More photos of the most glorious BC mural ever!
There were two World’s Fairs held in the United States in 1939 — one in New York, and one in San Francisco. British Columbia decided to have a showcase at the latter, which opened on Feb. 18.
It was located in the Western States Building, and was decorated with very 1939 images of BC — stuffed moose heads, stuffed ram heads, a stuffed ram, a stuffed bear, and some mounted salmon. Amid all the taxidermy was one of the great lost classics of Canadian art — a 12-part mural depicting a “specialized and typical form of British Columbian industrial, social or sporting life.
Sadly, the mural vanished after the fair closed. Ian Thom of the Vancouver Art Gallery thinks it was probably destroyed.
Full story here
Evening on False Creek by Paul Goranson, a print from 1935 when False Creek was an entirely different place, as you can see from all the billowing smoke stacks.
Extra, Extra! Newsflash! Full house for amazing Vancouver Sun photo archive show!
It was an amazing burst of the historical floodgates this weekend at the Presentation House Satellite Gallery, 560 Seymour Street (correction - initially I said Belkin Satellite). The Vancouver Sun’s photo archives were put up on display in a show filled to the brim with 8x10 glossy photographs, full page newspaper covers, and ephemera. On Saturday afternoon, Kate Bird and John Mackie spoke about the history of the collection, and overflow audience sat at the edge of their seats for the entire presentation!
One profoundly significant recent discovery was made just before Saturday’s talk. John Mackie came upon photographs of one of the most exceptional murals ever painted in British Columbia, the murals for the BC Pavilion at the Golden Gate Exposition in 1939. A set of extraordinary photographs depicts the three artists at work with the mural, along with images of the interior of the BC Pavilion. I believe the three images you see being painted are in fact, the miniature versions of the murals that were painted for the hometown crowd, and which reside in the Royal BC Archives in Victoria. The paintings are largely completed, so the photographs appear to be somewhat ‘staged’. I am still holding out for the discovery of some colour images featuring the murals, but for 1939, that might be just fantasy!
Sadly, no one really knows what happened to the original murals, which were larger than life in size and wrapped around the entire interior of the building in 12 panels. Considering they were the work of 3 accomplished war artists who all went on to critical acclaim, I think it’s safe to say the mural would have been worth millions. The Golden Gate Expo made a comeback in 1940, but BC was too preoccupied with the war effort to return, and I have not yet determined who took over the BC pavilion (hunch: it may have been Alaska). Thus, I believe the loss of this mural is one of the sad cultural casualties of war; had we not been at war, perhaps someone would have thought to bring the murals back home where they belonged.
I highly recommend a visit or two to this show; it really is overflowing with treasures and deserves repeated visits. The show runs until March 30th. Here’s John Mackie’s article in the Sun as a background to the show.
Cross-posted to VancouverIsAwesome.
The Old Timers, a painting by Paul Alexander Goranson BCSFA CPE CSGA (1911 - 2002). This painting, along with 3 other works by Goranson have recently appeared at Heffel Gallery Limited and will be auctioned online Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 2:00:00 PM Pacific.
The painting is signed and dated 1994, and was painted in his retirement when he was 83 years old. I’ve mentioned before, he spent most of his working life in NYC after 6 years of active service in the RCAF during WWII. He had gone to art school in Vancouver in the 1930s, and returned to retire to Vancouver in 1986 at the age of 75. This is a most appropriate depiction of the transformation of residential Vancouver, and could represent either the homes along Pacific Boulevard, or perhaps the tiered development of Fairview Slopes. Confirmed! It’s totally Fairview slopes, around 6th or 7th Ave, according to the artist’s wife.
Vancouver, City of Destiny, an illustration by Paul Goranson and Orville Fisher, depicting a wise old Father Time directing a young man towards his destiny. Props to inter-generational mentoring!
From the cover of the Vancouver Daily Province, Golden Jubilee supplement, Thursday, May 31, 1936. According to the Province, May 23, 1936 edition, the two men were grand prize winners of a $100 contest to design the special edition layout. The contest attracted 75 entries.
Image shown here courtesy of The Province. Newspaper from the VPL Special Collections, VPL 971.133 V22pg. Cross-posted to VancouverIsAwesome.com.
Gung Hay Fat Choy, oil on canvas (40 x 30in) by Paul Alexander Goranson, 1996. Paul was both a student of Frederick Varley, and a war artist with the Royal Canadian Air Force. Painting sold for $4,680 CDN (premium included) at Heffel Auction House on February 24, 2011. Goranson turned 85 in 1996, just 6 years before his death in 2002.