Artwork by John A. Hammond,  Francois Millet's Studio at Barbizon France

John Hammond
Francois Millet's Studio at Barbizon France

oil on canvas board
signed, titled and inscribed “Property of Robert S. Black” on the reverse
11.25 x 13 ins ( 28.6 x 33 cms )

Auction Estimate: $1,500.00$1,000.00 - $1,500.00

Price Realized $1,200.00
Sale date: September 12th 2023

Acquired directly from the artist by F. J. Black, New Brunswick
By descent to Robert S. Black, New Brunswick
Bonhams, auction, Toronto, 20 November 2009, lot 183
Private Collection, Quebec
“John Hammond Exhibition”, Owens Art Gallery, Mount Allison University, Sackville, 30 July - 30 August 1981

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John A. Hammond
(1843 - 1939) R.C.A.

Born in Montreal, Quebec, he started work in a marble mill when he was nine and when he was eleven had decided to become an artist. He received his schooling in Montreal and later at the age of 23 joined the army regiment nicknamed “Ladies’ Pets” and was sent with this group to stop the Fenian rebels. After the Fenians were quelled, Hammond travelled with his brother to London, England, where they sailed for New Zealand in search of gold. They landed at Christchurch and travelled 120 miles by foot to the gold coast where they spent two and a half years panning for the precious metal. Whether Hammond did any drawing during that period is difficult to determine but most likely it was when he returned to Canada in 1870 and joined the Transcontinental Survey party who were engaged for the purpose of making preliminary studies for the building of a railway. In 1871 Hammond was employed by Wm. Notman Photographers in Montreal. It was here that he worked with artists J.A. Fraser, Henry Sandham, Otto Jacobi and W.P. Weston. He was then 28 and was working seriously towards becoming a full time painter, a goal he achieved by 1873 when he was elected member of the newly formed Ontario Society of Artists.

In 1880 he was in Saint John where he painted portraits (travelling as well to eastern United States). He sailed again for Europe in 1885 and painted at Dordrecht, Holland, then travelled to Italy. Hammond won two painting awards in the Paris Salon in 1886. He exhibited at the National Gallery, New York, in 1887 where he received honours at the Pan-American Exhibition in 1901. Hammond had been elected Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy In 1890 and full member in 1893 (his diploma picture was deposited with the Academy in 1894). He exhibited regularly in the R.C.A. shows between 1891 and 1935. Hammond was commissioned by Sir William Van Horne (founders of the C.P.R.) to do a number of large murals and paintings depicting the scenery of Western Canada and the C.P.R.’s part in opening the West.

In 1920 he held a solo show at the Jenkins Gallery when ‘The Toronto Star Weekly’ noted, “There are pictures of Holland in winter, of coast farms, and three bordered roads, but one feels that Mr. Hammond is essentially a painter of the sea and of the harbour, with its shipping, and that his greatest success are his atmospheric effects, when he fixes on canvas the prismatic beauty that comes from the sunlight struggling through the fog”.

A retrospective exhibition of Hammond’s work was held in 1967 at the Owens Art Gallery, Mount Allison University when Luke Rombout, Crator, and organizer of the exhibition, noted in the catalogue, “…he identified himself not with the weakness of Canadian art of his day, but rather with the search for a new aestheticism of late 19th century French painting and has he remained in France as did the Canadian painter James Wilson Morrice, would most certainly have been inspired to follow more closely the direction of the Impressionists. Instead, he returned to Saint John and continued on his own to paint the hazes, mists and fogs over and around Saint John Harbour. The stillness of the waters, the momentary quietness in nature, appealed particularly to him … His meticulous drawings reveal his excellent draughtsmanship and, at the same time, his attachment to European influences … his drawings are so much like his etchings, that most of them could have been executed with the printing process in mind. The precision in these drawings, his methodical approach, may be traced to his earlier days, when he was engaged in the art of miniature painting in Montreal, with Eaton and Sandham.” Mr. Rombout went on to note that his lithographs offered the most unexpected surprise and were almost contemporary in feeling.

Hammond was Director of the School of Art at Mount Allison from 1907 to 1919 when he retired. He was awarded an LL.D. in 1930. He died at Sackville at the age of 96.

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