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


Vol. XI (combined) (1988)


Le Précis D'Architecture de Jérôme Demers
un théorie déchirée

translated summary:
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.

Georges Théodore Berthon (1806–92)
Portraiture, Patronage, and Criticism in Nineteenth-Century Toronto

George Theodore Berthon arrived in Toronto late in 1844 and his business card appeared in local newspapers in January of the following year:


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.

L'Odysée de deux anges volants du Musée du Québec
un cas de recherche en sculpture ancienne

translated summary:
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 au Canada, 1928–1944
contribution d'un critique d'art américain au discours canadien en faveur de l'intégration sociale de l'art

translated summary:
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

Canadian Artist Copyists at the National Gallery, London

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.


Robes of Power: Totem Poles on Cloth
Doreen Jensen, Polly Sargent

The Canadian Art Club, 1907–1915
Robert J. Lamb

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.

L'architecture des églises du Québec 1940–1985
Claude Bergeron

Paterson Ewen: The Montreal Years • Paterson Ewen: Painting 1971–1987 • Phenomena
Matthew Teitelbaum • Philip Monk

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.