"Mountains, Evening" By Illingworth Holey Kerr


SKU: 8537-004

Categories: ArtOriginal Paintings


"Mountains, Evening" By Illingworth Holey Kerr

  • Canadian Artist
  • Oil on board
  • Frame 16" x 13.5"
  • Canvas 12.5" x 10"
Illingworth Holey Kerr 1905 - 1989
  • Illingworth Holey Kerr was best known for his vivid landscapes of the Alberta and Saskatchewan foothills. He is considered the first professional native-born artist of the prairies. Prior to 1955, Kerr’s work was mainly representational with a strong design element, however, after taking a course at the Hans Hoffman School of Fine Art, his work took on more abstract elements. He became interested in the work of Franz Marc, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and the totem forms of Canadian, African and Medieval art. While he was primarily known as a landscape and animal painter, he also produced work that contained semi-abstract symbolism.Born in Lumsden, Saskatchewan, Kerr was encouraged from an early age to draw by his mother, an amateur watercolourist. In 1924, he attended an art course at the Central Technical School, and he went on to study at the Ontario College of Art under the tutelage of Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald, Frederick Varley and J.W. Beatty. With the financial assistance of an uncle, Kerr moved back to Saskatchewan in 1928 and set up a studio where he painted canvases based on field sketches that he created while working odd jobs, such as farm hand, sign-writer and trapper. Drought and the Depression left him looking for new opportunities, and he set sail for England in 1936. While in London, Kerr worked for John Grierson in documentary film productions and studied at the Westminster School of Art. Kerr then moved to Scotland where he wrote stories about Canada for Blackwood Magazine. He also worked on four dioramas depicting Canadian life for the Canadian Government Display in the Empire Exhibition at Glasgow. These undertakings were financially rewarding and he saved enough money to marry and travel through Europe.Kerr returned to Montreal in 1939, where he prepared Canadian Government and Maritime Maps for the World’s Fair in New York. Eventually settling in Vancouver, Kerr became a member of the faculty of the Vancouver School of Art in 1945. He published an autobiography in 1946 titled Gay Dogs and Dark Horses, which he also illustrated. He was appointed art director at the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art in Calgary in 1947, where he succeeded J.W.G. “Jock” MacDonald. Under Kerr’s adept leadership over the next 20 years, the institute, the largest art school in the country, maintained a reputation as one of the most important in the West. In 1960, Kerr was awarded a Canada Council senior fellowship, which allowed him to travel and expand his knowledge as both a teacher and a painter. In 1962, some of his work produced while abroad was exhibited at the Alberta College of Art. In 1963, an exhibition of his work was held at the Edmonton Art Gallery, and in 1969 his paintings toured eastern Canada, including an exhibit at the Arts and Culture Centre of Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Kerr was a member of both the British Columbia Society of Artists and the Alberta Society of Artists, and he was the head of the Alberta College of Art. He is represented in the collections of the Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina, the Allied Art Centre in Calgary and the National Gallery of Canada, among others. Kerr was awarded the Order of Canada in 1983.

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