Saturday, 22 December 2012


During the holiday season we are often reminded of longstanding seasonal traditions. This often brings forth the nostalgia for the seemingly quaint and ideal ways of the past. In Canada, thoughts of the comings and goings of a peaceful snow covered pastoral countryside or village are evoked nationwide. Nothing symbolizes this better than the iconic horse-drawn sleigh, which is fitting imagery to represent the cold Canadian yuletide. It is seen on greeting cards, flyers and posters, and turned into three-dimensional Christmas decorations. However, the horse-drawn sleigh has also become a celebrated and desirable theme within the history of Canadian art. Early ideas of nationalism in Canadian landscape art have cultivated the wintertime as favoured subject matter; and the horse-drawn sleigh is frequently present. Particularly in Quebec, the horse-drawn sleigh is a paramount feature in the work of the region’s most renowned local and visiting artists.

Many charming historical works that incorporate a horse-drawn sleigh can be found in major Canadian public institutions. Examples from both the 19th and 20th century exemplify the enduring prevalence of the subject matter over time. A mid-19th century work by Robert Clow Todd illustrates a favoured Quebecois subject The Ice Cone, Montmorency Falls, Quebec and depicts numerous horse-drawn sleighs in both the foreground and background of the work. Also active in the mid-19th century was well-known artist Cornelius Krieghoff, whom frequently included the sleigh in his genre paintings, such as The Toll Gate, 1861 and Sleigh Scene, Winter, Quebec, 1867. Working slightly later but still within a traditional style was Frederick Coburn; who painted horse-drawn sleighs and carts almost exclusively.

Into the early twentieth century, Canadian Impressionists such as James Wilson Morrice, Maurice Cullen and particularly Clarence Gagnon were known to have placed sleighs amongst their impressionistic depictions of wintery Quebec. Two charming examples by Morrice from circa 1909 The Old Holton House and 1910 Quebec Farmhouse can be found in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Group of Seven member A.Y. Jackson is know for including horses pulling a sleigh along the paths of his Quebec country village scenes. This is clear in numerous major canvases of Jackson’s in public institutions, such as Winter, Quebec

from 1926 in the National Gallery. Although Jackson is well-known for his inclusion of the sleigh in his winter scenes, he is not the only Group of Seven member to depict them. There is a quaint winter scene by Lawren Harris entitled Red Sleigh, House, Winter from 1919 at McGill University. This work perfectly captures the aura of bygone holiday seasons.

Highlights at Masters Gallery in Calgary from the past year include Cornelius Krieghoff’s Canadiens Preparing for Town and Clarence Gagnon’s A Laurentian Homestead, Les Eboulements.

By: Jill Turner

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Check out the Vancouver Sun's ARTICLE about our show Richard Henry Trueman: Photographer of the West! And don't forget to stop by

Friday, 7 December 2012



Masters Gallery introduces Richard Henry Trueman: Photographer of the West this December! Historical photography sits on the boundary between art history and history. The creative worth of Western Canadian historical photographs is often overlooked in favour of fine art mediums such as oil painting or watercolour. Perhaps this is because historical photographs occupy a nebulous place between artwork and artifact. Perhaps it is in part because they are not perceived as having been created under the same romantic notions of time consuming outdoor hardships that are bestowed upon artists sketching en plein air. However, at that time the process of creating photographs of such ingenious clarity would have been challenging indeed. Trueman would have hauled his equipment into remote mountainous terrain, not unlike artists with their sketchbooks. Producing high quality photographs at the turn of the century shares little akin to the infinite snapshots produced with a digital camera. Whatever perceptions of early photography there may be, there is no doubt that the work of Richard Henry Trueman and his professional contemporaries is both artistic and historically enlightening. Historians, art historians, curators, archivists and a growing number of collectors have not overlooked historical photography of Western Canada. Historical photography of Western Canada has been featured in scholarly literature and exhibition catalogues. Recent publications that have included historical photography of Western Canada have been deemed integral to the understanding of 19th century and early 20th century exploration and perceptions of British Columbia. As well, these publications have integrated historical photography with other fine art, creating artistic comparisons with other contemporaneous two-dimensional mediums such as watercolour, pencil, ink and oil paintings. Some of the recent shows and literature to include historical photography have been Vistas: Artists on the Canadian Pacific Railway, an companion to the exhibition organized by the Glenbow Museum, Calgary, 2009 by specialist Roger Boulet. Another from a major exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery was Expanding Horizons: Paintings and Photography of American and Canadian landscapes 1860-1918. Most recently Nancy Townsend has published Art Inspired by the Canadian Rockies, Purcell Mountains, and Selkirk Mountains 1809-2012. Canada Council for the Arts: Bayeux Arts Inc., 2012. Masters Gallery Calgary had the pleasure of hosting a book launch for Townsend’s book this December 1st. Townsend’s book devotes an entire chapter to the work of Richard Henry Trueman.

