Artwork by J. Archibald Browne,  Birches by a Lake

Archibald Browne
Birches by a Lake

oil on board
signed lower right
13 x 9.5 ins ( 33 x 24.1 cms )

Auction Estimate: $500.00$300.00 - $500.00

Price Realized $360.00
Sale date: August 17th 2021

Joyner Fine Art, auction, Toronto, June 2, 2011, Lot 515
Private Collection, Ontario

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J. Archibald Browne
(1862 - 1948)

Born in Liverpool, England, of Scottish parents, he spent his boyhood days at Blantyre, Scotland, and as a young man worked as a bank clerk. When he came to Canada in 1888 he worked in commercial offices until he decided to become a painter. A. H. Robson seems to intimate that Browne went back to Scotland to study under Macaulay Stevenson and then returned to Toronto where he became active in art circles. He did study under this Scottish artist and also under William Cruikshank in Toronto but was mainly self-taught.

He was a founding member of the Canadian Art Club which had in its membership, Horatio Walker, Homer Watson, Curtis Williamson, Franklin Brownwell, W. E. Atkinson, James Wilson Morrice, William Brymner and Edmund Morris. He moved to Montreal in 1923. When Browne was 61, a booklet entitled “Archibald Browne” compiled by R. C. Reade was printed in Montreal which contained a number of press comments on the artist. Unfortunately an error in Browne’s birth place had occurred, recording it as being in Scotland. This might have been one reason why a good many newspapers recorded the same error, although he did spend his early childhood in that country.

Browne settled in Lancaster, Ontario in 1927 where he painted the Laurentians. Augustus Bridle some years later described his canvases in these words, “In some of them the old artist recaptures his younger magic of trees clutching the ambient air . . . A few portray the luminous after glow of far-out sunsets at dusk. Most of them are weirdly beautiful with that translucent ecstasy which long ago in his 40’s Browne chose as his birthright from the highland glens near Scotland.”

In 1927 Browne also won the highest prize for oils at the 44th Spring Exhibition of the Quebec Art Association for his canvas “Slumbering Waters” which was acquired by the Quebec Museum. Like a good many of his canvases this was a nocturnal scene with moon light. His painting “The Mountaineer’s Home” appeared in A. H. Robson’s book “Canadian Landscape Painters” with the following caption, “The mystery of twilight, and a sense of poetry and charm are the qualities to look for in the canvases by the artist.”

He was known to some as the “Poet Painter of Canada.” His last large exhibition was held in Montreal in 1946. He was elected A.R.C.A. 1913 and R.C.A. 1915. He is represented in the National Gallery of Canada by three canvases “A Midsummer Night”, “Silver Birches” and “Winter Moonrise.” Two of his canvases are hung at the Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School.

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