Canadian Fine Art
November 13 — 18, 2021
Auction begins to close at 7:00 pm ET
PETER CLAPHAM SHEPPARD, O.S.A., R.C.A.
Private Collection, Ontario
There is a wonderful symmetry to “Royal Winter Fair,” a scene of livestock being observed, admired, and judged on their way to the auction block in much the same way that we observe, admire and judge art. Whether a wry comment on the nature of the art business or simply an unbiased subject that happened to pique Sheppard’s interest, the echo remains.
Like many of his peers, Sheppard worked in the realm of commercial art so as to support his interest in creating “fine” art. From a young age, Sheppard trained to be a commercial lithographer, ultimately becoming among the best in the country. Yet in his mind, the realms of commercial and fine art were not meant to overlap, and was intentional in his approach to each. Commercial art “was directly linked to promoting sales through visual means” while fine art had the purpose of “edifying the mind and providing decoration.” Yet art and commerce were not so easily teased apart, as full-time artists were reliant on patronage and sales. Artists of note were expected to submit their work to juried exhibitions and salons, including the Canadian National Exhibition—where one might look at livestock, sports matches, and some of the finest art the country was producing at the time. Perhaps the veil between the commercial and fine art worlds lifts a little higher than usual in this painting—a painterly wink indeed.
Tom Smart, Peter Clapham Sheppard: His Life and Work, (Firefly Books: Toronto), 40.
Very good condition.
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