|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Herbert Sidney Palmer was born in Toronto on June 15th, 1881 to parents
Charles and Frances (Baldwin) Palmer of Gloucester, England. His
artistic training began under the auspices of J.W. Beatty and F.S.
Challener at the Ontario College of Art, where Palmer trained with some
of the greatest and most renowned artists of his generation. |
His first public exhibition was with the Ontario Society of Artists in
1905, to which he was elected a member in 1909, and Secretary in
1926. He was elected an associate of the Royal Canadian Academy
of Arts in 1915 and a RCA Academician in 1934. It was to the OSA,
the RCA and organizations like them that Palmer was to commit all of
his energies not reserved for painting.
He was a founding member of the Toronto Arts and Letters Club, which
made him honourary lifetime member in 1956. For nearly 40 years
he was associated with the Canadian National Exhibition, curating its
Fine Arts Department from 1926 to 1941. He maintained a life-long
involvement with the OSA and the RCA, including his role as OSA
Secretary for 40 years. Throughout this time, peers regarded him as a
calm, steady and supportive presence.
The one endeavor that Palmer was said to have looked back upon with the
most pride and satisfaction was a 1914 exhibition that he arranged and
curated for the RCA of works donated by Canadian artists to be sold in
support of the Canadian effort in World War I. Palmer traveled
across the country, arranging for the donated works personally,
amassing a collection of art from the likes of Ozias Leduc, Henrietta
Mable May, and J.W. Morrice.
As an artist, Palmer was prolific and critics and colleagues, as well
as the art community at large held his work in high esteem. This
resulted not only in successful commercial shows with the OSA, RCA, CNE
and respected exhibitors such T. Eaton and Co., but also his inclusion
in major exhibitions at key cultural establishments such as the Art
Gallery of Toronto, The National Gallery of Canada, the New York
World’s Fair and the Tate Gallery, London.
A clear example of the respect that Palmer garnered was that in 1960,
by unanimous decision, he was awarded the first annual Baxter
Foundation Fellowship for his dedication both as an artist and as an
adherent to Canadian art. Palmer’s work can but found in numerous
private collections, as well as the permanent collections of the Art
Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada, University of
Toronto’s Hart House and many others.
Source: Roberts Gallery, Toronto, Ontario
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