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Between May 1846 and October 1848, Paul Kane travelled from Toronto, Ontario, to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, following the Hudson’s Bay Company’s fur-trade routes during which time he sketched the landscapes and the peoples he encountered. Later, in his Toronto studio referring to his sketches for inspiration and details he developed formal oil-on-canvas and oil-on-board paintings. Encampment, River Winnipeg is a scene on the Winnipeg River showing the camp of the Hudson’s Bay Company canoe brigade. Paul Kane wrote in Wanderings of an Artist: “The evening was very beautiful, and soon after we had pitched our tents and lighted our fires, we were visited by some Saulteaux Indians. As I had plenty of time, I sketched the encampment. Our visitors, the clear stream reflecting the brilliant sky so peculiar to North America, the granite rocks backed by the rich foliage of the woods with Indians and voyageurs moving about, made a most pleasing subject.” (1859:67)

Details

  • Title: Encampment, River Winnipeg
  • Creator: Paul Kane
  • Date: 1849-1856
  • Physical Dimensions: w76.5 x h48.9 cm
  • Provenance: Gift of Sir Edmund Osler.
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Royal Ontario Museum
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Medium Extent: Paul Kane (1810–1871) was a Canadian artist who in the mid-19th century set out from Toronto, Ontario, to sketch the western landscape and Native peoples. He undertook two major journeys—1845 and 1846–1848—during which time he travelled as far west as the Pacific Ocean. Kane returned to Toronto with more than 600 sketches and then set about developing formal studio paintings while referring to his sketches for inspiration and details. By 1856 most of his oil paintings were complete and in 1859 the narrative of his two journeys titled Wanderings of an Artist among the Indians of North America was published in London by Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans & Roberts. Paul Kane is recognized as one of the founding fathers of Canadian art who left an invaluable and remarkable record of landscapes and Native peoples in the Great Lakes, Plains, Columbia River, and North Pacific Coast regions.
  • Accession Number Extent: Paul Kane produced a cycle of 100 paintings that document his narrative, Wanderings of an Artist. By 1856 the cycle of paintings was complete and delivered to his patron, the Honourable George William Allan. The paintings were later acquired by Sir Edmund Osler and through his generous gift the Royal Ontario Museum has the complete cycle.
  • Accession Number: 912.1.19

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