Journal of Canadian Art History / Annales d'histoire de l'art canadien

Archive of past issues

Vol. XXXII:2 (2011)

Editorial

Martha Langford

Children of the Cold War era know this expression: the longest undefended border in the world. It may no longer feel that way, as we file shoeless between stanchions in airport lines or sit in our cars inhaling fumes from the tailpipes of others, but the border between Canada and the United States used to be something rather more notional; in some parts of the continent it was an arbitrary line, easily crossed.

Articles

Looking North

Views of Canada Published in the United States

Georgia B. Barnhill

Although there is now a political boundary between the United States and Canada, their shared colonial history likely created the interest in Canadian urban and landscape views among eighteenth- and nineteenth-century residents of what is now the United States. Today, the two nations have much in common; they share a language, similar educational systems, networks of professional sports teams, and environmental concerns that transcend that political border. In New England, it is not uncommon for families to have Canadian branches. In spite of the political division that ensued after the American Revolution, historic, aesthetic, and commercial interests resulted in a large number of printed views of Canada made in the United States. Clearly, residents of the United States were fascinated with the landscape and urban centres of Canada, and tourists still travel north for the same reasons. As we shall see, both historical allusions and the magnetic scenery were behind the creation of many Canadian views by Americans.

Les autoreprésentations de l'artiste huron-wendat Zacharie Vincent (1815–1886)

icônes d'une gloire politique et spirituelle

Louise Vigneault, Isabelle Masse

En 1838, Antoine Plamondon réalise Le Dernier des Hurons, un portrait du chef Zacharie Vincent (1815–1886) reconnu, à l'époque, comme l'ultime représentant de « race pure » de la Nation huronne-wendat. Dans un article consacré à l'œuvre, François-Marc Gagnon a suggéré qu'elle constituait alors une allusion indirecte aux enjeux de survivance de la communauté francophone soumise à la domination britannique. Dans ce contexte, Vincent devenait le modèle tout désigné pour incarner la perte d'autonomie politique et la fragilisation des cultures minoritaires. Quelques années plus tard, celui-ci entame, en guise de réplique, une série d'autoportraits. En s'appropriant le dispositif occidental de la peinture illusionniste et en engageant un rapport dialogique avec les œuvres à thématique autochtone réalisées notamment par Antoine Plamondon (ca. 1804–1895), Cornelius Krieghoff (1815–1872), Théophile (1817–1870) et Eugène Hamel (1845–1932), l'artiste huron trouvera un moyen efficace de se réapproprier le contrôle de son image. Cette manœuvre lui permettra du même coup de réviser le discours alarmiste associé au sort de la communauté huronne de Lorette et de traduire la manière dont cette dernière a réussi à articuler son héritage et sa réalité contemporaine.

translated summary:

The Self-Representations of the Huron-Wendat Artist Zacharie Vincent (1815–1886)

Icons of Political and Spiritual Pride

From the 1850s to the 1880s the Huron-Wendat chief Zacharie Vincent (1815–1886) executed hundreds of drawings and paintings aimed at a public composed of visitors to the village of Jeune-Lorette (near Quebec City), British soldiers on leave and members of the political elite. These works were created as a response to the art works on Aboriginal themes so popular at the time among some French-Canadian nationalists – an attraction due in part to this group's identification with other minorities threatened with acculturation and extinction. By employing the language of academic painting and assuming the identity of an "easel painter," Vincent was striving to reappropriate control of his own image and that of his community. It was an approach that allowed him both to rectify the prevailing alarmist discourse concerning the fate of the Huron-Wendat community and to assert an identity that integrated into the Wendat heritage a number of non-Aboriginal elements. In his modernization of the image of the Huron subject, Vincent revealed aspects of the cultural mixing that would ensure the community's renewal and survival.

Mariette Rousseau-Vermette

Journey of a Painter-weaver from the 1940s through the 1960s

Anne Newlands

When the internationally renowned Quebec artist Mariette Rousseau- Vermette (1926–2006) died in 2006 at the age of seventy-nine, she left behind a rich production of over 640 tapestries, many of which were created for prestigious commissions, such as the National Arts Centre, Ottawa (1968); the Eisenhower Theatre, John F. Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C. (1971); Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto (1981); and the headquarters of Imperial Tobacco, Montreal (2002). Rousseau-Vermette exhibited widely throughout her career; she received prizes and honours, including Officer of the Order of Canada (1976); her work is also represented in public collections nationally and internationally. Despite this recognition, little has been written about her beginnings as an artist, the development of her identity as a painter-weaver, and the early years of her success as a modernist artist.

