Artwork by Frederick Grant Banting,  Village in Winter

Frederick G. Banting
Village in Winter

oil on panel
signed lower right
8 x 10 ins ( 20.3 x 25.4 cms )

Auction Estimate: $35,000.00$25,000.00 - $35,000.00

Price Realized $34,500.00
Sale date: November 23rd 2017

Gift of the artist
By descent to the current Private Collection, Ontario
J. Lynn Fraser, “The Determined Painter: Sir Frederick Banting”, CMAJ, October 5, 2010, Volume 182, Number 14, pages E702-E704
Stephen Eaton Hume, Frederick Banting: Hero, Healer, Artist, Montreal, 2001, pages 120-23
A.Y. Jackson, A Painter's Country, Vancouver/Toronto, 1959, pages 61 and 99
Often credited first with his groundbreaking medical advancements and achievement, Frederick Banting holds a niche place in the history of Canadian art. Upon joining the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto, Banting met with A.Y. Jackson and the two quickly became fast friends and sketching companions throughout the Arctic, Ontario and rural Quebec. By the 1930s, Banting became one of Canada's best known amateur artists with a keen sense of colour, light and shadow, heavily influenced by his time with Jackson. Under the Group member's tutelage, Banting refined his practice, often looking to Jackson for guidance and advice to better develop what was first a pastime, into a career.

“Village in Winter” encapsulates the artist's affinity for tight compositions and luminous colour. With bold swaths of paint, Banting articulates light and shadow of the winter day with non-traditional tones of pink, butter yellow and soft mint greens. Akin to Jackson's renderings of villages, the importance of the daily lives of the inhabitants are equal to the natural landscape. Sleigh tracks, telephone towers and firewood piles all signal village life and labour integral to the development of rural villages and industry within Canada.

Share this item with your friends

Frederick Grant Banting
(1891 - 1941)

Born in 1891 in Alliston, Ontario, Frederick Banting studied medicine at the University of Toronto. He received his MB degree in 1916 and immediately joined the Canadian Army Medical Corps and was sent overseas. He was wounded in France and awarded the Military Cross for bravery. Following the first World War, he continued his medical studies, receiving his M.D. degree in 1922. He had a particular interest in diabetes. Together with his assistant, Charles Best, Banting started the work which would lead to the lifesaving discovery of insulin. For this innovation, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1923. After the war, he had briefly set up a practice in London, Ontario. The practice was slow in getting started, so with some time on his hands, he was gripped with an urge to paint. This came about one day, when he happened by a London shop, with a display of artist’s paints in the window. He purchased them and embarked on teaching himself to paint. As his medical career took off, he had little time to devote to this passion, but after winning the Nobel Prize, he was able to dedicate some time to art. He became a collector as well as a painter. In 1927, he approached A.Y. Jackson, wishing to purchase one of his war sketches. This was the beginning of a long friendship. He saw one of Lawren Harris’ canvases and went to the artist’s studio to discuss this work and they became friends. Banting shared an appreciation of the beauty of the rugged Canadian landscape with both artists.

That same year, Jackson and Banting went on their first sketching excursion together. They travelled to St-Jean Port Jolie, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence. There, Banting received his first instruction in plein air landscape painting technique from Jackson. He had a natural aptitude and his works were accepted at juried exhibitions, but he was always afraid that his work had been accepted because of his reputation as a scientist, rather than its own merit. After a time, he no longer submitted works for exhibition. He was also reluctant to sell his paintings. He had an ingenious way of supporting the artists of his acquaintance. When a collector indicated a wish to purchase one of his paintings, he instructed them to purchase a work from another local artist, and he would then exchange it for one of his own works.

In July of 1927, Banting travelled with Jackson to the Arctic. On a trip lasting two and a half months, they encountered a variety of weather and light conditions in the Arctic landscape. They returned with many sketches. The one Jackson painted of Bache Post was donated to the National Gallery of Canada by the Minister of the Interior. Over the years Banting accompanied Jackson on many sketching trips. At different times, they returned to the North shore of the St. Lawrence, travelled to the Great Slave Lake area, and visited the Group of Seven haunt, Georgian Bay. At times they were joined by other artists. Banting thoroughly enjoyed the outdoor painting experience. He invented a system for getting his completed sketches home, without spoiling them, while they were still wet. He placed match sticks between the panels as spacers, a trick that A.Y. Jackson continued to use for the rest of his career. Jackson spoke of Banting’s great determination and hard work on these sketching trips, often getting up to sketch long before breakfast.

When the Second World War began, he began to devote himself exclusively to medical research, serving as a medical liaison officer between the British and North American medical services.