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L. L. FitzGerald

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FitzGerald in Context

FitzGerald in Context

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Canadian, 1890-1956
Summer Afternoon, The Prairie
oil on canvas
107.2 x 89.5
Collection of The Winnipeg Art Gallery

"Nature has got him...'The Prairie-Summer' is a large canvas...the masterpiece of the collection. Under a sky of indescribable blue, a stretch of nondescript prairie is made glorious and wonderful by the pervading sunlight. Here, as nowhere else, is concentrated the artist's delight in, and worship of, the life-giving sunshine which peeps at us through trees, warms the banks of streams or is otherwise manifest in nearly every picture. 'The Prairie' sums up FitzGerald just as 'The Sun Cup' is the utmost concentration of Lampman...."

(Source: William Arthur Deacon, "Pastel Shades A Few Impressions of the Work of a Young Winnipeg Artist," circa September, 1921.)

W. A. Deacon was an important eastern Canadian writer who also came from Winnipeg. This painting was subsequently exhibited in Great Britain as part of the British Empire Wembley exhibitions that travelled around England in 1925 and 1926. In city after city local newspapers covered the exhibition. The Canadian Art sections received generally positive reviews. The excerpt below is from the only review of the many which have been collected that mentions FitzGerald specifically. It appeared in The Manchester Guardian, August 28th, 1926, "Pictures by Canadian Artists":
A selection of pictures from the Canadian Section of Fine Arts at Wembley is now to be seen at the Queen's Park Branch Art Gallery. One can see from the paintings here that Canadian artists are fully in touch with European developments in art and also have a very healthy and distinctive outlook of their own. The show as a whole is vigorous, fresh, and interesting. Strong, broad-pattern treatment of landscape are in the paintings by Mr. Lawren Harris and Mr. J.E.H. MacDonald. Mr. Lionel LeMoine Fitzgerald [sic] and Miss Caroline Helena Armington are apparently followers of the Pointillliste School, and Mr. Percy Franklin Woodcock's 'Canadian Farmstead' is a beautiful work in the poetic manner of Corot....
(Source: J.H.M., Press Comments on the Canadian Section of Fine Arts, British Empire Exhibition, 1924-1925, The Mortimer Company Limited, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, n.d., pp. 72-74.)
Photo credit: Bob Talbot