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 Thomas Harold Beament  (1898 - 1984)

About: Thomas Harold Beament
 

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Lived/Active: Quebec/Ontario / Canada      Known for: landscape and marine painting, murals, illustration, teaching

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Thomas Harold Beament RCA, CSGA (1898 – 1984)
 
Commander Thomas Harold Beament was a painter, draftsman, commercial artist, muralist, illustrator, educator, President of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts* and a famous Canadian war artist. Hundreds of his paintings and drawings are in Canadian museums.
 
He was born in Ottawa, Ontario and died in Montreal, Quebec, his home since 1926. (1)
 
His mediums were oil, watercolor, pastel, pencil, Conte Crayon*, pen & ink, charcoal and lithography*. His subjects included portraits, landscapes, figures, nudes, mountains, seascapes, industry and genre*. However his most famous works are of Canadian Navy subjects and of Eskimo (Inuit) genre. His style was Realism*. AskART have some good illustrations of his work. (2)
 
Beament studied law at Osgoode Hall, Toronto (1922). His only formal art training appears to be evening classes taken at the Ontario College of Art, Toronto under John W. Beatty (see AskART), at the same time he attended law school. (3)
 
Between 1926 and 1930, he worked as a commercial artist in Montréal.
 
His teaching career included short periods at two institutions – the Art Association of Montreal [now the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts] (1936 – 1937) and the Nova Scotia College of Art (1962 – 1963). However, he taught privately for over 20 years from 1936 to 1957.
 
Beament served in the Canadian Navy in World War I (1917 – 1918), rising from the rank of Seaman to Warrant Officer. After law school, he continued in the Navy and Navy reserve (c.1923) until 1947, retiring with the rank of Commander. During World War II he served in combat as the skipper of a minesweeper in the North Atlantic and from 1943 to 1947 as the Senior Naval War Artist for Canada. (4)

His extensive travels include Britain, the West Indies, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Panama, the Southern United States and throughout Canada including the arctic regions (Baffin Island). (5)

He was a member of the Canadian Society of Graphic Art* (1926 – 1928), the Arts Club of Montreal* and the Pen and Pencil Club of Montreal (1952). In 1936 he was elected an associate of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts* and in 1947 an Academician (6). He served in the RCA as Secretary Treasurer (1960 – 1961), Vice President (1962 – 1963) and President (1964 – 1967). (7)

In addition to exhibiting with the above organizations, he also exhibited with the Ontario Society of Artists* from 1924 to 1927 and the Art Association of Montreal [now Montreal Museum of Fine Arts] from 1925 to 1967. (8)

Since the 1920s Beamant’s works have been featured in numerous group exhibitions at major public venues such as “Graphic Art”, at the Art Gallery of Toronto [now Art Gallery of Ontario] (1924); “British Empire Exposition”, Wembley, England (1924 and 1925); “Annual Exhibition of Canadian Art”, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (1926); “Exposition d'art Canadien”, Musée du Jeu de Paume, Paris (1927); “A Century of Canadian Art”, Tate Gallery, London, England (1938); "Canadian War Art", National Gallery, London, England (1944); “A Terrible Beauty: The Art of Canada at War”, Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario and touring (1977); “Through An-Other's Eyes: White Canadian Artists-Black Female Subjects”, Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario (1998); “Canvas of War: Painting the Canadian Experience, 1914 - 1945”, Art Gallery of Ontario (2001); and “1953”, Robert McLaughlin Gallery (2003). (9)

Through the years, his works have also been exhibited in prestigious commercial galleries including Watson Art Galleries, Montreal, Quebec; Roberts Gallery, Toronto; and Laing Galleries, Toronto, Ontario.

His works are actively traded on the Canadian auction market, they are in many private collections, and they are in several major Canadian public collections.

According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network* and individual museum websites, there are Thomas Harold Beament works in the permanent collections of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Kingston, Ontario), Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (B.C.), Art Gallery of Hamilton (Ontario), Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Halifax), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Beaverbrook Art Gallery (Fredericton, New Brunswick), Canadian War Museum (Ottawa), Joliette Art Museum (Quebec), McCord Museum of Canadian History (Montreal), McMichael Canadian Art Collection (Kleinburg, Ontario), Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art (Quebec), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec), Museum London (Ontario), Ottawa Art Gallery (Ontario), Owens Art Gallery (Sackville, N.B.), Quebec Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec City), Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa, Ontario), Winnipeg Art Gallery (Manitoba) and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa). (10)

The National Archives of Canada also has a large collection of Beament art work. In addition to a collection of his textual material and ephemera; like correspondence, clippings of commercial artwork, 543 photographs, reproductions of his paintings, exhibition and auction catalogues, notices and news clippings; the collection holds one oil painting and 1,053 original drawings in various mediums such as pencil, charcoal, Conté crayon, pastel and pen & ink. (11)

Beament’s awards and honors include the Jessie Dow Prize* in 1935, the Volunteer Officers Decoration in 1943, the Centennial Medal in 1967, and the Queen's Jubilee medal in 1977. (12)

He was also chosen to design the 10 cent stamp with an Eskimo figure for the Canadian Postal Service in 1955. (13)

Footnotes:

(1) Source: The Canadian Heritage Information Network*.

