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Item Name: Painting
Title: Northern Lights
Maker: James Henderson
Year: 1939
Country: Canadian
Materials: oil on wood board
Measurements: overall: 22.8 cm x 30.4 cm
ID Number: PC83.1.20

Extended Label Info: Often working “en plein air”, James Henderson spent many hours outdoors, sketching compositions and painting. Working outdoors is a method commonly used in European painting by the French Impressionists, which allowed the artist to observe the contours of the landscape and record very precise colours as it is experienced, rather than seen. This information can also help the artist create an evocative sense of place in their larger, more time consuming, studio paintings. Unlike European Impressionists, Henderson does not often include figures or animals in his compositions, preferring to capture the specific nuances of the prairie landscape like a geographical portrait of places Saskatchewan people have come to know and cherish. James Henderson (1871 - 1951) was part of the first generation of professionally trained artists who came to live in Saskatchewan. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and enjoyed drawing and sketching as a child. Apprenticed in lithography, Henderson also took evening classes at the Glasgow School of Art and learned painting from several of the Scottish Impressionists. After working in London as an engraver and lithographer, he immigrated to Western Canada in 1910 as a commercial artist. Once in Regina, Henderson found he was deeply inspired by landscape in the Qu’ Appelle Valley region, and in 1916 settled in Fort Qu’Appelle. Henderson’s work was recognized as an important record of plains history in a retrospective exhibition organized by the Mendel Art Gallery (2009). His work is held nationally in public and private collections.