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.

James Wilson Morrice

The Pond, West Indies, by James Wilson Morrice, 1921.

James Wilson Morrice
Gift of the Louise and Bernard Lamarre Family
c. 1921
oil on canvas
81.5 x 54.8 cm
© The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.


Towards the end of his life, Morrice went to Jamaica and Trinidad, where he painted his most daring works. In this painting, the landscape reflected in the pond counterbalances the sense of depth created by the lines of trees off to the right, drawing the viewer’s gaze towards the pink horizon. With their backs turned, the two figures in the foreground invite the viewer to “enter” the painting, where the contrasting greens and pinks create a striking decorative effect. The use of colour and flattened space is reminiscent of Henri Matisse, whom Morrice had met in Morocco and greatly admired.

James Wilson Morrice

Towards the end of his life, Morrice went to Jamaica and Trinidad, where he painted his most daring works. In this painting, the landscape reflected in the pond counterbalances the sense of depth created by the lines of trees off to the right, drawing the viewer’s gaze towards the pink horizon. With their backs turned, the two figures in the foreground invite the viewer to “enter” the painting, where the contrasting greens and pinks create a striking decorative effect. The use of colour and flattened space is reminiscent of Henri Matisse, whom Morrice had met in Morocco and greatly admired.

James Wilson Morrice


© 2003, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Robert Wakeham Pilot

The Alcantara: Toledo, by Robert Wakeham Pilot, 1927.

Robert Wakeham Pilot
Art Gallery of Hamilton, Bequest of Miss Muriel Bostwick, 1966
1927
oil on board
19 x 24.9 cm
© Mrs. R. Wakeham Pilot


Robert Pilot was one of the last Canadians trained abroad who adopted Impressionist and Post-Impressionist tendencies in their work. His second trip to Europe in 1927 included trips to North Africa and Spain, where he painted the Spanish sunlight in lively colours evocative of the warm atmosphere. Despite their tonal subtleties, Pilot’s paintings are directly executed, reflecting an easy authority of technique and an acute and sensitive knowledge of the themes depicted. Although a protégé from childhood of his stepfather, Maurice Cullen, Pilot slowly achieved a subtle interpretation of Impressionism that bears his own modest stamp.

Robert Wakeham Pilot

Robert Pilot was one of the last Canadians trained abroad who adopted Impressionist and Post-Impressionist tendencies in their work. His second trip to Europe in 1927 included trips to North Africa and Spain, where he painted the Spanish sunlight in lively colours evocative of the warm atmosphere. Despite their tonal subtleties, Pilot’s paintings are directly executed, reflecting an easy authority of technique and an acute and sensitive knowledge of the themes depicted. Although a protégé from childhood of his stepfather, Maurice Cullen, Pilot slowly achieved a subtle interpretation of Impressionism that bears his own modest stamp.

Robert Wakeham Pilot


© 2003, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Robert Wakeham Pilot

Cueta, Spanish Morocco, by Robert Wakeham Pilot, 1927.

Robert Wakeham Pilot
Art Gallery of Hamilton, anonymous gift, 1959
1927
oil on panel
31.2 x 41.7 cm
© Mrs. R. Wakeham Pilot.


Although he made many painting trips abroad to England, France, Italy and North Africa, Robert Pilot was always drawn back to Quebec. In 1956 he remarked, “I found the light of North Africa so much harsher than at home. I never felt as comfortable there as Morrice did. I guess my palette was too muted a one to go all out after the colour and contrasts I found there.” Pilot found the snow-laden streets of Québec and its neighbouring villages much more congenial to his temperament, but he seems to have painted the warm, dry sunlight of North Africa with ease in this Moroccan street scene.

Robert Wakeham Pilot

Although he made many painting trips abroad to England, France, Italy and North Africa, Robert Pilot was always drawn back to Quebec. In 1956 he remarked, “I found the light of North Africa so much harsher than at home. I never felt as comfortable there as Morrice did. I guess my palette was too muted a one to go all out after the colour and contrasts I found there.” Pilot found the snow-laden streets of Québec and its neighbouring villages much more congenial to his temperament, but he seems to have painted the warm, dry sunlight of North Africa with ease in this Moroccan street scene.

Robert Wakeham Pilot


© 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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