|Born||Frederick Horsman Varley
January 2, 1881
|Died||September 8, 1969
|Movement||Group of Seven|
Varley was born in Sheffield, England. in 1881. He studied art in Sheffield. He attended Académie royale des Beaux-Arts in Antwerp, Belgium. He worked on the docks. He immigrated to Canada in 1912 on the advice of another Sheffield native (and future Group of Seven member), Arthur Lismer, and found work at the Grip Ltd. design firm in Toronto, Ontario.
Beginning in January 1918, he served in the First World War with C.W. Simpson, J.W. Beatty and Maurice Cullen. Varley came to the attention of Lord Beaverbrook, who arranged for him to be commissioned as an "official war artist." He accompanied Canadian troops in the Hundred Days offensive from Amiens, France to Mons, Belgium. His paintings of combat are based on his experiences at the front. Although he had been enthusiastic to travel to France as a war artist, he became deeply disturbed by what he saw:
|“||We’d be healthier to forget [the war], and that we never can. We are forever tainted with its abortiveness and its cruel drama.||”|
Varley's Some Day the People Will Return, shown at the Burlington House in London and at the Canadian War Memorials Exhibition, is a large canvas depicting a war-ravaged cemetery, suggestive that even the dead cannot escape the destruction.
Group of Seven
In 1920, he was a founding member of the Group of Seven. He was known for painting landscapes. He painted people in green, pink, or purple. His and A.Y. Jackson's contribution in the war influenced work in the Group of Seven. They chose to paint Canadian wilderness that had been damaged by fire or harsh climates. Varley's major contribution to art is his work with the Group of Seven. He and Lawren Harris were the only members of the group to paint portraits.
In 1954, along with a handful of artists including Eric Aldwinckle, he visited the Soviet Union on the first cultural exchange of the Cold War.
He died in Toronto in 1969.
On 6 May 1994 Canada Post issued 'Vera (detail), F.H. Varley, 1931' in the Masterpieces of Canadian art series. The stamp was designed by Pierre-Yves Pelletier based on an oil painting "Vera", (1931) by Frederick Horsman Varley in the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. The 88¢ stamps are perforated 14 x 14.5 and were printed by Leigh-Mardon Pty Limited.
His secure place in the art history of Canada is verified by the government's decision to reproduce his self-portrait as a 17-cent postage stamp. On 22 May 1981 Canada Post issued 'Frederick H. Varley, Self Portrait' designed by Pierre Fontaine. The stamps are based on an oil painting "Self Portrait", (circa 1945) by Frederick Horsman Varley in the Hart House Permanent Collection, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario. The 17¢ stamps are perforated 12.5 and were printed by Ashton-Potter Limited.
- Reid, Dennis R. (1988). A Concise History of Canadian Painting, p. 142.
- Canada Post stamp
- Davis, Ann. (1992). The Logic of Ecstasy: Canadian Mystical Painting, 1920–1940, p. 30., p. 30, at Google Books
- Brandon, Laura. (2008). Art and War, p. 46., p. 46, at Google Books
- Artinthepicture.com, Introduction to Art History, Fred Varley quotes
- Artinthepicture.com, Varley, biography
- "Members since 1880". Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
- Post stamp
- Boulet, Roger; Group of Seven and Tom Thomson (1982), The Canadian Earth, M. Bernard Loates, Cerebrus Publishing
- Brandon, Laura. (2008). Art and War. New York: I.B. Tauris. 10-ISBN 1845112377/13-ISBN 9781845112370; OCLC 225345535
- Davis, Ann (1992). The logic of ecstasy: Canadian mystical painting, 1920–1940. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 10-ISBN 0802059163/13-ISBN 9780802059161; 10-ISBN 0802068618/13-ISBN 9780802068613; OCLC 26256269
- Reid, Dennis R. (1988). A Concise History of Canadian Painting. Toronto: Oxford University Press. 10-ISBN 0195406648/13-ISBN 9780195406641; 10-ISBN 0-19-540663-X; 13-ISBN 978-0-19-540663-4; OCLC 18378555
- Atanassova, Katerina (2008). F.H. Varley: Portraits Into the Light/Mise en Lumière Des Portraits. Dundurn Press Ltd. ISBN 9781550029093.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Frederick Varley.|
- Biography at the Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery
- Frederick Varley at artcyclopedia.com
- CBC Digital Archives - The Group of Seven: Painters in the Wilderness
- Watch the NFB documentary Varley
- Varley Art Gallery of Markham, Ontario