Essays

Two Patrons, An Exhibition, and a Scrapbook

The Lawren Harris–Georgia O'Keeffe Connection, 1925–1926

Sara J. Angel

In the spring of 1938, Lawren S. Harris (1885–1970) and his second wife, Bess, drove more than 3,000 kilometres through ten states and over half the North American continent to relocate in Santa Fe, a sand-blown city renowned for its ethereal light and mystic landscapes. The couple made the move from Hanover, New Hampshire, where they had lived for four years after leaving Toronto in 1934.

The Harrises' relocation is an event that has been chronicled as happenstance: the couple arrived in the Southwestern city while on a motor holiday and liked it so much they decided to stay. This account, however, seems unlikely. Aside from the extensive distance that the pair drove to reach their new home – much more an epic journey than a leisurely jaunt – it is hard to imagine that Harris, a man whose life was characterized by precise planning and actions, would have commenced such an ambitious expedition without a fixed destination. This paper explores what was arguably a key motivating factor behind the Harrises' move to the Southwest: his interest in the American painter Georgia O'Keeffe (1887–1986), who from 1929 onward lived part of every year in Abiquiú, just outside of Santa Fe, as one of the area's most celebrated residents.

Reflections

The Canadian Women Artists History Initiative

Kristina Huneault

The Canadian Women Artists History Initiative (cwahi ) has launched its second database for researchers. Now, in addition to its artists' database, which offers short biographical and extensive bibliographical information on women artists in Canada born prior to 1925, scholars may consult Canadian Exhibition Reviews Online: an open-access full-text resource that provides searchable coverage of reviews of the annual exhibitions of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, the Ontario Society of Artists, and the Art Association of Montreal, from 1873 to 1940. A collaborative project, undertaken in partnership with the National Gallery of Canada, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and Concordia University, the still-expanding database indexes all artists, male and female, who exhibited with the societies. Thus, while it is anticipated that this resource will be particularly valuable to those researching women artists, on whom published information is often so very sparse, the database is also intended to meet the broader needs of the Canadian art history community as a whole.

translated summary:

Le Réseau d'étude sur l'histoire des artistes canadiennes

Le Réseau d'étude sur l'histoire des artistes canadiennes (rehac ) vient de lancer sa deuxième base de données pour la recherche. En plus de sa base de données sur les artistes, qui présente une courte biographie et une bibliographie complète sur les femmes artistes actives au Canada nées avant 1925, les chercheurs peuvent maintenant consulter les Comptes rendus d'expositions canadiennes en ligne : ressource de recherche en libre accès de l'intégralité des textes des recensions des expositions annuelles de la Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, de l'Ontario Society of Artists et de la Art Association of Montreal, de 1873 à 1940. Créée en partenariat avec le Musée des beaux-arts du Canada, le Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal et l'Université Concordia, cette base de données, en croissance constante, répertorie tous les artistes, hommes et femmes, qui ont exposé avec ces sociétés. Ainsi, bien que l'on s'attende à ce que cet outil soit particulièrement utile à ceux qui font des recherches sur les femmes artistes, à propos desquelles on a publié très peu d'informations, la base de données pourra aussi répondre aux besoins de l'ensemble des historiens de l'art canadien.

Reviews

Picturing the Land: Narrating Territories in Canadian Landscape Art, 1500–1950

Marylin J. McKay

Karen Stanworth

In Picturing the Land, Marylin McKay has achieved the ambitious and laudatory goal of re-presenting Canadian landscape art by arguing that it is embedded in Western visual culture yet also specific to the territories and moments depicted. Working from an understanding of representation as a process of mediation, McKay offers alternative ways to comprehend landscape images in relation to contemporaneous discourses about the land. While she modestly claims that she does not provide a complete account of Canadian landscape, she takes the reader on a remarkable journey from sixteenth- and seventeenth-century "art-maps" of French and English Canada to modernist landscapes of the mid-twentieth century.