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Item Name: Painting
Title: Winter Scene of the North
Maker: Illingworth Kerr
Year: 1927
Country: Canadian
Materials: oil on board
Measurements: overall: 20.6 cm x 26 cm
ID Number: PC83.1.26
Legal Status: PERMANENT COLLECTION


Extended Label Info: Known for his vivid prairie landscapes, Illingworth Kerr studied with members of the Group of Seven painters, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald, and Frederick Varley. This influence can be seen in Kerr’s impressionist use of colour and brushstroke. This study of a river with ice and snow also shows his love of the colour purple, which he described as an integrative colour. Over a career that spanned more than 60 years, Kerr's interest went beyond landscape painting to include ink, charcoal, linocuts, and portraits. Kerr also published writing: short stories for Blackwood's magazine (Edinburgh, 1930s); an illustrated and humorous book on prairie life, “Gay Dogs and Dark Horses” (1946); and his autobiography, “Paint and Circumstance” (1987). Illingworth Holey Kerr RCA (1905 – 1989) was known as Buck to his friends, a nickname from his days driving a horse and wagon. Born in Lumsden to a settler family, he spent many hours on the trapline and loved to draw. With encouragement from his mother and relatives in Ontario, Kerr traveled to Toronto and studied at the Ontario College of Art (1924 – 27), learning from Lismer, Varley, and MacDonald. In 1936, Kerr travelled to study at Westminster School of Art in London, England, returning to Canada in the early years of the Second World War. In 1947, he was hired as the Head of the art department at Calgary’s Provincial Institute of Technology (now Alberta College of Art). In 1967 Kerr retired to concentrate on painting. Kerr’s artwork has been exhibited widely, with retrospectives in 1940, 1962, 1975, and 1985. His artwork is held in public and private collections, including the Mackenzie Art Gallery, and the National Gallery of Canada. Kerr was a member of the Alberta Society of Artists and the Royal Canadian Academy and was awarded a Canada Council Senior Fellowship (1959), an honorary doctorate from the University of Calgary (1973), and the Order of Canada (1983).