Artwork by John Innes,  Education of the Broncos: No. 5, “Graduated”

John Innes
Education of the Broncos: No. 5, “Graduated”

ink drawing
signed and titled in the lower margin; a small sketch (1.25 ins x 3 ins) of a pistol and four playing cards (aces) affixed within the lower left margin area
9.5 x 12.25 ins ( 24.1 x 31.1 cms ) ( sight )

Auction Estimate: $900.00$700.00 - $900.00

Price Realized $600.00
Sale date: March 21st 2023

Private Collection, Toronto

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John Innes
(1863 - 1941) OSA

Born in London, Ontario he was educated at Hellmuth College, London, Ontario and in England at King’s College, Sherbourne and the Dufferin Military Academy. Bruce Cowan noted that Innes had written the following, “As the years passed it became increasingly evident that unkind fate had palmed off an artist on my sorrowing family… Therefore it was determined to send me to college in the Old Country - no doubt in the hope that I might reform. In England I became rapidly worse. More prizes for design, and ever increasing anathemas for everything else. I was allowed to stay to study art.” He was referring mostly to Dufferin Academy where he did well in deign, drafting and painting.

Through these abilities he got a job with a survey party in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies where he made maps and sketches for Ross, Mann and Holt. Following his service with that company Innes took up ranching at the old town of Calgary but later he moved to the mouth of the High River where he sold horses.

After twelve or so years in the West, Innes went to Toronto where he worked for the ‘Mail and Empire’ as cartoonist while he studied under William Cruikshank and exhibited with the Ontario Society of Artists. He returned West with writer John P. McConnell where they wrote articles and stories for a number of periodicals. He went to South Africa with the Second Canadian Mounted Rifles where he acted as correspondent (1902) for the Mail and Empire. He returned to Canada and in 1904 was elected member of the Ontario Society of Artists and by 1907 was in New York as staff artist for the Hearst Sunday newspapers. In the United States he contributed illustrations to magazines and newspapers as well as in Canada.

He returned to the Canadian West in 1913 to begin a series of historical illustrations and made his home in Vancouver. In 1919 he exhibited for the first time with the B.C. Society of Fine Arts. Then he was commissioned by the Native Sons of British Columbia to paint eight large canvases, depicting the highlights of the History of British Columbia, which were hung in the University of British Columbia on loan. It was through Arthur P. Denby his patron, that Innes was able to paint his famous “The Epic of Western Canada” (a series of 30 canvases) and “The Epic of Transportation” (21 canvases). The first series was exhibited in the Hudson’s Bay galleries in Vancouver and later purchased by that company; “The Epic of Transportation” became the property of the Glenbow Foundation in Calgary.

He did several small works of western subject matter before he died in 1941 at the age of 78. Bruce Cowan related Innes’ own feelings on his career as follows, “…Everywhere my brush has told, and I trust always will tell, the glories of the great wide land. In the cow camps, in the lodges of long-dead chiefs, in construction camps, on the mountain tops, or out upon the Prairies criss-crossed with the buffalo trails, I have learned the lore of Western Canada… That is why I have been called ‘The Painter of the Canadian West.’ ”

Source: "A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume II”, compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd, Ottawa, 1979