NICHOLAS DE GRANDMAISON, R.C.A.
Private Collection, Toronto
Hugh A. Dempsey, History in Their Blood, Douglas & McIntyre, Vancouver/Toronto, 1982, pages 26-34.
Nicholas de Grandmaison’s (1882-1978) portraits of Plains Indians provide an impressive documentation of the native peoples of western Canada. After immigrating to Canada in the 1930’s, de Grandmaison was immediately drawn to Canada’s indigenous peoples and their history. The majority of his artistic output would focus on capturing their story as written on their faces.
De Grandmaison’s skill with portraiture rests with his ability to capture the unique spirit of his subject. It was reputed that even many years after their creation, when his paintings and pastels were taken to reserves for identification (typically, they are only titled with generic descriptions like this lot), the details of the sitter were so precise that these subjects, now aged or departed, would bring tears to the eyes of community members.