Manitoba Prairies in Watercolor
29" x 16"
This serene watercolour depicts the Manitoba prairies in their characteristic flatness illuminated beneath a brilliant sky of blues, reds, and yellows. The whitish-yellow glow of the sun in a low position above the horizon may suggest either dawn or dusk. Amidst the expansive landscape, the only firm sign of human habitation is a tall white building, possibly a barn or other agricultural building – isolated and vertical against the horizontality of the natural elements. The fields are textured with faint diagonal black lines; they are bold in some areas to render rifts and tufts of grass, while white staccato highlights add contrast to this passage of the artwork. A sense of overall harmony enrobes this modestly sized piece which comes through in the blending of hues, limited colour palette, simplistic subject matter, central horizon line, and softly diffused light. Even the texture of the paper adds dimension and balance. Though not signed, this work may have been painted by an artist attending the Manitoba School of Art in the 1950s or an amateur attending one of their public courses, as it shows an affinity for capturing the flatness of the landscape and expansive sky. A wonderful piece representative of Canadian art, history, and geography.
At this time in history, Canada’s art scene in the 1950s underwent many changes and developments. The Canadian Opera Company, originally the Royal Conservatory of Opera Company, was founded in 1950, while the opening of new CBC stations in 1952 allowed for television broadcasting across the country. In 1953, the “Painters Eleven” paved the way for a new direction in Canadian art with a focus on abstract expressionism and a number of avant-garde displays and exhibitions challenging the rather conservative nature of the established art scene. Manitoba shared in this progressive spirit with a number of exciting developments and activities at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba Society of Artists, and Winnipeg School of Art, which attracted artists from all over the country and beyond. The Canada Council, founded in 1957, further encouraged the growth and development of the arts and social sciences throughout Canada.