Artwork by Peter Clapham Sheppard,  Bonsecours Market, Montreal

P.C. Sheppard
Bonsecours Market, Montreal

oil on board
signed lower left; titled on the reverse
8.5 x 10.5 ins ( 21.6 x 26.7 cms )

Auction Estimate: $15,000.00$10,000.00 - $15,000.00

Price Realized $28,800.00
Sale date: December 1st 2022

Private Collection
Tom Smart, “Peter Clapham Sheppard: His Life and Work”, Richmond Hill, Ontario, 2018, pages 124, 139
A Toronto native, Peter Clapham Sheppard occupies a place in Canadian art history among a generation of artists that established a distinctively Canadian school of art. While the painter studied, sketched and exhibited alongside members of the Group of Seven, Sheppard found inspiration in more broad subject matter, including landscapes, portraits, still lifes, city and harbour scenes. Sheppard bore witness to the steady construction and urbanization that took place in Canadian and American cities during the first half of the twentieth century, which inspired much of his artistic oeuvre.

Author and art historian Tom Smart writes that “[i]n artistic terms, Sheppard identified with human subjects in gritty urban settings.” Smart elaborates further on Sheppard’s talent in painting city scenes, remarking that he “captured an essential liveliness, apparently easily, gesture and rhythms of line and colour simulate as if by magic the cacophony and harmonies of his subjects.” “In Bonsecours Market”, the viewer can sense this liveliness of three subjects in view: the horses, the group of people, and the buildings. A cheerful palette is repeated throughout every area of the canvas.

Built in 1847, the Bonsecours market was the main public market in the Montreal area for more than one hundred years. The Neoclassical building brought together a multitude of vendors and shoppers from across the city and out of town. It is a prime subject matter for P.C. Sheppard, as he was particularly captivated by subjects involving a human presence, particularly crowds in city streets, markets, county fairs, circuses and harbour scenes.
This painting set a new auction record for the artist, realizing $28,800 in the evening live auction of An Important Private Collection of Canadian Art on December 1st, 2022.

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Peter Clapham Sheppard
(1882 - 1965) OSA, RCA

Peter Clapham Sheppard was born in Toronto on October 21, 1881. He apprenticed at engraving houses such as at Rolph, Clark, Stone Ltd. in Toronto, where he became a highly skilled lithographer. He received his art training at the Central Ontario School of Art and Design and the Ontario College of Art under George Reid, John William Beatty, and William Cruickshank. Between 1912 and 1914, he obtained nine Honours Diplomas for for painting and drawing and was awarded the Sir Edmund Walker Scholarship and the Stone Scholarship (Life Classes).

After 1912, Sheppard travelled extensively throughout Europe and the United States. He was elected a member of the Ontario Society of Artists in 1918 and an Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1929. His works were shown in many of the annual R.C.A., O.S.A. and C.N.E. exhibitions, along side works by Tom Thomson, Frederick Varley and J.E.H. MacDonald. His artworks were also included in The British Empire Exhibition, Wembley 1925, L’Exposition D’Art Canadien, Paris 1927, The Exhibition of Contemporary Canadian Painting (Southern Dominions) 1936 and The World’s Fair, New York 1939. Sheppard’s work is held in collections including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Canadian War Museum and the National Gallery of Canada.

In 2010, Sheppard’s works were prominently featured in the “Defiant Spirits” exhibition at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario, curated by noted Canadian author Ross King. Powerful images such as “The Building of the Bloor Street Viaduct (1916)”, “Toronto Gasworks, (1912)” and “The Engine Home, (1919)” attested to Sheppard’s unchronicled contribution to modernism and to the city of Toronto in the formative years of its art history. P.C. Sheppard’s artwork is visible at the thirty-three second mark within this “Group of Seven: Defiant Sprits Exhibition” video -

(Source: The Estate of the Artist)