LeMoine FitzGerald

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LeMoine FitzGerald
Lionel Lemoine Fitzgerald.jpg
FitzGerald, photographed by M.O. Hammond in 1930.
Born Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald
(1890-03-17)March 17, 1890
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Died August 7, 1956(1956-08-07) (aged 66)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Known for Painting

Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald (1890 – 1956) was a Canadian artist and art educator. He was the only member of the Group of Seven to be based in western Canada.

His landscapes and still lifes were drawn from his immediate surroundings—the view of the back lane outside his house; a potted plant on the windowsill. His style grew more spare and abstract over his career. His body of work includes painting in oil and watercolour, drawing, printmaking and sculpture.

Life[edit]

L.L. FitzGerald was born in Winnipeg on March 17, 1890 to Lionel Henry FitzGerald and Belle (Hicks) FitzGerald.[1]

His father, L. H. FitzGerald, was of Irish descent, born in the West Indies and raised in Quebec.[2] He was employed as a bank messenger and sometimes dealt in real estate.[3]

His mother's family had left Devonshire for Canada,[2] eventually settling on a farm in the Pembina Hills near Snowflake, Manitoba.[3] As a boy, FitzGerald spent the summer vacation months on his grandmother's farm where he and his older brother were free to explore the woods and prairies.[2]

FitzGerald left school at 14, with a Grade Eight education. This was not unusual at that time for families who did not expect to send their child to university. He worked first as an office boy, then was employed as a clerk for various businesses. He found it was not how he wanted to spend his life.

After leaving school I worked in a wholesale drug office and finding the job not quite satisfying I felt the first real urge to draw so I got some drawing paper, a pencil and eraser and started work. I had liked the drawing period at school and had learned a little of how to begin working, meagre as it was. One of the first efforts, out of doors, was the drawing of a large elm tree and I remember a friend and I making great preparations and walking a long distance to find a subject that appealed to us. I think, perhaps the walk into the country held as much fascination for us as the work.

L.L. FitzGerald, "Painters of the Prairie," Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Midwest Network, radio interview, 1 December 1954 [4]

In his spare time, FitzGerald began to draw and paint regularly. He used John Ruskin’s Elements of Drawing (1857) as a guide for his self-directed study.[4] He signed up for a winter of evening classes at the A.S. Kesthelyi School of Fine Art.[3] He remarked in later years that 'I am still wondering how it was possible to find out so much in so short a time.[4]'

FitzGerald married Felicia Wright (1883-1962) in 1912. They had two children, a son, Edward in 1915 and a daughter, Patricia in 1919.[1]

After their marriage, FitzGerald determined to work as an artist while taking on a variety of jobs to support himself and his family. He arranged window displays, did free-lance interior decorating and painted theatre backdrops.[2] His artistic work met with some success. In 1913, he exhibited at the Royal Canadian Academy (Montreal). In 1918, his painting, Late Fall, Manitoba was purchased by the National Gallery of Canada and in 1921 he received his first solo exhibition, at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.[2]

He spent the winter of 1921-1922 at the Art Students League of New York in New York City.[5]

1930 Exhibited work in two shows with the Group of Seven 1932 invited to join the Group of Seven, after the death of J. E. H. MacDonald

He died of a heart attack in Winnipeg on August 7, 1956.[1]

Work[edit]

It seems impossible for the artist to attain any height without sacrificing at least a little of the ordinary necessities, not to mention the loss of ordinary social contact, that are so essential to others. The desire to create something. fills the artist's mind, and to do this requires time for active work and quiet thought [6]

Doc Snyder's House of 1931 is recognized as one of the most significant pieces of the period. Its realistic shading of the tree trunks and quiet nature is indicative of his training in New York.[7]

Teaching[edit]

In 1924, FitzGerald began teaching at the Winnipeg School of Art. He was promoted to principal of the school in 1929, a position he held until 1947.[7]

Honours[edit]

The University of Manitoba recognized FitzGerald's contributions with an honorary doctorate in 1952.[1] The Winnipeg School of Art was renamed the School of Art when it affiliated with the University of Manitoba in 1950.

In 2003, the Royal Canadian Mint produced a gold coin based on FitzGerald's 1929 work Houses.

In 2004, FitzGerald was inducted into the Winnipeg Citizens Hall of Fame for his contributions to the arts.[8]

Death[edit]

FitzGerald died in Winnipeg and his ashes were spread in a field in Snowflake, Manitoba.[9]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald fonds - Biographical History, University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections, retrieved 2013-08-07 
  2. ^ a b c d e Bovey, Patricia E. (1978). "The Man". Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald - The Development of an Artist. Winnipeg: Winnipeg Art Gallery. pp. 11–21. 
  3. ^ a b c Baker, Marilyn (1984). The Winnipeg School of Art. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba. pp. 95–98. ISBN 0-88755-613-2. 
  4. ^ a b c Parke-Taylor, Michael (1988). In seclusion with nature: The later works of Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald, 1942-1956. Winnipeg: Winnipeg Art Gallery. ISBN 0-88915-149-0. 
  5. ^ Ainslie, Patricia (1984). Images of the Land Canadian Block Prints 1919 - 1945. Calgary: Glenbow Museum. pp. 75–76. ISBN 0-919224-40-7. 
  6. ^ Canadian Painting in the Thirties - The Independents, National Gallery of Canada, retrieved 8 August 2013 
  7. ^ a b Reid, Dennis (1988). A Concise History of Canadian Painting (2nd ed.). Toronto: Oxford University Press. pp. 164–165. ISBN 0-19-540663-X. 
  8. ^ "Memorable Manitobans: Winnipeg Citizens Hall of Fame". Manitoba Historical Society. 6 July 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  9. ^ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=114361516

References[edit]

  • Harper, Russell. Painting in Canada: A History 2nd ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1981. ISBN 0-8020-6307-1