FATHER HENRY METZGER
Private Collection, New York
Father Henry Metzger (1877-1949) was born in Alsace and trained at the Académie Julian in Paris, where many Canadian painters also received instruction. In 1909 he immigrated to Saskatchewan and set up a studio a few years later, in 1916. Very little is known about Father Metzger other than the most abcedarian facts of his life. As a religious man perhaps he was inclined to shun the spotlight. However, over time, Metzger has acquired a reputation for his detailed oil portraits of indigenous people. The regal chiefs and warriors of various first nations communities have long been an attractive subject for artists and certainly Metzger was not the first or last to be captivated by the dress, ceremonial objects and distinguished bearing of such sitters. Edmund Montague Morris (1871-1913) preceded Metzger, as did Kane and Verner, though Morris's preferred medium was pastel. Nicholas de Grandmaison, whose works are still so highly sought after by collectors, also favored pastel, and antedates Metzger by decades. Rare and finely executed, Lot 45 and Lot 46 reflect Metzger's shrewd observation and technical mastery capturing the eminence grises with striking verisimilitude.