100 Masters: Only in Canada is opening May 11 at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, an exhibit designed to help celebrate the gallery's centennial.
Curatorial assistant Ali King is taking SCENE on a tour of some of the work ahead of the public opening.
Sunrise on the Saguenay, Cape Trinity served as Lucius O'Brien's diploma piece, the submission that confirmed his membership in the Royal Canadian Academy whose holdings would later constitute the original collection of the National Gallery of Canada.
Lucius O'Brien, Sunrise on the Saguenay, Cape Trinity, 1880. Oil on canvas. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (WAG)
O'Brien helped found the Ontario Society of Artists, and played an instrumental role in the fledgling Ontario School of Art (predecessor of the Ontario College of Art and Design) as its vice-president.
This painting is a defining testament to a developing sense of Canadian nationalism and its articulation through landscape.
During his time as contributor and artistic editor of Picturesque Canada
, a popular serial promoting Canadian tourism, O'Brien became adept at creating light-filled landscapes in oil, and particularly in watercolour.
This painting of a Quebec region known for its logging and tourism industries is typical in this regard. Nature and industry--note the smoke trailing from a distant steamboat--are held in mutual harmony.100 Masters: Only in Canada opens May 11 at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.