Artwork by Maurice Galbraith Cullen,  The Deep Pool
Thumbnail of Artwork by Maurice Galbraith Cullen,  The Deep Pool Thumbnail of Artwork by Maurice Galbraith Cullen,  The Deep Pool Thumbnail of Artwork by Maurice Galbraith Cullen,  The Deep Pool

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Cowley Abbott
326 Dundas St West
Toronto ON M5T 1G5
Ph. 1(416)479-9703

Lot #22

Maurice Cullen
The Deep Pool

oil on canvas
signed lower right; titled on labels on the reverse; Cullen Inventory No. 1081
24 x 18 ins ( 61 x 45.7 cms )

Estimated: $80,000.00$60,000.00 - $80,000.00

W.R. Watson, Westmount, Quebec
The Estate of Claire Watson Fisher, Victoria, British Columbia
Private Collection
“300 Years of Canadian Art”, The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa,
May 12 – September 17, 1967, no. 226
“Maurice Cullen, 1866-1934”, National Gallery of Canada, travelling to the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Art Gallery of Toronto, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, October 5, 1956 – July 14, 1957, no. 71
“Exhibition of Canadian Painting by a Group of Selected Artists”, National
Gallery of Canada, November – December 1935, no. 55
William R. Watson, “Maurice Cullen, R.C.A.”, Toronto, 1930, page 22
Donald W. Buchanan (ed.), “Canadian Painters from Paul Kane to the Group of Seven”, Oxford/London, 1945, plate 13, reproduced
T.R. MacDonald and Robert Pilot (Foreword), “Maurice Cullen, 1866-1934”, Art Gallery of Hamilton, 1956, no. 71, reproduced, not paginated
R.H. Hubbard, “The Development of Canadian Art, Ottawa”, 1963, reproduced page 82
R. H. Hubbard and J.R. Ostiguy, “300 Years of Canadian Art”, The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1967, page 138, listed as no. 226, and reproduced page 139
“A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume I: A-F”, compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd., Ottawa, 1977, pages 158-159 for a reference to “Deep Pool”
Sylvia Antoniou, “Maurice Cullen, 1866-1934”, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, 1982, page 41 and page 108, no. 71, listed as “The Deep Pool – St. Margarets”
A.K. Prakash, “Impressionism in Canada: A Journey of Rediscovery”, Stuttgart, 2015, page 311
Upon his return to Montreal in 1919, Maurice Cullen continued teaching, as well as exhibiting with both the Art Association of Montreal and the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. In 1923, William Watson, an esteemed Montreal art dealer, provided Cullen and Robert Pilot with an exhibition of their artworks at his gallery. The result of this connection was a lifelong and fruitful relationship between Cullen and Watson. This first exhibition at Watson Art Galleries was met with great success and “Cullen’s sales totalled an amazing $6,362.” As Sylvia Antoniou shares, “Watson’s support and promotion of the artist’s Laurentian landscapes played an important role in Cullen’s production.” Cullen continued exhibiting with Watson every year thereafter until 1934.

Cullen was determined to give Canadians the opportunity to appreciate the impressionist art he admired in Paris, and to portray the Canadian landscape in this preferred style. “The Deep Pool” showcases Cullen’s ability to adapt his impressionist approach to the Quebec wilderness. Cullen always sketched outdoors, even during the coldest months while standing in snowshoes, capturing the beauty of the snowy wilderness and the crisp air of the province’s frigid winter. Cullen created a completely new vision of the Canadian wilderness, which influenced the next generation of landscape artists, including the Group of Seven.

“The Deep Pool”, a quintessential Laurentian landscape painting, was originally in the personal collection of William Watson at his home in Westmount. Watson published a book on Maurice Cullen in 1930, vividly describing his Laurentian landscape paintings: “In deep winter under a canopy of snow, when the woods are a silhouette of black against a shimmer of radiant light, Cullen paints his poem to the glory of the Laurentian winter. In his pictures one feels the very mood of hushed solitude, the exquisite silence of the snow-enshrouded world. It is indeed the very soul of this country that he paints.”
Sale Date: September 24th 2020

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Cowley Abbott
326 Dundas St West
Toronto ON M5T 1G5
Ph. 1(416)479-9703

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Maurice Galbraith Cullen
(1866 - 1934) RCA

Maurice Cullen was born in St. John's Newfoundland, 1866. His family moved to Montreal in 1870. He studied sculpture at Monument National under Philippe Hebert. He assisted Hébert in the making of the Apostle figures for the facade of St. James Cathedral. The legacy left to him after the death of his mother in 1887 enabled him to travel to Paris and study sculpture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He was tremendously impressed by the work of Claude Monet and other Impressionists which swayed him to become a painter. He studied painting under Eli Delauney in 1889 at the Beaux-Arts and in 1892 left the school to paint landscapes at Moret, Every, and Le Pouldu. In 1894 five of his paintings were shown at the Salon. On a trip to Brittany he met the Norwegian painter Fritz Thaulow, they had much in common. Thaulow may have influenced him in choosing winter landscapes.

In 1895 he was elected Associate of the Societe nationale des Beaux-Arts, France. That same year he returned to Montreal where he opened a studio, making sketching trips along the St. Lawrence near Quebec City and Beaupre. By 1897 he was exhibited with the Royal Canadian Academy and participated in Spring Exhibitions of the Art Association of Montreal. At the time there was very little interest in Canadian snow scenes. In 1900 Cullen held an exhibition of his French and Canadian paintings at the Fraser Institute but sold none of these works. They offered little competition for the Dutch 19th Century paintings which were then in vogue. His lack of success left him undeterred however, and he continued sketching in Montreal and Levis. His night scenes of shops with their glowing windows reflecting light in the snowy streets, were breaking new ground by their “ordinary everyday subjects” as was noted by Dr. Hubbard in his book.

In 1907 Cullen was elected full member of the Royal Canadian Academy. He was a fine craftsman and was very careful with the media he used. He worked with thick surfaces throughout, or totally thin surfaces, and presently his canvases pose few problems for restorers. He seldom used more than eight colours in oil painting because he was wary of the manufactured colour blends. He made his own pastels from earths and other pigments which he then applied with a minimum of rubbing.

By the early teens he was exhibiting regularly with the Canadian Art Club in Toronto and in 1918 Cullen went to France as an official war artist with the rank of captain. One of his stepsons, Robert Pilot, became a distinguished painter and President if the Royal Canadian Academy. Cullen moved toward clearer atmospheres in his paintings and away from the soft and misty atmospheres of the French Impressionists. This development was perhaps epitomized in his canvas “Deep Pool”. He painted on the Island of Orleans with Horatio Walker, Edmond Dyonnet, and William Brymner and painted with F. S. Coburn whim he encouraged in winter landscapes, also James Wilson Morrice and others. He died at Chambly, Quebec, at the age of 68. A large retrospective exhibition of his works was held in 1956 at the National Gallery of Canada.

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