The origins of this project lie with the Canadian Centre for the Visual Arts, at the National Gallery of Canada (NGC), which gave me the funding, time, and facilities to read through the gallery’s collection of Homer Watson’s correspondence and to think seriously about his art. I will always be grateful for that opportunity. While I was in residence the late Murray Waddington (Chief, Library and Archives) added to the gallery’s already voluminous holdings of Watson papers. I regret that he did not live to see this book’s publication. Cyndie Campbell, the extraordinary head of the NGC Archives, was equally supportive.
I’m indebted to the private collectors who shared their artworks with me, and to the museum employees who responded patiently to my questions. Above all, Faith Hieblinger at the Homer Watson House & Gallery was unstintingly generous. Thanks also to Sandu Sindile; Tobi Bruce and Christine Braun (Art Gallery of Hamilton); Georgiana Uhlyarik and Donna Austria (Art Gallery of Ontario); Nicole McCabe and Jaclyn Meloche (Art Gallery of Windsor); Meredith Briden (Beaverbrook Art Gallery); Tracy Loch (Castle Kilbride); Jennifer Bullock (Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery); Jacques Des Rochers, Marie-Claude Saia, Justine Lebeau, and Anna Ciocola (Montreal Museum of Fine Arts); and Elaire Maund (Vancouver Art Gallery). Back at the NGC, John Collins, Sonia Del Re, and Jacqueline Warren gave me liberal access to the gallery’s many Watson sketchbooks, while Susan Walker of the painting conservation lab helped me understand the physical aspects of his oils.
At the Art Canada Institute, Kendra Ward, Amanda Lewis, and Joy Xiang personified the principle of respectful collaboration. And, as ever, this book has benefited immeasurably from the advice, raised eyebrows, and outright criticisms of Charles C. Hill, the volume and detail of whose knowledge of Canadian art never fail to amaze.
From the Art Canada Institute
The Art Canada Institute gratefully acknowledges the generosity of the anonymous Title Sponsor of this book.
The Art Canada Institute gratefully acknowledges the other sponsors of the 2018–2019 Canadian Online Art Book Project: Alexandra Bennett in memory of Jalynn Bennett, Consignor Canadian Fine Art, Kiki and Ian Delaney, Maxine Granovsky Gluskin and Ira Gluskin, Gershon Iskowitz Foundation, The Sabourin Family Foundation, Karen Schreiber and Marnie Schreiber, and Sandra L. Simpson.
We also sincerely thank the Founding Sponsor for the Art Canada Institute: BMO Financial Group; and the Art Canada Institute Patrons: Butterfield Family Foundation,* David and Vivian Campbell,* Connor, Clark & Lunn Foundation, Albert E. Cummings,* the Fleck family,* Roger and Kevin Garland,* Glorious and Free Foundation,* Charlotte Gray and George Anderson, The Scott Griffin Foundation,* Jane Huh,* Lawson Hunter, Gershon Iskowitz Foundation,* Alan and Patricia Koval Foundation, Phil Lind,* Nancy McCain and Bill Morneau,* John O’Brian, Gerald Sheff and Shanitha Kachan,* Stephen Smart,* Nalini and Tim Stewart,* and Robin and David Young.*
We thank our Lead Benefactors: Alexandra Baillie, Alexandra Bennett and the Jalynn Bennett Family Foundation,* Grant and Alice Burton, Kiki and Ian Delaney,* Jon S. and Lyne Dellandrea,* Michelle Koerner and Kevin Doyle,* Sarah and Tom Milroy,* Partners in Art,* Sandra L. Simpson,* Pam and Michael Stein,* and Sara and Michael Angel.*
*Indicates a Founding Patron of the Art Canada Institute
The ACI gives special thanks to the Homer Watson House & Gallery, and the work of Faith Hieblinger and Nichole Martin, who provided a tremendous amount of contextual and artistic resources for this title. The ACI is grateful to the gallery’s mindful keeping of the artist’s former home and studio, which crucially maintains Homer Watson’s legacy for those of the present.
This online art book was also made possible by the support and assistance of Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Jennifer Nicoll); Albany Institute of History and Art (Allison Munsell Napierski); Art Gallery of Hamilton (Christine Braun); Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Shannon Parker); Art Gallery of Ontario (Eva Athanasiu, Tracy Mallon-Jensen); Art Gallery of Windsor (Nicole McCabe); Beaverbrook Art Gallery (Celine Gorham, John Leroux); Canadian War Museum (Susan Ross); Castle Kilbride (Tracy Loch); Estate of Lawren Harris; the Hamilton Club (Amanda Nesbitt); Indianapolis Museum of Art; Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery; Library and Archives Canada (Brechin Group); MacKenzie Art Gallery (Marie Olinik); McCord Museum; Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Marie-Claude Saia); Museé du Louvre; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (Peter Huestis); National Gallery of Canada (Emily Antler, Philip Dombowsky); National Gallery, London; National Portrait Gallery, London; Power Corporation of Canada (Paul Marechal); Queen’s University Archives (Jeremy Heil); Royal Collection Trust (Agata Rutkowska); Six Nations Public Library (Feather Maracle); Tate; Toronto Reference Library; Vancouver Art Gallery (Danielle Currie); Walters Art Museum (Ruth Bowler); Winnipeg Art Gallery (Nicole Fletcher); the York Club (Cyril Duport); and Ronald and Shirley Levene, Greg McKee, Robert McNair, and Frank Tancredi.
The ACI recognizes the private collectors who have given permission for their work to be published in this edition.
Every effort has been made to secure permissions for all copyrighted material. The Art Canada Institute will gladly correct any errors or omissions.
Credit for Banner Images
Credits for Works by Homer Watson
Credits for Photographs and Works by Other Artists
Art Canada Institute
Massey College, University of Toronto
4 Devonshire Place
Toronto, ON M5S 2E1
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Foss, Brian, 1955-, author
Homer Watson : life & work / Brian Foss.
Includes bibliographical references.
Issued in print and electronic formats.
ISBN 978-1-4871-0185-5 (hardcover).–ISBN 978-1-4871-0183-1
(PDF).–ISBN 978-1-4871-0184-8 (HTML)
1. Watson, Homer, 1855-1936. 2. Watson, Homer, 1855-1936–
Criticism and interpretation. 3. Painters–Canada–Biography.
4. Biographies. I. Art Canada Institute, issuing body II. Title.
ND249.W3F68 2018 759.11 C2018-905174-4