Sad day today for all of New Westminster with the loss of the Copp’s Shoes building and neighbouring businesses.
Drawings by Urban Sketcher, Won Kang; note the G&M actually featured his colour drawing in their gallery of images. Perhaps the canvas tote idea will still be made available, in memory of the great legacy that was Copp’s Shoes.
Sad day today for all of New Westminster with the loss of the Copp’s Shoes building and neighbouring businesses.
Detail from Pacific Gateway (100) - 50” x 42”, by John Koerner from the foyer of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver. From his website:
The Pacific Gateway Series began after several prolonged stays in Japan. Japanese culture and art had made a deep impression on me when I first saw Ukiyo-e prints at the Louvre at the age of 15.
The Japanese concepts of simplicity and restraint resonated with me, as I had already realized that a meditative mood and serenity needs understatement of colour relationships as it gains a lot in overall strength, balance and solidity. The principle of unity is helped by emphasizing monochromatics.
The theme of this series is the Pacific Rim, which expands over peaceful tide pools of the West Coast beaches toward the sand gardens of the Nihon temples. It also deals with the peaceful arch through which we all must someday cross – from one reality to another.
Yesterday was John Koerner’s 100th birthday. Earlier this year, John was presented with a copy of his new book John Koerner: Drawings and Observations at the Burnaby Art Gallery; Gary Sim wrote about this event here. More about these celebrations from the Province:
On his website, johnkoerner.ca, the artist describes himself as “the oldest still-active member of the Vancouver School of painters, a group that developed modernism in Canadian art.”
“I’m still working,” he noted proudly, “whenever I feel strong enough.
“Then, after a session, I need a rest. I can’t work as long as I used to, but it’s still working.”
Despite some initial trouble navigated the front steps of the gallery — give him a break, he’s 100 — Koerner’s positive attitude shone through in his ever-present smile and the twinkle in his eyes.
“Early in my career I decided what the general direction of my work should be and that, despite the horrors and disasters in this world, it would celebrate all positive values,” Koerner said.
Update! John is currently having a major show at the Penticton Gallery called John Koerner: The Hidden Side of Nature. The show runs from Friday, September 20, 2013 to Thursday, November 07, 2013. At 27:11 in this 32 minute video posted on YouTube, John reflects on his series Pacific Gateways. Here’s even more about the work above from the Penticton Art Gallery:
After retiring from teaching at the University of British Columbia, Koerner bought a house with a view across Burrard Inlet to Point Atkinson, which became the focus of his Lighthouse series which comprises today of over 115 works…The 1970s and 1980’s saw the development of a further three series which contained The Garden of Eden, the colorful African series, and The Pacific Gateway Series - consisting of over 312 visionary works depicting the temporal “arch from here-and-now to another world” and juxtaposing Canadian and Japanese landscapes. Koerner was commissioned to do various murals, the largest as a commemoration of Vancouver’s Centennial in 1986 was installed in the lobby of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
Under Burrard Bridge, Vancouver by Edythe Hembroff-Schleicher, dated 1936. Coming next Saturday is a special event to celebrate the 6th book in the series The Unheralded Artists of BC, an outstanding set of books by Mother Tongue Publishing. The Life and Art of Edythe Hembroff-Schleicher was written by Christina Johnson-Dean, and the author will be in attendance for an illustrated talk in the private back room of the Railway Club, 579 Dunsmuir Street, Vancouver. The event takes place Saturday, October 5, 2013 from 5-8 pm.
Edythe Hembroff-Schleicher (1906-1994) was a sophisticated, spirited and classically educated artist, researcher, feminist, and writer, known as Emily Carr’s sketching partner and B.C.’s Special Consultant on the now famous painter but unrecognized for her own creative life. This well-researched book finally reveals Edythe’s story as a B.C. artist and features over 100 rarely seen paintings, prints, and photographs. Schooled in Victoria by the Island Arts and Crafts Society’s traditionalist Margaret Kitto, Edythe embarked on further training at the California School of Arts and Crafts and the California School of Fine Arts in the San Francisco Bay area…
The world of art history has a very selective memory, and books such as this help to remedy the art, stories, and lives that are on the verge of being forgotten. It is incredibly important work, and very much in line with what I set out to do here on this blog.
This is the second book in the series that is authored by Christina Johnson-Dean; her prior book being The Life & Art of Ina D. D. Uhthoff which I blogged about here last year. Previous books in this series have covered David Marshall, Frank Molnar, Jack Hardman, LeRoy Jensen, George Fertig, and Mildred Valley Thornton.
Cross-posted to VancouverIsAwesome.com.
An American’s Guide to Vancouver by Marv Newland in the July, 1979 issue of Vancouver magazine. This cartoon led off a rather interesting article also written by Marv, where he profiles a whole list of cultural noteworthy items and establishments, including our currency, burgers, baseball, and television.
