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 Charles Hepburn Scott  (1886 - 1964)

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Lived/Active: British Columbia/Alberta / United Kingdom/Canada/Scotland      Known for: modernist-leaning landscape and coastal view painting, prints, war artist

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
On the Beach
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Charles Hepburn Scott ARCA, FCA, CGP, CSGA, BCSA, FRSA (1886 – 1964)

A very influential early twentieth-century Canadian art educator, leader in the art community, painter, draftsman, printmaker and war artist, Charles Hepburn Scott was born in Newmilns, Scotland. He emigrated to Calgary, Alberta in 1912 and died in Vancouver, British Columbia where he had lived since 1914. (1)

His mediums were oil, watercolor, gouache*, pen & ink, graphite*, charcoal and etching*. His subjects included landscapes, coastal views, rivers, lakes, mountains, gardens, city views, genre*, figures, nudes, military activities and portraits. Most of his painting locations are in southern British Columbia. His styles were Modernism*, Fauvism*, Impressionism* and Realism*. AskART’s illustration of The Sitting Cloud on Top of Garibaldi Mountain is a good example of a frequent Scott subject.

Scott’s formal art education includes studies at the Glasgow School of Art, Scotland (1905 – 1909) under Maurice Greiffenhagen and Francis H. Newbery; and in Brussels, Belgium (c. 1910) under Jean Delville. Before coming to Canada, Scott also travelled and studied informally in Holland, Germany, France and Italy. (2)

In Canada, he was Art Supervisor of Calgary Schools from 1912 to 1914; Art Supervisor of Vancouver Schools from 1914 to 1925; Director of the Vancouver School of Art from 1925 until retirement in 1952; and a lecturer at the University of British Columbia from 1930 to 1947. Among his former students are west-coast Canadian art icons Jack Shadbolt, B.C. Binning and Gordon A. Smith. As Director of the Vancouver School of Art, Scott was responsible for hiring, as teachers, legendary Canadian artists such as Jock MacDonald (future Painters 11*) and Frederick Varley (Group of Seven* member).

In 1919, Scott was a founding member of the B.C. (British Columbia) Arts League which was created to lobby for the establishment of an art school, and an art gallery in Vancouver, at the time the city had neither. Due to the league’s efforts the Vancouver School of Art (now – Emily Carr University of Art + Design) opened in 1925, and the Vancouver Art Gallery was founded in 1931. Scott became Director of the Vancouver School of Art and was on the first art selection committee for the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Scott was also a member of the B.C. Society of Fine Arts* (member 1914, President 1921 to 1922); the Canadian Society of Graphic Arts*; the Canadian Group of Painters* (charter member 1933); the Federation of Canadian Artists*; a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts*, London, England (1936); and an Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts* (1940), with whom he exhibited frequently between 1926 and 1952.

In addition to exhibiting with the above artist associations, Scott’s works were included in the “British Empire Exposition”, Wembley, England (1924); the “First Annual B.C. Artists' Exhibition”, Vancouver Art Gallery (1932); the New York World’s Fair (1939); the Spring Exhibition of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1947); the “First Biennial Exhibition of Canadian Painting”, National Gallery of Canada (1955); the British Columbia Centennial Exhibition “100 Years of B.C. Art”, Vancouver Art Gallery (1958); the new Vancouver Art Gallery Inaugural Exhibition “Vancouver Art and Artists 1931 – 1983” (1983); “Vancouver Collects”, Vancouver Art Gallery (2001); and in “75 Years of Collecting: The Road to Utopia”, Vancouver Art Gallery (2006).

The public venues for his solo exhibitions include the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1935, 1947, 1959, 1989 and 2000; the Burnaby Art Gallery (B.C.) in 1974; and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (B.C.) in 1982.

Scott’s works are traded on the Canadian auction market, although not as much as one might expect from a prominent artist due to the fact that his role as a teacher and organizer severely limited his time to produce art. However, there are examples of his work in several Canadian museum collections.

According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network* and individual museum websites, there are Charles Scott works in the permanent collections of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (B.C.), Art Gallery of Hamilton (Ontario), Canadian War Museum (Ottawa), Glenbow Museum (Calgary, Alberta), Maltwood Museum (University of Victoria, B.C.), Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery (University of British Columbia, Vancouver), Vancouver Art Gallery (B.C.) and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa).

Among his honors is the Charles H. Scott Gallery, which was opened and dedicated in 1980, on the campus of the Emily Carr University of Art + Design.
1. Charles Scott served overseas in World War I in the Canadian Army from 1915 to 1918 and in World War II as a war artist in Canada (c.1941 – 1943).
2. Please note: All artists mentioned in this biography have their own pages in AskART.
From Drawing to Visual Culture: A History of Art Education in Canada” (2006), by Harold Pearse (see AskART book references)
Biographical Index of Artists in Canada (2003), by Evelyn de Rostaing McMann (see AskART book references)
The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction (2001), by Anthony R. Westbridge and Diana L. Bodnar (see AskART book references)
Art BC: Masterworks from British Columbia (2000), by Ian M. Thom (see AskART book references)
The Encyclopedia of British Columbia (2000), edited by Daniel Francis (see AskART book references)
Art and Architecture in Canada (1991), by Loren R. Lerner and Mary F. Williamson (see AskART book references)
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: Spring Exhibitions 1880 – 1970 (1988), by Evelyn de R. McMann (see AskART book references)
Vancouver: Art and Artists 1931 – 1983 (1983), by Luke Rombout (see AskART book references)
Royal Canadian Academy of Arts: Exhibitions and Members, 1880 – 1979 (1981), by Evelyn de R. McMann (see AskART book references)
From Desolation to Splendour (1977), by Maria Tippett and Douglas Cole (see AskART book references)
The Mountains and the Sky (1974), by Lorne E. Render (see AskART book references)
A Dictionary of Canadian Artists (1974), by Colin S. MacDonald (see AskART book references)
Four Decades: The Canadian Group of Painters and Their Contemporaries, 1930 – 1970, (1972), by Paul Duval (see AskART book references)
Creative Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth Century Creative and Performing Arts (1972), by Helen M. Rodney (see AskART book references)
Painting in Canada: a History (1966), by J. Russell Harper (see AskART book references)
100 Years of B.C. Art (1958), by R.M. Hume (see AskART book references)
“Canadian Art - Its Origin and Development” (1943), by William Colgate (see AskART book references)
Canadian Section of Fine Arts: British Empire Exposition, London, 1924 (1924), exhibition catalogue; National Gallery of Canada (35 pages, B&W illustrations)
Canadian Heritage Information Network*
National Gallery of Canada (Website)
Canadian War Museum (Website)
Vancouver Art Gallery (Website)

* 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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