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Item Name: Painting
Title: Autumn Qu'Appelle Valley Coulee
Maker: James Henderson
Year: 1945
Country: Canadian
Materials: oil on canvas
Measurements: overall: 51.6 cm x 61.8 cm
ID Number: PC83.1.17

Extended Label Info: This landscape painting shows a view of the Qu’Appelle Valley that deeply inspired the artist. Often working “en plein air”, James Henderson spent many hours outdoors, sketching compositions and painting. This style of working outdoors is a method first used in European painting by the Impressionists, which allows 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 focus on the landscape as his central subject matter. In this work, the long and winding Qu’Appelle Valley is captured using “atmospheric perspective”, a technique using blues and greys to depict the farthest areas in the distance. 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.