More photos of the most glorious BC mural ever!

thevancouversun:

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.

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 Sentinel of Stanley Park, a colour image by Paul Goranson, 14 x 18 inches. This was done in 1939 just before Paul went off to WWII, where along with E.J. Hughes and Orville Fisher, he became a celebrated war artist. Construction of the Lions Gate bridge had just been completed, there was no seawall around Stanley Park, and there was a famous cave to the right of Siwash Rock.
This appeared on Craigslist recently, and it seems it was a wedding gift to someone in the 1950s. A rare and extraordinary find; it might actually be the gouache original Goranson used to produce a linocut of the same image.

The Sentinel of Stanley Park, a colour image by Paul Goranson, 14 x 18 inches. This was done in 1939 just before Paul went off to WWII, where along with E.J. Hughes and Orville Fisher, he became a celebrated war artist. Construction of the Lions Gate bridge had just been completed, there was no seawall around Stanley Park, and there was a famous cave to the right of Siwash Rock.

This appeared on Craigslist recently, and it seems it was a wedding gift to someone in the 1950s. A rare and extraordinary find; it might actually be the gouache original Goranson used to produce a linocut of the same image.

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.

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.

Jack Shadbolt (left) and Paul Goranson (right) working in 1940 on a mural for the Vogue Theatre in Vancouver. Photograph from the Vancouver Art Gallery library, photographer unknown. The theatre opened in 1941 (early May, I believe) in the midst of WWII, and in December of that same year Paul Goranson joined the Royal Canadian Air Force.
If you recall, Goranson worked with E.J. Hugues and Orville Fisher in the late 1930s after they graduated from the Vancouver School of Art. All three would become war artists: "In 1939 Hughes enlisted in the RCA as a gunner. Appointed a war artist in 1940, he was posted to Petawawa, Ontario, and in 1942, to England.” Fellow muralist Orville Fisher had joined the Royal Canadian Engineers in August of 1940. In fact, Jack Shadbolt also followed them into combat; “he enlisted in the army as a signalman on 28 October 1942.”
All four men mentioned above are honoured in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. I have not been able to determine exactly where this mural was located, and whether it was painted on a temporary backdrop or onto the theatre walls themselves. If anyone can find any additional information, I would love to know more! A few last words, from an obituary for Paul Goranson written by Laura Brandon: 

An accomplished artist with a growing post-war reputation and connections he might have been expected to stay in Canada to continue his pre-war career as a muralist, illustrator, and teacher in Vancouver. Instead, he to all intents and purposes disappeared. As late as 1978, Canadian War Museum art curator Hugh Halliday had no idea what had become of him. Even his former friend, partner, and fellow war artist E.J. Hughes did not know his whereabouts. Research begun in connection with the 1980 war art exhibition A Terrible Beauty produced an address and the mystery was solved. The artist had moved to New York after the war because, as he put it, he “had probably stayed too long in the service.” Given the current interest in war art and war artists in Canada, it is hard to believe that being a war artist for too long could have been detrimental to one’s career but quite clearly, in Goranson’s case, he believed it to be so. In New York he became a display designer and then a scenic artist, joining the Metropolitan Opera in 1965. Here he worked under artists and designers such as Franco Zefferelli, Sir Cecil Beaton, and Marc Chagall. But he remained a Canadian citizen and, upon retirement in 1986 at the age of 75, returned to Vancouver.…Paul Goranson painted to the end and on 3 August 2002 he laid down his brush for the last time.

Jack Shadbolt (left) and Paul Goranson (right) working in 1940 on a mural for the Vogue Theatre in Vancouver. Photograph from the Vancouver Art Gallery library, photographer unknown. The theatre opened in 1941 (early May, I believe) in the midst of WWII, and in December of that same year Paul Goranson joined the Royal Canadian Air Force.

If you recall, Goranson worked with E.J. Hugues and Orville Fisher in the late 1930s after they graduated from the Vancouver School of Art. All three would become war artists: "In 1939 Hughes enlisted in the RCA as a gunner. Appointed a war artist in 1940, he was posted to Petawawa, Ontario, and in 1942, to England.” Fellow muralist Orville Fisher had joined the Royal Canadian Engineers in August of 1940. In fact, Jack Shadbolt also followed them into combat; “he enlisted in the army as a signalman on 28 October 1942.”

All four men mentioned above are honoured in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. I have not been able to determine exactly where this mural was located, and whether it was painted on a temporary backdrop or onto the theatre walls themselves. If anyone can find any additional information, I would love to know more! A few last words, from an obituary for Paul Goranson written by Laura Brandon

An accomplished artist with a growing post-war reputation and connections he might have been expected to stay in Canada to continue his pre-war career as a muralist, illustrator, and teacher in Vancouver. Instead, he to all intents and purposes disappeared. As late as 1978, Canadian War Museum art curator Hugh Halliday had no idea what had become of him. Even his former friend, partner, and fellow war artist E.J. Hughes did not know his whereabouts. Research begun in connection with the 1980 war art exhibition A Terrible Beauty produced an address and the mystery was solved. The artist had moved to New York after the war because, as he put it, he “had probably stayed too long in the service.”

