Ad Code: 3
from Auction House Records.
The Ship Three-Brothers Off Cape Race
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Wilfred Molson Barnes RCA (1882 – 1955) (1)|
Wilfred Barnes (AKA: Wilfred Molson Barnes, AKA: W.M. Barnes) was a Canadian painter, draftsman, photographer and educator. (2)
He was born in Montreal, Quebec, lived there most of his life and died there. (3)
His primary mediums were oil on panel and oil on canvas, although, he
has works in watercolor, pastel, graphite and mixed mediums. His
subjects were landscapes (usually spring or summer scenes, noted for
their big skies), portraits, figures, genre*, marine scenes, rivers,
mountains, lakes and icebergs. The painting locations include Meriden,
New Hampshire – where he had a summer studio; Newfoundland and the
north Atlantic – on scientific expeditions with his brother Professor
H.T. Barnes; and southern Quebec – the area referred to as the Eastern
Townships. His style was Realism*. (4)
Barnes’ education includes the Art Association of Montreal under
William Brymner (5), Maurice Cullen, and Edmond Dyonnet; the Chase
School of Art / New York School of Art *, New York under William
Merritt Chase, Robert Henri and Kenneth Hayes Miller; and the Art
Students League of New York* under Frank Vincent DuMond (all circa 1898
to 1905). (6)
In 1905 he founded the Barnes School of Art* in Montreal. His students
included Freda Pemberton-Smith, Gerard Perrault (1903), Lorne Holland
Bouchard and Albert Sexton (1905). (7)
He was a member of the Pen and Pencil Club, Montreal; the Arts Club of
Montreal*; and the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts* (Associate 1920,
Academician 1947), whom he exhibited with from 1904 to 1948. He also
exhibited with the Ontario Society of Artists* in 1919; the Art
Association of Montreal (now the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts) from
1905 to 1947; and his work was chosen for inclusion in the “British
Empire Exhibition”, London, England in 1924. (8)
According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network* there are 36
Wilfred Barnes works in the permanent collections of Canadian museums.
They include: the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (B.C.), Joliette Art
Museum (Quebec), Ottawa Art Gallery [Firestone Art Collection*]
(Ontario), Sherbrooke Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec), and the National
Gallery of Canada, which has 3 of his works.
(1) Some sources list his birth year as 1892. The Canadian Heritage
Information Network* notes a document, possibly information forms
submitted to the National Gallery in the 1940s, that indicate 1892 as a
birth year; they obviously consider it an error as their records
maintain it is 1882. The 1882 date also coalesces with the marriage of
his parents (1864), the birth date of his brother (1873), and the rest
of Barnes' biography. Additional source: William S. Barnes biography
(2) He is listed in a directory of “Montreal Photographers 1840 – 1950”
with business dates 1909 – 1913. Source:
(3) Source: Canadian Heritage Information Network*.
(4) Sources: Museum illustrations and descriptions of mediums in the
Canadian Heritage Information Network*; "Royal Canadian Academy of
Arts: Exhibitions and Members, 1880 – 1979" (1981), by Evelyn de R.
McMann; and "A Dictionary of Canadian Artists" (1974), by Colin S.
MacDonald (see AskART book references).
Note: Wilfred’s brother, Dr. Howard Turner Barnes FRCS, FRS (1873 –
1950) was an important scientist dedicated to the study of ice
formations… specifically icebergs. His work was of worldwide interest
in the years shortly after the Titanic disaster. Sources: The Canadian
encyclopedia (online) –
and Time Magazine, April 5, 1926 “Iceberg Hunt” –
“This year Dr. Howard T. Barnes of McGill University will try to
destroy icebergs at their source, in the Greenland glaciers. Here the
ice cap is 7,000 feet thick. Vast bits break off at the sea edges to
float south to the Newfoundland banks as bergs. Dr. Barnes hopes to
smash the glacier edges with thermite, a chemical which develops
enormous heat in contact with ice.” Source:
(5) All artist teachers and artist associates mentioned in this
biography, except those with bracketed dates after their names, have
their own pages in AskART.
(6) Sources: "The Fine Arts in Canada" (1925), by Newton MacTavish;
“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 "The Collector's Dictionary of
Canadian Artists at Auction" (2001), by Anthony R. Westbridge and Diana
L. Bodnar (see AskART book references).
Note: In 1898, the Chase School of Art was renamed the New York School
of Art and after a few more name changes through the years arrived at
its current name – Parsons The New School For Design; which refers to
the schools longtime director [1904 – 1930] Frank Alvah Parsons (1866 –
1930) and to its merger with The New School for Social Research in
1970. Source: Parsons The New School For Design –
Note: None of our sources give exact dates for Barnes' study at the
various schools. The 1905 date is derived from "A Dictionary of
Canadian Artists" (1974), by Colin S. MacDonald, which notes it as the
date Barnes returned to Montreal from New York and set up his own
school. The 1898 date is rough estimate based on Barnes' age, which
would make him 16 that year, a likely age to enroll in the AAM. It also
fits in a 5 year window between 1895 and 1900 when Maurice Cullen lived
in Montreal (between extended trips to Europe) and could have taught
Barnes at the AAM.
(7) The exact length of time the school operated could not be
determined, but according to Gerard Perrault’s biography he attended it
from 1922 to 1927 indicating it was still open in the late 1920s.
Source: "A Dictionary of Canadian Artists" (1974), by Colin S.
MacDonald (see AskART book references).
(8) Sources: “The National Gallery of Canada: Catalogue of Paintings
and Sculpture, Volume III” (1960), by R.H. Hubbard; “Montreal Museum of
Fine Arts - Spring Exhibitions 1880 – 1970” (1980), by Evelyn de R.
McMann; "Royal Canadian Academy of Arts: Exhibitions and Members , 1880
– 1979" (1981), by Evelyn de R. McMann; and "The Collector's
Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction" (2001), by Anthony R.
Westbridge and Diana L. Bodnar.
* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see
Prepared and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke.
|** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.|