Since the Renaissance, Italy has been a magnet and preferred destination for artists, but in the second half of the nineteenth century, Paris had gained much appeal. The French capital became a meeting place for many foreign artists, who were genuinely fascinated with its dynamism.

At the end of the nineteenth century, interest in travel was not limited to Paris. In their quest for new experiences and new subjects, artists also travelled around the French countryside, and frequently went beyond the borders of France. The picturesque landscape remained a central concern to some painters, while others, discovering new and different lifestyles, cultures, geographies and quality of light, painted new perspectives.

The coasts of Brittany, as well as Venice, Italy and Spain attracted many Canadian artists. Some even ventured as far as North Africa (Tunisia and Morocco), or the Caribbean. Russian artists also moved in the art circles of Paris, and travelled throughout France and Italy, but it was the East that particularly captivated them.
Since the Renaissance, Italy has been a magnet and preferred destination for artists, but in the second half of the nineteenth century, Paris had gained much appeal. The French capital became a meeting place for many foreign artists, who were genuinely fascinated with its dynamism.

At the end of the nineteenth century, interest in travel was not limited to Paris. In their quest for new experiences and new subjects, artists also travelled around the French countryside, and frequently went beyond the borders of France. The picturesque landscape remained a central concern to some painters, while others, discovering new and different lifestyles, cultures, geographies and quality of light, painted new perspectives.

The coasts of Brittany, as well as Venice, Italy and Spain attracted many Canadian artists. Some even ventured as far as North Africa (Tunisia and Morocco), or the Caribbean. Russian artists also moved in the art circles of Paris, and travelled throughout France and Italy, but it was the East that particularly captivated them.

© 2003, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Aaron Allan Edson

Untitled, by Aaron Allan Edson, 1883.

Aaron Allan Edson
Gift of the Honourable Michel Dumaine, Judge
1883
watercolour and gouache
27 x 47.50 cm
© Musée des beaux-arts de Sherbrooke.


Allan Edson was born in the Eastern Townships of Quebec and studied painting in Montréal, London and Paris. His many landscapes of the Eastern Townships and New England, which are often associated with the Luminist movement, earned him his reputation. This tranquil landscape is bathed in the muted atmosphere of the misty hills in the background. The picturesque buildings with thatched roofs are a clear reference to domestic European architecture. As it happens, this atypical watercolour, in which he shows his respect for nature, was painted during his 1881–84 stay in Europe, during which time he worked in Paris with Léon-Germain Pelouse.

Aaron Allan Edson

Allan Edson was born in the Eastern Townships of Quebec and studied painting in Montréal, London and Paris. His many landscapes of the Eastern Townships and New England, which are often associated with the Luminist movement, earned him his reputation. This tranquil landscape is bathed in the muted atmosphere of the misty hills in the background. The picturesque buildings with thatched roofs are a clear reference to domestic European architecture. As it happens, this atypical watercolour, in which he shows his respect for nature, was painted during his 1881–84 stay in Europe, during which time he worked in Paris with Léon-Germain Pelouse.

Aaron Allan Edson


© 2003, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

James MacDonald Barnsley

Landscape, France, by James MacDonald Barnsley, 1886.

James MacDonald Barnsley
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J.A. Shaver and Wintario, 1979
1886
oil on canvas
54.6 x 80.5 cm
© Art Gallery of Hamilton.


J.M. Barnsley was a native of Flamborough, a borough of Hamilton, Ontario. As was customary for aspiring artists in late nineteenth-century Canada, Barnsley made his first trip to France in 1882, where he was influenced by the gentle naturalism and rural subject matter of the second generation of Barbizon painters. In Landscape, France, we see a typical Barnsley treatment of his subject: a picturesque European landscape, with a castle in the distance, executed in a Romantic and atmospheric light. He exhibited at the Paris Salon from 1883 to 1887, and shortly after, returned to Canada to apply his European-trained eye to several local vistas.

