Artwork by Peter Clapham Sheppard,  St. Lawrence Market

P.C. Sheppard
St. Lawrence Market

oil on canvas
signed lower right; estate stamp on the reverse
20 x 25 ins ( 50.8 x 63.5 cms )

Auction Estimate: $30,000.00$20,000.00 - $30,000.00

Price Realized $23,600.00
Sale date: November 19th 2019

Estate of the artist
Sotheby’s Canada, auction, Toronto, November 24, 2008, lot 196
Private Collection, Ontario
A Toronto native, Peter Clapham Sheppard found his artistic inspiration in a broad range of subject matter, including landscapes, portraits, still lifes, city and harbour scenes. The painter bore witness to the steady construction and urbanization that took place in Canadian and American cities during the first half of the twentieth century, which inspired much of his artistic oeuvre. In this regard, Sheppard saw himself as best aligned with the contemporaneous American society of artists known as the Eight, and later the Ashcan School, rather than Canadian art movements of the time. Members of these groups depicted the bustling streets of New York City in a colourful, expressive and anti-academic manner. Sheppard exemplifies this approach in many of his urban scenes, including paintings of Toronto, Montreal, and New York. The vibrant canvas “St. Lawrence Market” embodies these anti-aesthetic intentions in its decorative colour paletteand contemporary reflection of middle-class urban life. The centre of the composition is occupied by a horizontal band of wooden barrels and boxes painted in a harmonious combination of green, yellow, periwinkle and peach.

P.C. Sheppard was particularly captivated by subjects involving a human presence, particularly crowds in city streets, markets, county fairs, circuses and harbour scenes. Author and art historian Tom Smart writes in his recent book on Sheppard that “[i]n artistic terms, Sheppard identified with human subjects in gritty urban settings.” Smart elaborates further on Sheppard’s talent in painting city scenes, remarking that he “captured an essential liveliness, apparently easily, gesture and rhythms of line and colour simulate as if by magic the cacophony and harmonies of his subjects.” Sheppard’s “St. Lawrence Market” serves as a colourful and visually appealing image and record of Toronto’s history.

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Peter Clapham Sheppard
(1882 - 1965) OSA, RCA

Peter Clapham Sheppard was born in Toronto on October 21, 1881. He apprenticed at engraving houses such as at Rolph, Clark, Stone Ltd. in Toronto, where he became a highly skilled lithographer. He received his art training at the Central Ontario School of Art and Design and the Ontario College of Art under George Reid, John William Beatty, and William Cruickshank. Between 1912 and 1914, he obtained nine Honours Diplomas for for painting and drawing and was awarded the Sir Edmund Walker Scholarship and the Stone Scholarship (Life Classes).

After 1912, Sheppard travelled extensively throughout Europe and the United States. He was elected a member of the Ontario Society of Artists in 1918 and an Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1929. His works were shown in many of the annual R.C.A., O.S.A. and C.N.E. exhibitions, along side works by Tom Thomson, Frederick Varley and J.E.H. MacDonald. His artworks were also included in The British Empire Exhibition, Wembley 1925, L’Exposition D’Art Canadien, Paris 1927, The Exhibition of Contemporary Canadian Painting (Southern Dominions) 1936 and The World’s Fair, New York 1939. Sheppard’s work is held in collections including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Canadian War Museum and the National Gallery of Canada.

In 2010, Sheppard’s works were prominently featured in the “Defiant Spirits” exhibition at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario, curated by noted Canadian author Ross King. Powerful images such as “The Building of the Bloor Street Viaduct (1916)”, “Toronto Gasworks, (1912)” and “The Engine Home, (1919)” attested to Sheppard’s unchronicled contribution to modernism and to the city of Toronto in the formative years of its art history. P.C. Sheppard’s artwork is visible at the thirty-three second mark within this “Group of Seven: Defiant Sprits Exhibition” video -

(Source: The Estate of the Artist)