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 Fred Horsman Varley

Fred Horsman Varley

Birth
Sheffield, Metropolitan Borough of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England
Death 8 Sep 1969 (aged 88)
Toronto, Toronto Municipality, Ontario, Canada
Burial Kleinburg, York Regional Municipality, Ontario, Canada
Memorial ID 10485 · View Source
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Artist. He was one of the original members of the Group of Seven, a group of Canadian landscape painters from 1920 to 1933 that also included Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A. Y. Jackson, Frank Johnston, Arthur Lismer, and J. E. H. MacDonald. He was born Frederick Horsman Varley in Sheffield, England on January 2, 1881 and studied art at the Sheffield School of Art from 1892 to 1900, and later at the Academie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Antwerp, Belgium from 1900 to 1902. After unsuccessful starts at careers as an illustrator and art teacher in England, he immigrated to Canada in 1912 on the advice of another Sheffield native and childhood friend (and future Group of Seven member), Arthur Lismer, and found work at the Grip Ltd. design firm in Toronto, Ontario where he befriended artists Tom Thomson and Franklin Carmichael. In January 1918 he served in World War I and came to the attention of Lord Beaverbrook (William Maxwell Aitken), a Canadian tycoon and British politician and writer, who arranged for him to be commissioned as an official war artist. He accompanied Canadian troops in the Hundred Days offensive from Amiens, France to Mons, Belgium and his paintings of combat were based on his experiences at the front. After the war he returned to Toronto and in 1920 he became a founding member of the Group of Seven. His and A.Y. Jackson's contribution in World War I influenced work in the Group. He did not share the Group's enthusiasm for the Ontario landscape and during the early 1920s he attempted to make a living as a portraitist. The family of Vincent Massey commissioned several, but he made little money and in 1926 he moved west and began to teach at the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In 1933, he and J.E.H. MacDonald opened their own school in Vancouver, the British Columbia College of Arts. Though it was well attended, it closed after 2 years, a victim of the Depression. By 1936 he was broke, and moved to Ottawa, Quebec, Canada to try to resume his career as a portraitist. During the next 8 years he drifted between Ottawa and Montreal, making few paintings, except in 1938 when he traveled to the Arctic on the Canadian government supply ship Nascopie. In 1944 he returned to Toronto and in 1948 to 1949 he taught at the Doon Summer School of Fine Arts. In 1954, along with other artists, he visited the Soviet Union on the first cultural exchange of the Cold War. He died near Toronto on September 8, 1969 at the age of 88. The Varley Art Gallery in Markham, Ontario, Canada is named in his honor.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 9 Jul 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 10485
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Fred Horsman Varley (2 Jan 1881–8 Sep 1969), Find A Grave Memorial no. 10485, citing McMichael Canadian Art Collection Burial Grounds, Kleinburg, York Regional Municipality, Ontario, Canada ; Maintained by Find A Grave .