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Item Name: Painting
Title: North Park, Backyard Winter
Maker: Robert Newton Hurley
Year: 1935
Country: Canadian
Materials: watercolour on paper
Measurements: in frame: 43 cm x 36 cm; overall: 25.2 cm x 18.5 cm
ID Number: PC84.2

Extended Label Info: In this painting of a winter scene of a fenced in backyard, Robert Hurley plays with light and shadow. In the distance shapes and colour hint to the trees and houses enveloped by snow. The scene is situated underneath telephone poles which frame the composition with simple geometry. The lines guide the eye throughout the composition, flowing through the central pole which leads the eye to the backyard filled with large drifts of snow. The heavy shadows and colour of the sky hint at the time of day at which this scene takes place, which could be viewed as a brisk sunset in the prairie winter. Robert Newton Hurley (1894-1980) was born in London, England. He trained as an apprentice printer-compositor until his mid-20s. During and after WWI he served in the Suffolk Regiment (1917-1920), then immigrated to Canada in 1923 before he settled in Saskatoon in 1930. Unemployed at the age of forty during the depression, Hurley began to paint with berry juices and a toothbrush. From 1933-35 he took night classes from established artist Ernest Lindner and quickly became well known in Saskatchewan and other parts of Canada for his treatment of the prairie landscape. He first exhibited in a 1935 exhibition in Winnipeg with the Manitoba Society of Artists. Hurley focused primarily on prairie landscapes and paid particular attention to subjects such as grain elevators, receding roads, and telephone poles. Hurley received an honorary degree from the University of Regina. He remained in Saskatchewan until retiring to Victoria, British Columbia in 1963.