Jérôme Demers a rédigé son Précis d'architecture à Québec en 1828. Ce texte, qui était un cours d'introduction à l'architecture dispensé aux élèves du Séminaire de Québec, est essentiel à la compréhension de l'architecture québécoise de la première moitié du dix-neuvième siècle. En effet, le Précis révèle la pensée théorique de celui qui a supervisé la construction des églises de la région de Québec pendant presque trente ans, qui a efficacement promu l'architecte Thomas Baillairgé et qui a tracé les plans de quelques bâtiments importants au Québec.
Jerome Demers' Precis d'architecture
A Troubled Theory
Jerome Demers wrote his Precis d'architecture in Quebec City in 1828. The text, derived in large measure from Jacques-François Blondel's Cours d'architecture, reveals the theoretical notions of a man who supervised the construction of churches in the Quebec region for nearly thirty years. As well he effectively promoted the career of architect Thomas Baillairgé and drew the plans for a number of important Quebec buildings.
George Theodore Berthon arrived in Toronto late in 1844 and his business card appeared in local newspapers in January of the following year:
WELLINGTON LATE MARKET ST. TORONTO
The artist is said to have introduced himself to the Anglican Bishop of Toronto, John Strachan, by means of a letter from his former employer, Sir Robert Peel, who was then British Prime Minister. Whether or not such a letter was instrumental, client contacts were established quickly and the portraitist was able to move into a house at 10 William Street in April, just three months after his first advertisement appeared.
C'est lors de la grande rétrospective The Arts of French Canada 1613–1870, tenue à Détroit en 1946, que deux splendides anges volants du Musée du Québec entrent dans l'historiographie de la sculpture canadienne. Jusqu'à tout récemment, on ne connaissait de ces anges sculptés que leur plus illustre propriétaire, l'ethnologue Marius Barbeau. Ce dernier avait acheté ces fragments, vers 1925, du sculpteur Joseph Villeneuve, de Saint-Romuald, pour ensuite les revendre, en 1937, au Musée de la Province. Ni signées, ni datées, les deux oeuvres ont retenu l'attention des historiens de l'art en soulevant, au fil des années, bien des interrogations et bien des hypothèses. De nouvelles recherches ont permis des découvertes étonnantes quant à leur provenance, leur auteur, leur date d'exécution et leur fonction première.
The Odyssey of Two Flying Angels From the Musée du Québec
A Research Project in Early Sculpture
It was during The Arts of French Canada 1613–1870, a retrospective held in Detroit in 1946, that two splendid flying angels from the Musée du Québec entered into the historiography of Canadian sculpture. Neither signed nor dated, the two works have since then gained the attention of several art historians. Over the the years many hypotheses have been advanced as to their origin, their creator, their date of execution and their primary function. The discovery of new documents has enabled us to delve deeper into this matter and to re-examine a decorative and iconographic theme prevalent in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Walter Abell, critique d'art d'origine américain, établi au Canada à partir de 1928, peut être considéré comme l'une des figures importantes de la scène de l'art canadien des années trente et quarante. Membre fondateur, en 1935, de la "Maritime Art Association" et, en 1940, du périodique Maritime Art, Walter Abell a, par ce biais, joué un rôle déterminant dans la mise sur pied de Canadian Art, première publication pan-canadienne à vocation essentiellement artistique, qui prend la relève de Maritime Art, en octobre 1943, et se maintient jusqu'à nos jours.
Critique d'art favorable à une ouverture aux courants internationaux, Walter Abell propose une esthétique qui valorise la forme plastique et l'expression subjective de l'artiste. Il se fait, également, le promoteur d'un art socialement intégré, basant son discours et sa pratique sur une théorie de l'art et de la culture fondée sur le réformisme démocratique et le progrès social.
Walter Abell in Canada, 1928–1944
Contribution of an American Art Critic Towards the Social Integration of Art
Walter Abell, art teacher, aesthetician and critic, may be considered one of the major figures in the Canadian art world of the thirties and forties. Born in the United States, he received a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to teach at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Throughout his sixteen years in Canada, Abell was an active participant in the promotion of the visual arts and art education, first in the Maritimes, then in Quebec and Ontario. In 1935, he co-founded the Maritime Art Association, a co-operative enterprise of local associations for the support of the arts. In 1940, he became involved in the publication of Maritime Art; the first Canadian magazine devoted exclusively to the visual arts. From this regional experiment Canadian Art was born in 1943; its mandate was henceforth national. Abell was active on the editorial boards of both magazines and presented, in some twenty feature articles, his views on the situation and the development of the arts in Canada.
Notes and Commentary
The archive of the National Gallery in London contains a collection of record books of artists and art students who were given permission to copy works in the Gallery collection. The addresses, personal references and other information found in these records may be used to supplement biographical studies of British artists and students, as well as of those from other countries who studied or lived in Britain. Research has already been published about Canadian artists who were permitted to copy pictures in the Louvre. The present article summarizes the first attempt at a systematic study of National Gallery copyists working before the end of the Second World War who were either Canadian or British North American citizens or foreign nationals who had some connection with Canada.
Histories of the institutional structures that have helped shape the development of art in this country have been slow to appear. Until the late 1970's, there were few attempts to document (let alone to critique) the societies, galleries, academies and arts boards through which the institutionalization of art has taken place since Confederation. Instead, historians preferred to direct their attention to the preparation of monographs and general surveys. This reluctance to tackle institutional histories finally broke down only in 1979, with the appearance of Dennis Reid's Our Own Country Canada. The book, written to accompany an exhibition of the same name bearing the subtitle "An Account of the National Aspirations of the Principal Landscape Artists in Montréal and Toronto, 1860–1890," was a tour de force , an accumulation of primary documentation mobilized in the interest of explaining points of connection between Canadian expansionism, the nation's incipient arts organizations, and landscape painting. It was followed a year later by an exhibition, organized by Charles C. Hill, on the founding in 1880 of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and the National Gallery of Canada. Then by a book on the R.C.A. by Rebecca Sisler. And so on. The 1980's seem to have been a decade for institutional art histories.
Although these two very different treatments of Paterson Ewen do complement each other to some degree, taken together they do not form a definitive text on this remarkable artist. Both catalogues are serious, scholarly works and reflect much thought on the part of their respective authors, but neither conveys nor reflects the tremendous passion and power of Paterson Ewen's art. One still has to go back to Doris Shadbolt's 1977 Vancouver Art Gallery catalogue to read an essay about Ewen which strikes the appropriate tone. Given the continuing interest in Ewen's production, however, it seems likely there will be more publications on him to come, and neither of these current catalogues bears the heavy burden of being the last word on this unique artist.