September 26, 2011

My enthusiasm for nineteenth century Canadian art was rekindled with a recent presentation at Station Gallery. Last Thursday, James Campbell gave a scintillating talk on the Victorian-era artist Paul Kane. James illuminated Kane’s importance in the field of historical Canadian art. As always, James fosters a dynamic discourse and curiosity that goes far beyond his presentation. Thursday’s lecture was no exception. He ended his talk with an image of Kane’s painting Scene in the Northwest: Portrait of John Henry Lefroy. This painting, as it turns, is a record holder. In 2002, it auctioned for $5.1 million dollars—the most expensive Canadian painting sold!

Paul Kane's portrait of Lefroy

The following day I visited the Art Gallery of Ontario. And there it was–the splendid portrait of British explorer J.H. Lefroy. Lefroy discovered the magnetic north pole. His claim-to-fame posthumously doubled with Kane’s record-holding portrait. Check it out next time you’re at the AGO.

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