerald did not study fine art in Europe, rarely straying from his home province. Nonetheless, between 1910 and 1920, he displayed a certain debt to late-nineteenth century French painters like Monet, Renoir, and Pissarro, who sought to record with honest immediacy the effects of light and atmosphere.

Originally encountering Impressionism in art magazines at Winnipeg’s first public library, FitzGerald likely saw American Impressionist canvases for the first time in 1910 at the Art Institute of Chicago. His first sustained encounter with Canadian Impressionism came after the opening of the Winnipeg Museum of Fine Arts (today the Winnipeg Art Gallery) in 1912, which often displayed canvases by eastern artists like M.A. Suzor-Côté, Clarence Gagnon, and Maurice Cullen.

By decade’s end, gleaming canvases like Summer Afternoon, the Prairies mark the culmination of FitzGerald’s Impressionist period. L.L. FitzGerald’s Impressionist Decade, 1910-1920 reveals the artist’s deep interest in creating vivid and direct records of light and changing weather, and the fact that his  efforts were largely home grown only adds weight to what he accomplished.


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