Artwork by Frederick Arthur Verner,  Indian Maiden
Thumbnail of Artwork by Frederick Arthur Verner,  Indian Maiden Thumbnail of Artwork by Frederick Arthur Verner,  Indian Maiden Thumbnail of Artwork by Frederick Arthur Verner,  Indian Maiden

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

Lot #155

F.A. Verner
Indian Maiden

oil on canvas
signed and dated indistinctly (1874) lower right
21.5 x 17.25 ins ( 54.6 x 43.8 cms )

Estimated: $15,000.00$10,000.00 - $15,000.00

Closes September 28th at 04:15:00 PM EDT

Estimated: $15,000.00$10,000.00 - $15,000.00

Next bid is $7,000.00

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Provenance:
Masters Gallery, Calgary
Private Collection, Calgary
Frederick Arthur Verner's own peers in the field of painting the West, such as American western painter Charles Russell, recognized Verner's genius. So did the Canadian and English public of the day which avidly bought Verner's work. His vision of Indian life was enormously popular during his long and productive career, from 1862 to 1928. During this span, Verner exhibited with the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts from its founding in 1880 until his death in 1928, the Ontario Society of Artists from 1872 until 1911 and the Art Association of Montreal from 1872 until 1922. 

Along with Lucius O'Brien, Verner was one of the few painters of his generation born in Ontario. He was also one of the first to attend and record a decisive historical event - the North-West Angle Treaty of 1873, Indian Treaty No. 3, which determined for Canada the disposition of 55,000 critical square miles and structured the settlement of the Canadian West. Verner would likely have left Toronto in the spring of 1873 after the opening of the Ontario Society of Artists (OSA) show and travelled west. Not much is known of Verner's trip west or if he even went further than Winnipeg. What we do know is by September of 1873 he was on his way home to Toronto. Verner's travels through Winnipeg took him to Lake of the Woods where he would witness and record the signing of Treaty No. 3. After October 4, Verner continued east to Rainy River, Fort Frances and by October 13 he was in Island Portage on the Winnipeg River, between the Thousand Islands and Fort Williams.

On his return home, Verner immediately began to use the precious sketches he had produced from life to paint larger works. Verner's trip west was the most important event in his life and the sketches he made there became the touchstone to which he often returned in later paintings.

Verner devoted 1874 to developing a number of canvases based on the small sketches he had drawn at the Lake of the Woods. One such canvas, a half-length, profile portrait of a beautiful Indigenous girl with long dark hair, titled Wa-Pa-Sto Ka, Ojibway Belle at Fort Frances was shown in the OSA exhibition later in 1874. The art reviewer from the Daily Globe praised the painting as "not at all idealized" and admired the subjects soft, meltingly proud look. Verner's reuse of motifs is well observed. “Indian Maiden” from the same year as Ojibway Belle seems to be another version of this well received, rare work.

Verner's early oil portraits of first nations subject matter simply do not exist in the private market. Not since 1984, when In War Paint, at the Treaty, Lake of the Woods, a 1864 canvas came to auction at Sotheby's Canada, has the opportunity to acquire such a rare and wonderful work been available to collectors.

Source: “The Last Buffalo” by Joan Murray
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Cowley Abbott
326 Dundas St West
Toronto ON M5T 1G5
Ph. 1(416)479-9703


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Frederick Arthur Verner
(1836 - 1928) OSA, ARCA

Born in Ontario, Frederick Arthur Verner enrolled at London's Heatherley's Academy in 1856. He served in the British military, first in 1858 in the Yorkshire militia and then in the British Legion in 1860. Two years later, Verner returned to Canada and worked as a photograph colourist, but spent the majority of his time sketching the wilderness and Indian tribal communities in his area. He co-founded the Ontario Society of Artists in 1872 and exhibited regularly with the group until he moved to England in 1880. His romantic Native American genre scenes had gained tremendous popularity overseas. Verner continued to paint in this style, returning to Canada every so often to gain source material.