Allow me to take a moment to look back at the businesses mentioned; they include the Fresgo Inn (now moved to Surrey), the Frying Dutchman (now the De Dutch franchise; the original location opened August, 1970 at the current site of Black Dog Video, 3451 Cambie), Lynn’s (now Bikram Yoga Kitsilano), the Topanga Cafe (opened in 1978 and still at 2904 W. 4th Avenue), the Montreal Bagel Factory (now Royal Feet Vancouver Reflexology Acupuncture, I think), Kaplan’s Deli (still at 5775 Oak Street, I believe), Szasz (now the site of the restaurant West, 2881 Granville Street), Rubin’s (formerly at 974 Granville), Dai Kee (formerly at 540 Main Street), Il Corsaro (moved to Maple Ridge after 20 years on the Drive), European News and Import House (no longer on Robson or Hastings), and Universal News & Gifts (possibly the site of Versus Training Center in Gastown?). Oh, and back in 1979, nearly everything was closed on Sundays!
Update! Michael Kluckner adds:
Maybe as late as 1979, Universal News occupied a small low building at 108 East Hastings (now the Acme something-or-other) that had a minor distinction as the city’s first bicycle and auto repair shop. I remember Universal News for its wide range of foreign (and especially radical) newspapers; it was owned by a Finnish immigrant named Paakspuu, whose son I went to school with. There’s probably a connection in there between the shop and the general radicalism of many Finns who came to Canada in that era.
Postcards are a recurring element in Marv’s work, as his site Marv Cards attests. His animation work has been produced in Vancouver under the International Rocketship moniker for over 20 years. Here’s a vintage video which features Marv, circa 2000. You can order a DVD of the best of International Rocketship directly from Marv, as described here on Cartoon Brew.
Here are some more for my upcoming show. It’s at the gallery in the Unitarian Church on 49th and Oak here in Vancouver. It’ll run from September 16th to October 15th, and there’s a reception on Sunday the 22nd from 2:30-5…This church is an amazing community member. They put on a great organic farmers market every Wednesday…There are two awesome gallery spaces, one in the sanctuary and another called the Fireside Room, and they always have interesting shows…
The Marine Building by McCarter & Nairne, Architects and Structural Engineers. Created for client Stimpson’s Canadian Development Co. Ltd., February, 1929. These most excellent drawings are from the University of Calgary, part of the Canadian Architecture Collection. They also have an outstanding promotional booklet from 1930 drawn and designed by Ronald Jackson, whom I have featured here many times.
In related news, VanHeritage’s repeat event Sunday Morning at the Marine once again sold out, but coffee at the Marine Building any other day sounds like a great way to start your morning!
Vancouver Convention Center, submitted by Delphie Côté-Lacroix. Thanks, Delphie!
Canadian Fishing Company, Since 1906. This 12’ x 32’ mural was painted in Steveston by Murray Gibbs of Murray’s Signs, operating in the Lower Mainland & Vancouver Island since 1986.
The Lions Gate Bridge, from an ad for the British Properties from May 27, 1939, just a couple years after the bridge had opened. The complete ad has been posted here.
Vancouver Wharves by Orville Norman Fisher (1911-1996). Signed lower left & dated 1962, this pastel is stuck somewhere between Vancouver’s early port history and the large scale operations of today without revealing too many clues of the past or the present. Up for auction at Westbridge Fine Art Auction House on September 22.
From January 1st, 1922 in the Vancouver Sunday Sun, a cartoon courtesy of the Denver Post, illustrated by Albert Wilbur Steele. “Keep to the Right! Lives of Mothers and Babes are Priceless—Watch out!” This of course represents the date that traffic switched from the left side of the road to the right side of the road in British Columbia. Chuck Davis reported on his website: “The change went surprisingly smoothly; there were no accidents.” Thanks to HeritageVancouver for tweeting me the cartoon! Although this cartoon is not actually created in Vancouver by a Vancouverite, it is still worth taking a moment to delve into some history on the artist.
Born in Illinois in June of 1862, Albert Wilbur married Anne Crary and had 4 children, one of whom died at birth or as an infant. Albert passed away from pneumonia on March 12, 1925 in Denver, Colorado. Ancestry.com shows his three children also passed away in 1925, but I do not believe this is necessarily correct. It’s possible there may be some confusion with another George C Steele, and at least one of his two daughters, Eva C Rogers of Berkeley may well have lived to the 1940s. His youngest daughter, Agnes M Steele married someone named Paul Brown of Denver, a decidedly difficult name to search for any genealogical information! Albert Wilbur’s wife Anne survived to the year 1941.
Herein lies another tragic epidemic, there is typically very little biographical info that can be gleaned from the web on early newspaper cartoonists, and Mr. Albert Wilbur Steele is no exception. However, there is one academic paper dedicated to his work which illustrates how significant and powerful the early cartoonists of the era actually were.
