The Art Gallery of l'Université Laval 1875–1910
The Art Collections of the Séminaire de Québec in the Nineteenth Century: Their Role and Justification
The art collections of the Séminaire de Québec in the nineteenth century responded to a particular educational orientation. The imitation and study of examples of fine art were considered essential to training both taste and thought. Their pedagogical value constituted the primary impetus behind the development of collections in the mid-nineteenth century and specifically the creation of an art gallery at the Université Laval in 1875. We know little of the early days of art collecting in Quebec and its slow evolution during the seventeenth and eighteenth-centuries. The archives record only a few commissions, mostly portraits of the early Fathers Superior. These paintings were hung throughout the Seminary, in priests' rooms, in corridors and in the chapel as devotional decorative objects for contemplation.
Between 1919 and 1924 the Toronto, Montréal and Ottawa public had the opportunity to view the "home work section" of the Canadian War Memorials Fund (C.W.M.F.) art collection. Established in 1916, the Fund was initiated by Sir Max Aitken (later Lord Beaverbrook), acting in his capacity as Officer in Charge of War Records. Under the guidance of British art critic Paul Konody and National Gallery of Canada director Eric Brown, Aitken commissioned artworks by leading British and Canadian artists for the purpose of providing "suitable Memorials in the form of Tablets, Oil Paintings, etc. to the Canadian Heroes and Heroines of the War." The "home work section" of the collection was a memorial to civilians' home front contributions to the war effort. Among the works exhibited was a series of bronze statuettes by Frances Loring (1887–1968) and Florence Wyle (1881–1968), representing industrial and agricultural war workers. The works are unique among early twentieth-century Canadian sculptures, both for their subject matter and the vision of women they present; eleven of the fifteen bronzes are of women. Like other representations of women produced at this time, Loring's and Wyle's figures form part of the signifying systems through which the designations "Woman" and "femininity" were constructed during the war years.
Philippe Hébert's Un duel and its Variants
Un duel is an example of the many smaller works by Louis-Philippe Hébert (1850–1917), one of Canada's best-known monumental sculptors. This bronze group is the initial casting of several taken from the same mold and was acquired in 1988 by the Canadian War Museum where it is on permanent exhibit in the New France gallery. Additionally, a preliminary plaster model of about 1886 has survived (at the University of Ottawa, Centre for Research on French Canadian Culture) and in 1900 Hébert created a life sized plaster variant of the group, now on indefinite loan to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Neither of these plasters was ever cast.
A Tribute to Marian Dale Scott, 1906–1993
A leading Montreal artist, a woman very dear to me, died last November 28th. She had achieved what she wanted: to paint until the end of her life, at least until the last few months; to stay in her own home; and to go on seeing her friends. All of us can bear witness to what a rare person she was – open-minded, lively, interested, unfailingly considerate, enquiring about our joys and sorrows even at the very end of her life. It is not true that it is easier to accept the death of an older person; we shall all miss Marian. No longer will we be able to go by for tea or a drink at the end of the working day, a day she would have spent painting as much as she could. Her affectionate presence, her grace and humour are already sadly missed. But at least we can bear witness to her importance to us. That is what I wish to do here in commenting on some aspects of one of the most important things in her life: her work as an artist. Since I knew Marian more as a friend than in my professional capacity as an art historian, this text is not a research paper nor a meticulous account of her career. That is work which still remains to be done.
This handsomely produced, massive volume is an impressively scholarly approach to the history of furniture in Canada. Though its theme is "fine furniture" in Victorian Québec, much of what has been gathered together here applies to taste, fashion and attitudes in other parts of the country as well during the same period (1837–1901). Though published in connection with the 1993 exhibition, which opened in Montréal and then moved on to Québec, this is no mere catalogue, whose usefulness is transient. It is a permanent expansion of both social and material history. It is a book that belongs in the furniture section of every reference library.
This investigation of Saint John's heritage in architectural drawings appears to have had five objectives: a discussion of the architectural drawings in their own right, as vehicles for representation; the role that these drawings played in the production of the resulting building—though by no means all were built; a history of the resulting buildings themselves; an architectural history of the city of Saint John as the collective result of all of these drawings and buildings; and an inventory of architects active in Saint John. These are all high and laudable objectives. Music of the Eye perhaps could be called a resounding success only in the last of these five categories, but it does a reasonable job of attaining all of them.