One of the problems associated with the design of banking halls has been the expression of this space on the exterior of bank buildings. The banking hall is the major public space in which business is transacted. In spite of the central importance of the banking hall as the heart and soul of the banking process, it has been the practice, historically, for the banking hall to be ensconced within the confines of a residential or commercial building. My topic then, is the physical and symbolic relationship of the banking hall to a larger encompassing structure. This will be seen through two designs of vastly different scale and separated by over one hundred years, which provide surprisingly similar solutions.
Olindo Gratton and Louis-Philippe Hébert
A Professional Relationship Between Two Late Nineteenth-Century Sculptors
Joseph-Olindo Gratton (1855–1941) worked in the Montreal area for more than 60 years as a sculptor of statues and ornamental works, primarily in wood. Although he specialized in religious works, he was one of the first French-Canadian sculptors to concurrently solicit commissions in bronze for commemorative secular works.
For over forty years Goodridge Roberts (1904–74) has occupied a prominent position in the fabric of Canadian art history. Yet despite the great attention paid to his work, only a few lines have been devoted to his years in New York. While Roberts readily acknowledged that this was the most profound experience of his life, others have treated that period primarily as a matter of biographical fact. The reason for this scant attention may be the lack of work available from those years, 1927 and 1928. While a few drawings in the artist's estate could be attributed to this period, the works are undated and because of the consistency of Roberts' hand, they may be best considered "early" examples.
At the end of 1913, a major exhibition of the work of Clarence Gagnon (1881-1942), the Québec landscape artist, was held at the Galerie A.M. Reitlinger, 12 rue la Boëtie, in Paris. In this, the first substantia] exhibition in Gagnon's career, about eighty works were displayed including graphic prints, landscapes of European subjects and over fifty oil paintings of the Canadian landscape. Gagnon's exhibition was reviewed widely and enthusiastically in the French press. The Canadian landscapes received the most attention for the beauty and serenity of the imagery the rural areas of Québec blanketed in snow; the depiction of everyday life in French Canada; and the delicate treatment of light and atmosphere all received praise. At home in Canada, the Montréal papers printed résumés of the favourable critical reception to Gagnon's exhibition, taking pride in the success of a Canadian artist in Paris, the acknowledged centre of the Western art world in 1913.
It is an understatement to say that industrial themes have been ignored by art historians. With the exceptions of Francis Klingender's classic Art and the Industrial Revolution (1947) and a handful of other works (mostly monographs), one would be hard-pressed to identify any significant contributions to the subject. This attitude has not been so generally true of the artists themselves, some of whom (such as Charles Sheeler and Adrien Hébert) owe much of their popularity and historical importance to their interests in the formal, the narrative or the psychological implications of industrial or production-related subjects.