FREDERICK ARTHUR VERNER, O.S.A., A.R.C.A.
Private Collection, Ontario.
Dennis Reid, “Our Own Country Canada, 1860-1890”, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1979, sub-heading “F.A. Verner”, pages 346-350.
Joan Murray, “The Last Buffalo, The Story of Frederick Arthur Verner, Painter of the Canadian West”, Pagurian Press, Toronto, 1984, page 22.
In the early 1880s, Verner settled in London and travelled through England and Europe, during which time he continued to send paintings back to various exhibitions in Canada. In 1884 the reviewer in “The Week” (1 May, pages 344-345) wrote: “Mr. Verner is well known for his prairies, canoes and buffaloes, which attract special attention. It is said that he astounds the ‘natives’ in England who now take an interest in the wonders and inhabitants of the great ‘Lone Land’ of a past generation.”
Reid mentions that Verner periodically returned to Canada and “…seems to have enjoyed some prominence again from late 1888 until the summer of 1892.” Murray records Verner as having visited British Columbia during this time.
With mountains and water blending together in a haze, the focus of the painting is on the vividly painted groups of figures on canoes in the foreground. Verner's use of fog in many of his canoe scenes reflect his artistic training in Europe, at the peak of Romanticism, when a perpetual fixation with Canadian First Nations had prevailed in Europe.