Given the current interest in war art and war artists in Canada, it is hard to believe that being a war artist for too long could have been detrimental to one’s career but quite clearly, in Goranson’s case, he believed it to be so. In New York he became a display designer and then a scenic artist, joining the Metropolitan Opera in 1965. Here he worked under artists and designers such as Franco Zefferelli, Sir Cecil Beaton, and Marc Chagall. But he remained a Canadian citizen and, upon retirement in 1986 at the age of 75, returned to Vancouver.

…Paul Goranson painted to the end and on 3 August 2002 he laid down his brush for the last time.

What might have been on the back of our banknotes (in the 1930s); a speculative drawing for the British American Bank Note Company by Paul Goranson. The back of the 1935 $2 bill and 1937 $10 bill feature a similar etching by George Gundersen. Was this drawing by Goranson a competitive entry, or a litmus test for artistic ability? It is undated, so it may have come before, or even after the George Gundersen etching. 
The image depicts Poseidon and the shipbuilding trade, which was a vital Vancouver industry at the time, and which may once again become a lifeblood for the region. Along with EJ Hughes and Orville Fisher, Paul Goranson was part of a group who called themselves the West Coast Brotherhood, as seen previously here. In fact, it bears a certain resemblance to this prize winning contest entry for The Province newspaper by Paul Goranson and Orville Fisher.
This charcoal and pencil vignette on illustration board is currently up for auction on ebay, along with 5 other similar speculative drawings.

What might have been on the back of our banknotes (in the 1930s); a speculative drawing for the British American Bank Note Company by Paul Goranson. The back of the 1935 $2 bill and 1937 $10 bill feature a similar etching by George Gundersen. Was this drawing by Goranson a competitive entry, or a litmus test for artistic ability? It is undated, so it may have come before, or even after the George Gundersen etching.

The image depicts Poseidon and the shipbuilding trade, which was a vital Vancouver industry at the time, and which may once again become a lifeblood for the region. Along with EJ Hughes and Orville Fisher, Paul Goranson was part of a group who called themselves the West Coast Brotherhood, as seen previously here. In fact, it bears a certain resemblance to this prize winning contest entry for The Province newspaper by Paul Goranson and Orville Fisher.

This charcoal and pencil vignette on illustration board is currently up for auction on ebay, along with 5 other similar speculative drawings.

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.

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.

Industry, a two-part mural painted for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco. Painted by Paul Goranson, E.J. Hughes, and Orville Fisher, the three “were known as The Three Musketeers of Art’ in reference to the fact that they were artists who had enlisted.” (source) The trio also called themselves the West Coast Brotherhood, echoing the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. (source)

A total of 15 make that 12 murals in this series were painted, part of a project called “Art in Action”, which featured the murals on the walls of the exhibition hall. WWII caused the Expo to close early, but smaller versions of the murals survive in the BC Archives in Victoria. (source) These two murals are also seen in the book Free Spirit: Stories of You, Me and BC by Gerald Truscott.

E.J. Hughes, described by Jack Shadbolt as “the most engaging intuitive painter of the BC landscape since Emily Carr”, he is truly an icon of modern day Canadian art. (source)

"Orville Fisher’s paintings of the Second World War constitute one of the most complete records of Canada’s day-to-day role in that conflict. Perhaps his chief claim to fame is that he was the only Allied war artist to land in Normandy on D-Day, 6 June 1944. This achievement is all the more extraordinary given the fact that he almost never made it overseas in the first place." More

Orville Fisher’s mural featuring the figure of Mercury, god of messages and glad tidings, appears inside the post office building at 349 West Georgia Street, by the Homer Street entrance. He also assisted with the 1951 mural “B.C. Pageant" with Charles Comfort and 2 students.

"After the war, Goranson remained for two years with the RCAF in Ottawa, working up his pencil, charcoal and watercolour sketches into canvases. Then, finding no work in Toronto, he went to New York" (source) where “he became a display designer and then a scenic artist, joining the Metropolitan Opera in 1965. Here he worked under artists and designers such as Franco Zefferelli, Sir Cecil Beaton, and Marc Chagall. But he remained a Canadian citizen and, upon retirement in 1986 at the age of 75, returned to Vancouver.” (source)

Goranson is, without a doubt, one of my all time favourites.

Low resolution images PDP02285 and PDP02286 shown here are courtesy of the Royal BC Museum, BC Archives. Cross-posted to Vancouver Is Awesome.

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.

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.