Artwork by Peleg Franklin Brownell,  Trilliums

Franklin Brownell

signed lower left
12 x 9.5 ins ( 30.5 x 24.1 cms ) ( sight )

Auction Estimate: $700.00$500.00 - $700.00

Price Realized $2,596.00
Sale date: February 18th 2020

Field Marshal Julian Byng, 1st Viscount Byng of Vimy
Private Collection, Toronto

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Peleg Franklin Brownell
(1857 - 1946) RCA, OSA

Franklin Brownell was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts and studied at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts under Thomas W. Dewing and the Academie Julian in Paris under Tony Robert-Fleury, W. A. Bourguereau and later Leon Bonnat. After spending some time in Montreal where he was married in 1899, he moved to Ottawa in 1886 to become the headmaster of the Ottawa Art School, which would later become the Art Association of Ottawa.

Brownell, a traditional painter, was elected a member of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1895 and five years later won a bronze medal at the Paris Exhibition for his painting “The Photographer.” In 1907 he became a member of the Canadian Art Club which had in its membership, H. Walker, H. Watson, C. Williamson, Archibald Browne, W. E. Atkinson, James W. Morrice, W. Brymner, and Edmund Morris. Brownell and Browne were the only members not born in Canada.

Brownell painted in the Gatineau, and in other areas about Ottawa and was described by the Ottawa Journal during his 1922 retrospective in these words, “ Mr. Brownell is yet in his prime as a painter although he is the brilliant historian of dozens of beautiful places within a day’s travel from Ottawa, among the 81 pictures are several portraits, and figures, which provide efficient proof of his versatility.”

Brownell exhibited a number of times at the Art Studios of James Wilson & Co. on Sparks Street in Ottawa. He visited the West Indies around 1913 and 1914, about the time “Canada and Its Provinces” was published in which E. F. B. Johnston wrote “He is a most sympathetic landscape painter, his work being noted for its purity of colour. His groups of nude figures are admirably composed and painted with tender feeling. He likewise excels as a portrait painter.” Eric Brown wrote of his work as follows, “Who is there who does not feel happier when he sees the blue sky, the green fields and bright flowers and the sparkling sea . . .”

His work, which was characterized by a realism and based in impressionism, was greatly appreciated by his peers. He painted in the Gaspe, Algonquin Park, the Gatineau Hills and the West Indies where he vacationed. Fellow artist, A.H.Robinson remarked: "His canvases have a shimmering radiance of light, a subtle feeling for values and sound, capable craftsmanship."

In 1922, the National Gallery of Canada held a retrospective exhibition of Brownell's work, a great honour. A prominent art teacher Brownell organized and exhibition of 111 canvases done by his students at the James Wilson & Co. in 1934 which was very well received. He retired from the Art Association of Ottawa in 1937. The National Gallery of Canada has over a score of his paintings, including his well known “Waiting for the Nevis Boats” a reproduction of which appeared in “Canadian Painters” and “A Century of Canadian Art”, a catalogue from the Tate Gallery exhibition of 1938.

Source: "A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume I: A-F", compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd, Ottawa, 1977