Artwork by Edith Grace Coombs,  The Magic of Morning (Boathouse)

Edith Coombs
The Magic of Morning (Boathouse)

oil on board
signed lower right; signed, titled, dated “January 1938” and inscribed “Looking East Neighick Lake” on the reverse; unframed
20 x 24 ins ( 50.8 x 61 cms )

Auction Estimate: $1,200.00$800.00 - $1,200.00

Price Realized $1,200.00
Sale date: March 26th 2024

Private Collection, Toronto

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Edith Grace Coombs
(1890 - 1986) RCA

Born in Hamilton, Ontario, her family moved to St. Catherines, and then Gananoque, where she attended school and received encouragement from a teacher named Rebecca Edwards. Mss Edwards loaned her a colour box and remained deeply interested in her painting throughout her career. Also at Gananoque, Grace Coombs met the Struden sisters who ran a special school and who encouraged her to teach there, giving her valuable experience for her future vocation of art teacher. Through the Strudens, she met many creative people including a poetess Agnes Machar who made copies of Turner's paintings while in Europe and passed on her knowledge of his technique to Miss Coombs.

When the Coombs family moves to Fort William, she painted the North Shore of Lake Superior later to be frequented by members of the Group of Seven. She entered the Ontario College of Art in 1913 where she had intended to study only one year but remained there until graduation in 1918 when she received her AOCA diploma. She taught at Edgehill College, Windsor, S.S.; Havergal College, Toronto; and was then appointed to Assistant teacher at the Ontario College of Art. In 1921 she became an associate Instructor as the Ontario College of Art and in 1928 was elected member of the Ontario Society of Artists. She studied in the USA at the New York School of Fine and Applied Art in 1929 when she obtained highest credits in Life Drawing and Commercial Art. The next year she became Instructor at the Ontario College of Art.

Her association with members of the Group of Seven and followers influences her paintings strongly. Perhaps her greatest individuality was obtained in her flower studies. In these she was greatly encourages by Robert Holmes. Most of them were done at her summer home in the Parry Sound District at Ahmic Harbour where 150 varieties of wild flowers grow. Her media have included oils, water colours, pastels, charcoal, crayon, pen and ink, and lithography. She illustrated several books including the “Rambles of a Canadian Naturalist” by T.S. Woods and “The Brave Little People” by Dorothy Campbell. She has also done sculpture under the direction of Emmanuel Hahn but discontinued this branch of fine art.

She has travelled widely and has exhibited in many of the major art shows, including the Willingdon Exhibition at Ottawa. She was a member of the Ontario Society of Artists, Life Fellow, International Institute of Arts and Letters, and past member of many other societies. Dr. Lorne Pierce wrote her biography which was published by Ryerson Press in 1949.

Source: "A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume I: A-F", compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd, Ottawa, 1977