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Edwin Holgate: Canadian Painter

Glenbow Museum, Calgary AB – through Jun 4, 2006

Edwin Holgate - Ludivine
Edwin Holgate, Ludivine (1930), oil on canvas [Glenbow Museum, Calgary AB, through Jun 4]

Edwin Holgate (1892-1977) was a central figure in Montreal’s art community and in the history of Canadian art. This travelling exhibit from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the first major retrospective of his work, features nearly 130 pieces including drawings, watercolours, prints and book illustrations.

Born in Ontario, Holgate spent the majority of his life in Montreal. He served in the 5th Canadian Division Artillery in France during WWI and was commissioned as an official war artist during WWII. He was a master of wood engraving, which he taught at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Montreal.

In 1929, Holgate was invited to show with the Group of Seven, and in 1931 was formally asked to join them. He was especially friendly with A.Y. Jackson and the Montreal artists of the Beaver Hall group, and often went sketching with them in Quebec. Unfortunately, The Group of Seven disbanded shortly after he joined them.

Holgate worked with a broad range of subjects, such as nudes, landscapes, portraits, Native peoples and war. He is best known for his portraits and his paintings of female nudes. These have the sensibility of Dégas with their cropped bodies and clean delineations of form, but in true Canadian fashion the nudes are situated in natural settings by water, trees and rocks – essential elements of early Canadian landscape painting.

www.glenbow.org

Mia Johnson

 Tue, Apr 4, 2006