Artwork by Frederick Arthur Verner,  The Rest, Muskoka River

F.A. Verner
The Rest, Muskoka River

oil on canvas
signed and dated 1873 lower left; titled on a label on the reverse
12 x 18 ins ( 30.5 x 45.7 cms )

Auction Estimate: $15,000.00$12,000.00 - $15,000.00

Price Realized $10,800.00
Sale date: November 22nd 2021

Private Collection, Ontario
Purchased in 1978 from the above by the Present, Private Collection, Toronto
“Ontario Society of Artists 1st Annual Exhibition”, Notman & Fraser’s Art Galleries, Toronto, April 1873, no. 100 (as “The Rest, Muskoka R.”)
Joan Murray, “The Last Buffalo: The Story of Frederick Arthur Verner, Painter of the Canadian West”, Toronto, 1984, pages 43-45
The region of Muskoka acted as the main stomping ground for Frederick Verner prior to his trip west in September 1873. “The Rest, Muskoka River” illustrates Verner’s interest and fascination with perspective, atmospheric effects, and the use of colour. The grandeur of the scene is evident, as the large, shadowy rocks dwarf the small figure in red. This figure is captured in a moment of quiet repose as he fishes, his canoe haphazardly pulled ashore. As Joan Murray aptly states, Verner, was “a poet of the scene he surveyed.”

The Ontario Society of Artists (OSA) was founded in the summer of 1872 at the home of fellow artist, John A. Fraser. Verner was an accepted member of the Canadian community of artists by this time and was included as a founder of the group, even with his absence. In April of 1873, when the OSA began to show works by its members, Verner exhibited with them. The artist included seventeen paintings in this important first exhibition, including “The Rest, Muskoka River”.

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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.