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William Brymner | Impressionist painter

William Brymner, CMG RCA (1855-1925) was a Canadian figure and landscape painter and educator.
In addition to playing a key role in the development of Impressionism in Canada, Brymner taught numerous artists who became leading figures in Canadian modern art.

Born in Greenock, Scotland, the son of Douglas Brymner the first Dominion Archivist and Jean Thomson, Brymner moved with his family to Melbourne, Canada East in 1857.
In 1864, his family moved to Montreal, Canada East.
They later lived in the area of Ottawa, Canada West where Brymner attended the Ottawa Grammar School.
Following architectural studies, Brymner enrolled at the Académie Julian in Paris, France, in 1878, where his instructors were William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Tony Robert-Fleury.

Both of his teachers were famous exponents of 'Grand manner' naturalism.
During this period at the Salon Brymner became interested in the work of Jean-Louis Ernest Meissonier, who was already popular with the French public.
In the spring of 1884, Brymner travelled to Runswick Bay, North Yorkshire, England, with the British artist Frederick W. Jackson (1859-1918) and Scottish-Canadian artist James Kerr-Lawson (1862-1939).
It was there that Brymner completed his major works A Wreath of Flowers (1884), which later served as his diploma submission for the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, and The Lonely Orphans Taken to Her Heart (1884).

In January 1885, Brymner returned to Paris to resume his studies at the Académie Julian.
During this time, he created the Barbizon school-inspired landscape painting Border of the Forest of Fontainebleau (1885), which was exhibited at the Paris Salon.
Returning to Canada in 1885, Brymner spent the summer in Baie-Saint-Paul in the Lower Saint Lawrence region of Quebec.
There he created his first paintings depicting rural Quebec, a subject he frequently would return to throughout his career.

Later life

In 1886, Brymner settled in Montreal after staying in Paris "on and off for almost seven years".
That year, he travelled to Western Canada via the newly completed Canadian Pacific Railway, hoping to take advantage of the fact that the CPR was commissioning landscapes of the Rocky Mountains.
Brymner spent several weeks on the Siksika Nation Reserve near Gleichen (now Alberta), where he witnessed the severe hunger of the Siksika People due to the government's failure to provide adequate food rations.
This experience culminated in one of Brymner's most haunting paintings, Giving Out Rations to the Blackfoot Indians, NWT (1886).

Upon his return from Western Canada, Brymner began teaching at the Art Association of Montreal, where he would remain for thirty years.
Many members of the Beaver Hall Group studied under Brymner, who encouraged them to explore new modernist approaches to painting.
Brymner specialized in figure scenes and avoided large historical subjects except for his paintings of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Two Girls Reading of 1898 displays a careful treatment of light and an understanding of the force of a simple emphatic composition.

Recognition and awards

In 1883, he was made an associate of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA).
In 1904, he received a silver medal at the Canadian exhibition at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.
He was elected vice-president of the RCA in 1907 and president in 1909.
In 1916, he was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George and could use the honorary prefix C.M.G. after his name. | Source: © Wikipedia

William Brymner, CMG RCA (1855-1925) è stato un pittore Canadese di figure e paesaggi ed un educatore.
Nel 1878 Brymner si iscrisse all'Académie Julian di Parigi, in Francia, dove i suoi insegnanti furono William-Adolphe Bouguereau e Tony Robert-Fleury.
Oltre a svolgere un ruolo chiave nello sviluppo dell'impressionismo in Canada, Brymner insegnò a numerosi artisti che divennero figure di spicco dell'arte moderna canadese.
Ispirato dai suoi viaggi, William Brymner dipinse di tutto, dai paesaggi canadesi ai canali di Venezia.

I suoi dipinti delle Montagne Rocciose e delle zone rurali del Quebec contribuirono alla nozione di identità canadese e si sforzò di garantire che il Canada diventasse parte della comunità artistica internazionale.
Per Brymner ed i suoi colleghi, uno stile artistico decisamente canadese era importante, ma lo era anche lo spazio in cui lo avrebbero mostrato al mondo.
Ha ottenuto il successo critico mentre insegnava all'Art Association di Montreal per più di trent'anni, dove è stato fonte di ispirazione per i suoi numerosi studenti.
Come ha osservato Clarence Gagnon, "Se Brymner non potesse insegnarti, nessuno potrebbe farlo".