James MacDonald Barnsley

J.M. Barnsley was a native of Flamborough, a borough of Hamilton, Ontario. As was customary for aspiring artists in late nineteenth-century Canada, Barnsley made his first trip to France in 1882, where he was influenced by the gentle naturalism and rural subject matter of the second generation of Barbizon painters. In Landscape, France, we see a typical Barnsley treatment of his subject: a picturesque European landscape, with a castle in the distance, executed in a Romantic and atmospheric light. He exhibited at the Paris Salon from 1883 to 1887, and shortly after, returned to Canada to apply his European-trained eye to several local vistas.

James MacDonald Barnsley


© 2003, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

William Blair Bruce

Giverny, France, by William Blair Bruce, 1887.

William Blair Bruce
Bruce Memorial, 1914
1887
oil on canvas
26.5 x 34.6 cm
© Art Gallery of Hamilton.


In 1883, the famous French Impressionist Claude Monet moved to Giverny, a tranquil hamlet outside of Paris. The picturesque village soon attracted many artists to its colourful, inspiring countryside, cheap accommodations, and, of course, the presence of Monet. Hamilton-born artist William Blair Bruce was one such artist. The influence of the artistic community, and the soft light and colourful landscape inspired Bruce to use a brighter palette and experiment with free, spontaneous brushwork. The unusual diagonal composition gives the work its freshness, a feeling of being painted en plein air, where the artist could have been strolling over the rolling fields when he decided to stop, on the spot, and capture the view from where he stood.

William Blair Bruce

In 1883, the famous French Impressionist Claude Monet moved to Giverny, a tranquil hamlet outside of Paris. The picturesque village soon attracted many artists to its colourful, inspiring countryside, cheap accommodations, and, of course, the presence of Monet. Hamilton-born artist William Blair Bruce was one such artist. The influence of the artistic community, and the soft light and colourful landscape inspired Bruce to use a brighter palette and experiment with free, spontaneous brushwork. The unusual diagonal composition gives the work its freshness, a feeling of being painted en plein air, where the artist could have been strolling over the rolling fields when he decided to stop, on the spot, and capture the view from where he stood.

William Blair Bruce


© 2003, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

James Wilson Morrice

The Beach at St. Malo, by James Wilson Morrice, 1898-1899.

James Wilson Morrice
Gift of the Estate of Miss Eleanore F. Morrice, Montréal, Quebec, 1981.
1898 - 1899
oil sketch on panel
17.9 x 25.7 cm
© Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.


Born in Montréal, James Wilson Morrice spent most of his adult life in Europe. He was a prolific painter, setting out each day with a pocket-sized paint box and panels in search of subject matter. Morrice produced hundreds of small wooden panels, or pochades, which he used as studies for larger paintings on canvas. While these small panels were often quick sketches, he considered them to be complete works in themselves. The Beach at St. Malo is one of a number of sketch panels that the artist painted at this location. Morrice enjoyed the seaside and the play of light on water.

James Wilson Morrice

Born in Montréal, James Wilson Morrice spent most of his adult life in Europe. He was a prolific painter, setting out each day with a pocket-sized paint box and panels in search of subject matter. Morrice produced hundreds of small wooden panels, or pochades, which he used as studies for larger paintings on canvas. While these small panels were often quick sketches, he considered them to be complete works in themselves. The Beach at St. Malo is one of a number of sketch panels that the artist painted at this location. Morrice enjoyed the seaside and the play of light on water.

James Wilson Morrice


© 2003, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

The learner will:

  • Develop an understanding of the geographic influences on culture
  • Understand that art can represent the experience of people
  • Examine how major dominant European art movements influenced the interpretation of the landscape in Canadian painting
  • Be aware of similarities and differences in landscape painting between Russia and Canada prior to 1940
  • Appreciate the development of a distinctly Canadian style of landscape painting
  • Respond critically to a variety of art styles
  • Recognize the emotional impact of art

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