Art Gallery of Alberta

Art School: Banff 1947
March 10, 2012-June 3, 2012

image credits [click to view]

Bill Gibbons, Henry Glyde and colleagues at the Banff School of Fine Arts, c. 1947
Whyte Museum and the Canadian Rockies, Banff, V227-2469

George Douglas Pepper, Moraine Lake, no date, Canvas on board
Collection of Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Canada, 81.46.1

Marion Nicoll, Untitled, 1948, Brush pen, ink on paper
Collection of Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Canada, 80.10.1 

The starting point of this exhibition is a photograph from 1947 by Bill Gibbons of the faculty of the Banff School of Fine Arts, a summer program that had been established by the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Extension. The program brought in adult students from across the country to study with established artists from different disciplines. The visual arts program began with A.C. Leighton and H.G. Glyde, and then expanded to bring in other Prairie-based educators such as Walter J. Phillips and Marion Nicoll. Soon, the school’s faculty expanded to include out-of-province artists such as the Group of Seven’s A.Y. Jackson, Vancouver’s J.W.G. Macdonald and Kingston’s André Biéler.

The 1947 photograph is a fascinating image of artist networks at play and the spheres of influence that were created. While these artists would shape the practice of their students, they would also impact each other’s production.

This exhibition will showcase works of art made by these artists during this period of time. It will seek to explore how these artists influenced one another, and shaped artistic practice both in this province and the country. These works will be contextualized by photographs and archival documents from the period, as well as the 1946 National Film Board documentary of the Banff School of Fine Arts: Holiday at School.