“The Image-makers’ Arsenal in an Age of War and Empire, 1898-99: A Cartoon Essay, Featuring the Work of Charles Bartholomew (of the Minneapolis Journal) and Albert Wilbur Steele (of the Denver Post)” was written by Bonnie M. Miller of UMass, Boston, and the article can be rented or purchased online here ($5.99 rental, $30 purchase); recommended for cartoon historians!
Nearly all of the Vancouver Sun from 1922 is in the Google News Archive, which is great, but what’s sad is the fact that there are no more additions being made to the Google News Archive, in part because publishers are trying to commodify their archives. Thankfully, there are a few local institutions who have picked up the torch and are leading their own collective digitization strategies, like this initiative that UBC has taken. Beyond that, if you’re looking to lead your own digitization campaign, there’s always archive.org!
Portion of a rendering of the Hotel Vancouver (1916) by Francis S. Swales, architect. Preliminary perspective drawing by H.C. Wilkinson, retouched by Francis S. Swales. From an article in Pencil Points magazine (September, 1930) dedicated to Francis S. Swales, the work is further described…
…as being the earliest modern set back building, designed in 1911. The drawing was done in pencil on mounted Steinbach paper and rendered with water color. The portion reproduced measured 8¾” x 11 on the original while the whole drawing measured 34” x 26”. It is seldom that we see today such care expended in drawing the detail on a building.
Alas, if we could only see this entire rendering in colour—spectacular! It was truly the grandest hotel we ever had in this town. Speaking of Grand Hotels, you have one more full week of the Grand Hotel exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery, which closes on September 15th, 2013.
You can see the full rendering of the hotel in this previous post, printed in the August 1916 issue of The Architect. Sadly, this magazine was only produced in black and white. It is unknown if the original presentation drawing survived, though it did last until at least 1930 when this colour detail was printed. The third image above does show a postcard with the same perspective, but it has been completely recoloured and lacks the subtlety of the original. I did discover that the Library and Archives Canada has a negative of this image, which I thought may have been acquired via the CN Archives, but instead it appeared in the Albertype Company fonds:
Albertype Company, a postcard factory in New York, New York, was established in 1938 on the site of what was originally the 1846 First Free Congregational Church, and later the African Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal Church, a major stop on the Underground Railroad in the 1860’s…Material was acquired in 1968 from Miss Edith G. Firth of the Toronto Public Library, Baldwin Room, College and George St., Toronto, Ontario.
I’m thankful for all the archival materials relating to the hotel that have been preserved to date, but I’m surprised there isn’t more available on such a prominent building and architect. The CPR Archives seem to have very little material on this hotel. To rectify this, I’d like to start with an excerpt from the above mentioned Pencil Points article, providing some insight into the life of the architect Francis Swales:
Francis S. Swales, born in Canada of American parents, was reared and educated in the United States. Heredity and environment formed a uniquely favorable background for the rapid development of his natural talents in the field of architecture. His father, a building contractor of the old school, kept a joinery shop in the rear of the Swales home in Buffalo. Here old white-bearded English craftsmen and artists executed fine interior woodwork from architects’ drawings and details. Constant contact with these activities from infancy made the keen young Swales so familiar with the various phases of the craft that at the age of eight years, he was quite capable of reading and interpreting all types of drawings of carpentry, joinery, and building construction. Steel was just the beginning to supplant wrought iron structurally and Mr. Swales can still recall how the various members had to be colored for identification—red for wrought iron and blue for steel. As far back as he can remember, architectural magazines came to his home and he followed the usual bent of children by copying their illustrations. Probably by reason of environment his interest did not wane; his efforts were continuous and his ability to draw grew apace…
The entire article is rich with details and anecdotes, It’s one of those great little hidden gems that deserves to be shared and rediscovered. That’s why I plan on donating a copy of this magazine to the Vancouver Archives in the near future. Update! I also scanned the whole article! Stay tuned VanArchives; I’m saving it for you! Cross-posted with alternate text to VancouverIsAwesome.com
Granville and Robson Lines by Urban Sketcher, Won Kang.
Here’s a reblog of a remarkable Vancouver tattoo via Vancouverisawesome.com:
Vancouver Ink: Lydia DeCarllo’s tattoos of the Art Gallery, Hotel Vancouver and Chinatown
Today we’re sharing Lydia DeCarllo’s VERY Vancouver pieces on her arm that she sent in.
Hello, I had a friend tell me you were doing pieces on Vancouver tattoos. Here is mine; it is the Hotel Vancouver at the top, underneath that the Vancouver Art Gallery fountain, below that is our gates to our China town. You can not see the inside but there is Gastown and the coaster from Playland as well.
- Lydia DeCarllo
Photo by @aspiringmedia
Lydia mentioned to me the tattoo was done by Mike Prior at Lady Luck Tattoo in Langley. She also commented how the piece is personally important to her because it was her great grandfather Wesley Gillis who was very involved in the construction of the art gallery fountain. An epic tribute, indeed!