By: Jill Turner

Wednesday, 14 November 2012



Masters Gallery Vancouver is pleased to be hosting an exhibition and sale of H.G. Glyde’s West Coast work from November 17th until December 1st.

Masters Gallery has had a long-established rapport with the work of Henry George Glyde. This started with Peter Ohler Sr. in Vancouver in the 1960s, and carried forward at Masters Gallery Calgary into the 1990s and onwards. In April of 2010, Masters Gallery Calgary held an exhibition and sale that celebrated the artist’s life.

A number of years after Peter Ohler Sr.’s first encounter with H.G. Glyde on Pender Island, he reflected back on his experience meeting H.G. Glyde at his Gulf Island residence in an enlightening article for Golden West magazine’s 1977 fall issue. The article is an excellent means for understanding the context in which the works featured in the exhibition Islands and Channels were conceived:

Ohler remarked that upon arriving by ferry to quiet and peaceful Pender Island, he thought, “what a perfect environment for an artist.” He had been trying to locate the artist for ages, but had been searching in Alberta. It was not until some collector’s of Glyde’s work kindly pointed him in the right direction, did Ohler realize that Glyde was no longer in Alberta, but rather could be found in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia.

In the article, Ohler gives a descriptive account of his visit and interaction with Mr. and Mrs. Glyde, and gives a telling description of the Glyde property and the artist’s studio. Giving insight into Glyde’s artistic inspiration on the West Coast. The following is an extract from the Golden West article:

Behind the lovely, rustic house was Glyde’s studio. Nestled in the tall trees fulfilling all and every romantic concept of what an artist’s studio should look like. And down the path, with what I’ve now come to know as the perpetual pipe in his mouth, came H.G. Glyde. At 67 years of age he looked more 50. Relaxed. Confident in his walk and life in his eyes and smile that radiated strength and assurance. His handshake too was firm and yet gentle. I relaxed immediately as I sensed here was a man with no pretension and who expected no homage.

As we sat down to tea and biscuits and talk, I noticed over Glyde’s shoulder a very strong painting by A.Y. Jackson. Glyde said that Jackson had given him the painting after they had worked together on a National Gallery commission in 1943 making studies of the Alaska Highway. I listened to Glyde relate his experiences and relationships with many of Canada’s truly great artists. Mrs. Glyde often added a detail here and took one out there and I enjoyed the stories and atmosphere to the fullest.

Time to go came far to quickly, but the ferry was due soon on its last visit of the day. Glyde and I walked up the path to his studio. The sun illuminated patches of fern and under-growth through the trees. Inside the orderly studio Glyde showed me a few things he had just completed. He gathered up some sketches, mostly figure studies, which he seemed particularly fond of. His recent oils of the Gulf Islands and Interior of B.C. showed a masterful sense of composition and draughtsmanship. His warm colours and rhythmic lines pleased me a great deal…

Friday, 26 October 2012

Welcome to the Masters Gallery Vancouver Blogspot!

Over the last 35 years, Masters Gallery has developed an important presence on the Calgary art scene, with a tradition of selling the highest quality Canadian art. This past year we have moved westward, establishing ourselves in Vancouver. It is Masters Gallery’s first autumn season in Vancouver, and we are pleased to be hosting a show that features first class examples of art that we have had the pleasure in dealing with, as well as show off some noteworthy new acquisitions. The show features works by Group of Seven members Lawren Harris, J.E.H. MacDonald, A.J. Casson, Frank Johnston,Franklin Carmichael and Arthur Lismer, as well as Edwin Holgate, Emily Carr, and Tom Thomson. The show runs from October 26th-November 6th. Over the next few months we will be having a series of exhibitions that are ideally suited for British Columbia! On November 10th through 20th we will be exhibiting H.G. Glyde’s west coast subject matter Islands and Channels: the West Coast work of H.G. Glyde, and in December we will be having an informative show featuring late 19th and early 20th century photographs of Vancouver and British Columbia, R.H. Trueman: Photographer of the West. Please check back soon, as we hope to keep you informed about what’s going on at Masters Gallery Vancouver.