Edmund Wyly Grier

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Sir Edmund Wyly Grier
E. Wyly Grier, P.R.C.A. (I0007808).jpg
1931 portrait
Born(1862-11-26)November 26, 1862
DiedDecember 7, 1957(1957-12-07) (aged 95)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
NationalityAustralian- born Canadian
EducationSlade School of Art, Académie Julian
Known forPainter
SpouseMiss Dickson

Sir Edmund Wyly Grier RCA DCL (also known as E. Wyly Grier) (November 26, 1862 – December 7, 1957) was an Australian born Canadian portrait painter.[1]


Grier first came to Canada with his parents in 1876 and attended Upper Canada College but when he graduated, he and his parents went back to England so that he could study at the Slade School of Art in London.[2] He studied at the Slade with Alphonse Legros, in Rome at the Scuola Libera del Nudo, and in Paris at the Académie Julian with Adolphe Bouguereau and Tony Robert-Fleury. He exhibited from 1886 to 1895 at the Royal Society of British Artists and at the Royal Academy. In 1890, he won a gold medal at the Paris Salon.[2] In 1891, he returned to Canada to stay, opening a portrait studio in Toronto.

He painted numerous portraits of politicians, corporate leaders and other notable contemporaries, his first commissioned portrait being in 1888 and his last in 1947.[2] Through his portraits, Grier won recognition and admission to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1894,[3] becoming its president in 1929-1939. In 1901, he won a silver medal at the Pan-American Exhibition at Buffalo.[2] He was active in several arts organizations, including the Ontario Society of Artists (c. 1896) (President, 1908-1913), and was a founding member and second president of the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto.[2]

Grier received an honorary Doctor of Civil Law from the University of Bishop’s College in 1934.[2] In 1935, he was made a Knight Bachelor by the government of Richard Bedford Bennett, the first Canadian to receive a knighthood in recognition of his work as an artist.[1] In 1937 he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Honorary Corresponding Academician.

His work is in many public institutions including the National Gallery of Canada,[2] the Art Gallery of Ontario[4] and the Robert McLaughlin Gallery.[5]


Personal life[edit]

From 1897 to 1903, he served with the Royal Canadian Artillery, rising to the rank of major in command of the 9th Field Battery. In 1903, he served as vice-president of the Royal Military Institute.[2]


  1. ^ a b "SIR WYLY GRIER, 95, CANADIAN ARTIST; Portrait Painter in School of Traditionalists Dies-- Led Royal Academy". New York Times. December 9, 1957. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, volumes 1-8 by Colin S. MacDonald, and volume 9 (online only), by Anne Newlands and Judith Parker National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts du Canada
  3. ^ "Members since 1880". Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  4. ^ Bradfield, Helen Pepall (1970). Art Gallery of Ontario: The Canadian Collection. Toronto: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-092504-6. OCLC 118037.
  5. ^ Grier, Edmund Wylie. "Collection". rmg.minisisinc.com. Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa. Retrieved 2021-08-28.
Cultural offices
Preceded by President of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts
Succeeded by