Note: Thomas Harold Beament RCA (1898 – 1984) is the father of the artist Thomas Harold Beament RCA (1941) known as Tib Beament (see AskART).

(2) Sources: AskART Images; and museum illustrations and descriptions of mediums in the Canadian Heritage Information Network* data base.

(3) Education and teaching sources: The National Gallery of Canada: Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture, Volume III (1960), by R.H. Hubbard; A Dictionary of Canadian Artists (1974), by Colin S. MacDonald; and Art Gallery of Ontario – The Canadian Collection (1970), by Helen Pepall Bradfield (see AskART book references).

Note: Osgoode Hall, founded in 1889, is a famous Canadian Law School. It was at the time independent, since 1968 it has been affiliated with York University. Source: Osgoode Hall Law School.

(4) Military record source: National Archives of Canada – http://www.archivescanada.ca/english/search/ItemDisplay.asp?sessionKey=1297493574061_142_78_200_11&l=0&v=0&lvl=1&coll=1&rt=1&itm=261891&rsn=S_WWWbbaYGqIDN&all=1&dt=AW+"thomas"+AND+"harold"+AND+"beament"&spi=-

(5) Travel source: A Dictionary of Canadian Artists (1974), by Colin S. MacDonald (see AskART book references).

(6) Note: Before 1949 there was no retirement age in the RCA and its constitution allowed a total of only 40 Academicians; made up of 22 painters, 5 sculptors, 9 architects, and 4 designers, etchers and engravers. The amount of associate members was not limited and in 1946 there were 65. Therefore an associate had to wait for an academician to die or resign to have a chance at advancement and a vote. In 1949 the constitution was amended to increase the number of Academicians to 45 and adopt a retirement age of 70. In 1973 the constitution was again changed to drop the designation Associate (ARCA) and replace it with RCA elect (RCAe) indicating the member had not yet presented diploma work. There are currently (2011) over 700 members of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Sources: "Passionate Spirits: A History of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, 1880 – 1980" (1980), by Rebecca Sisler (see AskART book references); and the RCA – http://www.rca-arc.ca/en/about_members/index.asp.

(7) Sources: A Dictionary of Canadian Artists (1974), by Colin S. MacDonald; Passionate Spirits: A History of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, 1880 – 1980" (1980), by Rebecca Sisler; and Art Gallery of Ontario – The Canadian Collection (1970), by Helen Pepall Bradfield (see AskART book references).

(8) Sources: Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art*; and The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction (2001), by Anthony R. Westbridge and Diana L. Bodnar (see AskART book references).

(9) Exhibition sources: the Art Gallery of Ontario (catalogue summaries online); National Gallery of Canada Archives (Wembley catalogues for 1924 and 1925 online); Roberts Gallery, Toronto; “The National Gallery of Canada: Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture, Volume III” (1960), by R.H. Hubbard; "A Dictionary of Canadian Artists" (1974), by Colin S. MacDonald; "Art Gallery of Ontario – The Canadian Collection" (1970), by Helen Pepall Bradfield; and “A Terrible Beauty: The Art of Canada at War” (1977), by Heather Robertson (see AskART book references).

Note: As information officer at the Canadian Pavilion of the 1924 “British Empire Exposition”, Thomas Beament, accompanied by Eric Brown (Director of the National Gallery of Canada), escorted King George V, the Queen, the Prince of Wales (future King Edward VIII) and the Duke of York (future King George VI) through the pavilion. Source: Page 109, "Passionate Spirits: A History of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, 1880 – 1980" (1980), by Rebecca Sisler (see AskART book references).

(10) Additional museum sources: Ottawa Art Gallery (Ontario) and Owens Art Gallery (Sackville, N.B.).

(11) Source: National Archives of Canada – http://www.archivescanada.ca/english/search/ItemDisplay.asp?sessionKey=1297274124023_142_78_200_11&l=0&v=0&lvl=1&coll=1&rt=1&itm=261891&rsn=S_WWWvbakNDMUJ&all=1&dt=AW+"Harold"+AND+"Beament"&spi=-.

(12) Source: Ibid.  

(13) Source: A Dictionary of Canadian Artists (1974), by Colin S. MacDonald (see AskART book references).

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see AskART.com Glossary http://www.askart.com/AskART/lists/Art_Definition.aspx.

Prepared and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke.

 


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Ottawa, Beament served in the Royal Canadian Navy during WWI.  He completed a Law degree in 1922 and the same year attended life drawing classes at the Ontario College of Art, under J.W. Beatty.  He developed a style of decorative realism in his painting and taught at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art.  

He became an associate of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1936 and full member in 1947. He served as president of the RCA from 1964 to 1967.

Source:
Mayberry Fine Art

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