William Brymner., Border of the Forest at Fontainebleau, 1885.

Lilias Torrance Newton, Still Life with Lilies, 1940.

William Brymner: Artist, Teacher, Colleague

How did an artist from a small Scottish town become a major influence on important Canadian artists like A.Y. Jackson, Maurice Cullen, and James Wilson Morrice? How did he become the core of a creative milieu that made Montreal the undisputed hub of Canadian art in the first decade of the 20th century? And what were his ties to the WAG?

Born in Scotland, raised in rural Quebec, and spending his formative years in Ottawa, William Brymner (1855-1925) went on to forge a significant international career. By the late-1870s he was studying and painting in Europe, and exhibiting in the French Salon in the 1880s. He delivered one of the earliest lectures in Canada supporting Impressionist painting in 1897.

Once settled in Montréal, Brymner became the core of a creative milieu that made that city the undisputed hub of Canadian art in the first decade of the 20th century. He taught some of Canada’s best-known artists who, under his example, were the first sizeable generation of Canadian artists to study abroad and to advocate for the purchase of Canadian art by collectors and galleries. Brymner’s connection to the WAG goes back to the Gallery’s inaugural exhibition in December 1912. As President of the Royal Canadian Academy (RCA), Brymner oversaw and contributed to a display of RCA work at the WAG (then known as the Winnipeg Museum of Fine Art).

William Brymner: Artist, Teacher, Colleague comprises 60 works by Brymner, as well as by peers including Horatio Walker, Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté, James Wilson Morrice, and Maurice Cullen, and pupils such as Clarence Gagnon, A.Y. Jackson, Edwin Holgate, Lilias Torrance Newton, and Sarah Robertson. It is remarkable that so many distinguished Canadian artists emerged from his classrooms. His openness to new movements and propensity to experiment informed both his painting and his pedagogy.

A 200-page exhibition catalogue is available, fully illustrated with archival photographs and colour reproductions of all the works in the exhibition, with contributing essays by Paul Maréchal, Alicia Boutilier, Hélène Sicotte, and Lydia Bouchard.

This exhibition is organized and toured by the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University, Kingston, with the co-operation of Power Corporation of Canada and a contribution from the Museums Assistance Program, Department of Canadian Heritage.

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Related Programs & Events

Past Programs & Events

  • Members' Preview

    Special membere's preview of William Brymner: Artist, Teacher, Colleage and Quilt of Belonging.

    Thursday, May 19, 2011 from 11am to 5pm

  • Building Corporate Art Collections: The Inside Track

    Paul Marechal, Curator of the Art Collection of the Power Corporation of Canada, and co-curator of the exhibition William Brymner: Artist, Teacher, Colleague, will speak on the significance of corporate art collections to Canada's art scene.

    Thursday, May 19, 2011 from 7pm to 8pm

  • Public Opening

    Free public opening of William Brymner: Artist, Teacher, Colleague and Quilt of Belonging.

    Thursday, May 19, 2011 from 8pm to 10pm

  • Art for Lunch - Exhibition Tour

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011 from 12:10pm to 1pm


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