Totem Poles No2 Wood engraving
Edwin Holgate, was born at Allandale, Ontario, in 1892.
In 1901 his family settled in Montreal where in 1905, he enrolled as a part-time student at the Art Association of Montreal with William Brymner and Maurice Cullen.
In 1912, Holgate traveled through France, Switzerland, Italy, the Ukraine and Japan. Returning to Montreal in 1914, he enroll's in the Canadian army where he served until the end of the war. Upon his return to the art world of Montreal, he became one of the founding members of the Beaver Hall Group.
Holgate, known primarily as a portraitist, painted an unusual series of female nudes in outdoor settings during the 1930s. He illustrated Georges Bouchard’s book Other Days, Other Ways in 1926, and his illustrations were included in Marius Barbeau’s book Downfall of Temlaham in 1929. His work also include the decoration, in 1928, of the Jasper Room of the Château Laurier in Ottawa and a mural for the Canadian Pavillion at the New York World's Fair in 1939..
Holgate met A.Y. Jackson, at the Beaver Hall Group. Both traveled to Quebec, on sketching trips painting many corners of Charlevoix and Baie-Saint-Paul. Holgate’s friendship with Jackson led to his becoming the eighth member of the Group of Seven, those landscape painters who worked at creating a style that would represent the Canadian wilderness; making Algonquin and Algona parcs in Ontario, the center of the Canadian identity in matters of art. In 1933, after the Group of Seven was disbanded, Holgate became a founding member of the Canadian Group of Painters.
Holgate taught engraving at Montréal's École des beaux-arts between 1928 and 1934. There he played a major role in the renaissance of woodcut engraving in Quebec. Paul-Émile Borduas and Jean-Paul Lemieux were his students.
In 1943, Holgate was appointed official war artist with the Royal Canadian Air Force When he returned from England, in 1946 he settled in the Laurentians where he lived until 1977 . That year, he returned to Montréal for health reason. He died the same year, at age eighty four.
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