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 David Bryan Holmes  (1936 - 1994)

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Lived/Active: New Brunswick/Ontario / United Kingdom/Canada      Known for: landscape painting, graphics, prints, art education

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
David Bryan Holmes (1936-1994)

He was a painter, draftsman, graphic artist, printmaker and educator.  Holmes was born in Harrow-on-the-Hill, England (north-west London); emigrated to St. John, New Brunswick, Canada in 1960; and died in Kingston, Ontario, where he’d lived since 1964. (1)

His mediums included oils, tempera*, silverpoint*, watercolor, gouache*, charcoal, pencil, pen & ink*, ink wash*, and etching*.  His subjects included trees, plants, still life, landscapes, farms, boats, houses, churches, and city streets.  His styles were Realism* and Photo Realism*.  The AskART illustrations are good examples of his work.

His art education began in 1953; it includes the Harrow School of Art and Twickenham Technical College, both in London.  He graduated in 1957 with a “City and Guilds Diploma” in printing, graphic design and typography.  In North America he studied at St. John Vocational Institute, New Brunswick (evening classes 1960 – 1964); Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario (summer school 1965); and at the Art Students League* of New York (1971) under Robert B. Hale (see AskART).

In Kingston, Holmes taught at St. Lawrence College of Applied Arts and Technology (1968 – 1974) as well as privately.

He was a member of the Print and Drawing Council of Canada*, the Kingston Arts Council (Vice President 1971 – 1973), and the Society of Canadian Artists (founded 1972). (2)

In addition to exhibiting with the above artist associations he exhibited at the New Brunswick Museum, Saint John (c. 1960 – 1964); at Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston (1964 – 1972); and at the Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, Owen Sound, Ontario (1971). (3)

He also exhibited with Galerie Gauvreau, Montreal (1969 – 1970) and at multiple Wally Findlay Galleries locations in the USA (1974 – 1994). (4)

According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network* there is a David Holmes painting in the permanent collection of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Kingston, Ontario); and according to our other sources the Art Gallery of Windsor (Ontario) is also a collector of his work. (5)

(1.1) “In 1957 David Holmes was called for military duty and served in the Royal Marines for two years.  He spent one year on Christman Island in the Pacific Ocean, where he sketched and drew the life of the native Gilbertese on the island.”  Source: Wally Findlay Galleries Inc.

(1.2) Please note: Christman is probably a spelling or typing error as we could not find it in any online maps or published atlases.  They are probably referring to Christmas Island, now called Kiritimati Island, in the Pacific Ocean; its part of the Republic of Kiribati, which includes the Gilbert Islands; the people speak Gilbertese.  From 1957 to 1958 the British government conducted their first hydrogen bomb tests in the atmosphere above Christmas island.  The inhabitants and the British soldiers and sailors stationed there were not evacuated during the tests.  They were simply told to stand outside, face away from the blast, and close their eyes.  Sources: Daily Mail May 15, 2007 and the Ministry of Defense, United Kingdom. – MDS

(2) Please note: There was an unrelated, short lived, 19th century Montreal group also called the Society of Canadian Artists (1867 – 1873).  Source: The Concise History of Canadian Painting (1973), by Dennis Reid; Oxford University Press, Toronto (319 pages).

(3) Holmes had a one man show at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre in 1967. Source: Canadian Who’s Who (1996), edited by Elizabeth Lumley (see AskART book references).

(4) According to the Wally Findlay Galleries website, Holmes signed an exclusive contract with them in 1972.  Source: Wally Findlay Galleries International, Inc.

(5) Please note: Most sources list the Willistead Art Gallery of Windsor as a collector of Holmes work; in 1975 the gallery moved out of Willistead Manor and became known as the Art Gallery of Windsor.  Source: The Art Gallery of Windsor.

Canadian Heritage Information Network*

Canadian Who’s Who (1996), edited by Elizabeth Lumley (see AskART book references).

Biographical Index of Artists in Canada (2003), by Evelyn de Rostaing McMann (see AskART book references).

Who's Who in American Art 15th Edition (1982), by Jaques Cattell Press (see AskART book references).

Who Was Who in American Art, 1564 – 1975 (1999), edited by Peter Hastings Falk (see AskART book references).

Wally Findlay Galleries International, Inc.

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary

Prepared and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at
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