John Alexander Hall OSA, CSGA, PDCC (1914)
John Alexander Hall is a painter, graphic artist, illustrator, designer and educator. He was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has lived and worked in the Greater Toronto Area all of his life.
His mediums include oil, watercolor, pen and ink, pastel and (earlier) wood carving. His subjects are landscape, genre, figures and portraits. His styles are Realism, Impressionism and Plein Air. (1)
He studied at the Ontario College of Art, Toronto (1933 - 37) under Franklin Carmichael, Yvonne McKague Housser, John W. Beatty and John Alfsen (see all in AskART).
He also studied sculpture with Frances Loring (see AskART). His father-in-law was Barker Fairley (see AskART) and he and his associates including A.Y. Jackson, Fred Varley and Arthur Lismer (see all in AskART) would also have been influences on Hall's art. His stated influences were the work of J.E.H.MacDonald, Thoreau MacDonald, Tom Thomson, Goodridge Roberts, and Emily Carr (see all in AskART)
Hall taught at Upper Canada College (preparatory school) from 1936 to 1946 and was an associate professor in drawing and design in the Architecture Department of the University of Toronto from 1946 to 1980. In addition, he taught weekend and summer art classes for various organizations including the Art Gallery of Ontario (1936 - 1937) and the Ontario Department of Education (art teachers summer courses from 1938 to 1973).
He has worked as a designer on projects for the Canadian National Exhibition (Toronto), the Canadian Pavilion at the Brussels World's Fair (1958) and for the Hamilton (Ontario) City Hall (interior and exterior mosaics, as well as consultant). He has also designed typography, furniture and theatrical sets (for the Hart House Theatre, Toronto).
Some of the books he has illustrated are: Glooscap's Country (1956), by Cyrus Macmillan, Oxford University Press; No Place Like Home (1959), by Dominic Reeve, Book Society of Canada Ltd.; Beckoning Trails (1948) by P.W. Diebel, Ryerson, Toronto; The Great Chief (1957), by Edgar Wood, Macmillan, Toronto; The Grandmothers (1949), by Kathleen Coburn, Oxford University Press, Toronto; These English (1949), by Bernard Braden, McClelland & Stewart Ltd.; and The Road Across Canada (1965), by Edward McCourt, Macmillan, Toronto.
He has been a member of the Ontario Society of Artists since 1948, the Canadian Society of Graphic Art (2) since 1940 (President 1947- 49) (Vice-Pres. 1960) and the Canadian Society of Book Illustrators (1966-70).
In addition to exhibiting with the above artist organizations he has also exhibited at the New York World's Fair (1939); the National Museum of Fine Arts of Rio de Janeiro (1944); Victoria College, University of Toronto (1952); with the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (1946, 50); and at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1940). He has also exhibited with the Canadian Group of Painters, the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolor and at the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa) .
His works are in many private collections. They are also in the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Galley of Ontario (Toronto) and the Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa, Ontario).
He is listed in A Dictionary of Canadian Artists (1974), by Colin S. MacDonald; in The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction (2001), by Anthony R. Westbridge and Diana L. Bodnar; in Jaques Cattell Press Who's Who in American Art 15th Edition (1982); and in Canadian Who’s Who 1996 – Volume XXXI (1996), edited by Elizabeth Lumley.
(1) The sculptor E.B.Cox (see AskART) a good friend of Hall's, says he used to go on painting trips with him. While Hall painted Cox (who didn't paint) would play Beethoven records on a wind-up phonograph.
(2) In 1976 the Society of Canadian Painter-Etchers and Engravers merged with the Canadian Society of Graphic Art to form the Print and Drawing Council of Canada (PDCC).
Prepared and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke.