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The Vet - Paul Wickson is noted for the fine work horse portraits he painted. Oddly enough, Paul was a city boy who had no country experience till he moved to Paris in the early 1880s, when he was in his early 20s.

But the life of country farmers entranced him so he took every opportunity to travel to farms, often with a friend, a local vet.

That vet is shown here, as the owner watches the painter, much as one does a photographer these days.

Watering Time - Another fine Wickson of horses at the end of the day.

His horse portraits were so accurate that farmers who had not known that Wickson had painted their horses, instantly identified them when they saw the paintings on display.

Wickson was passionate to get everything perfect. He painted living horses so convincingly one can almost hear the blowing of the nostrils, the clumping of feet, the swish of the tail.

Paul also was no wastrel. This huge canvas was an over paint of another subject which he was not happy with. Instead of throwing it out he painted the horses over top.

The Pottery - Another fine view of the interior of the Ahrens Pottery in downtown Paris.

Paul was obviously a master of more than horses as this fine, detailed, and immensely atmospheric painting shows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Homeward Bound - Combining a skill of painting animals and people was a constant theme in many of Paul's most memorable works.

Like many immigrants to a new land, he reveled in what he found in Canada among the lives of ordinary people in rural areas and in the western frontier.

He wanted to portray that Canada for the world.

As well as painting real horse, instead of just artistically inventing them on the palet, Paul painted real people.

The vet above is an example.

It is believed the woman riding the horse is Elizabeth Baird, a member of the Capron family who founded Paris.

 

 

 

 

 

 




Visiting the Homesteader -
Paul won commissions to paint western Canada which at the time under Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier was bringing in thousands of Europeans to break the prairie soil.

It was a story dear to Wickson's heart. He painted lots of homesteading on the prairie scenes and always managed to put in horse and farm animals which were every bit as important in the story as the people.

Without the horse, cows, and chickens, the west could not have been opened or developed.

War's Declared in Europe - In the remote west the mountie or trooper was often the only way news got around.

Below a recruiting officer is looking for people eager to get away from the drudgery of farm work and do something really exciting for a change, like dying for your country...

There were a lot of takers... who never had to worry about the drudgery of farm work, ever again...

Paul has wonderfully captured the moment when the young man is about to make a decision that will change - or end - his life...

It will mean the end of what the old man worked for his entire life - the next generation, the family farm, an easy retirement for him...


Stopping at the Bank -
The setting is in front of the bank, which stood beside the building that was the old Post Office but is now torn down.

The Letter's Here - Possibly the woman has come to get the mail, hoping for a letter from her husband had gone overseas to fight in World War I. She's lucked out, this time.

Happy for a moment, she'll worry all over again, tomorrow, that one day it will arrive edged in black...

For tens of thousands of Canadians that day did come...

We thank the Paris Historical Society for some of these images.

 

 

First Born in the Settlement - Paul sold quite a few paintings to the Osborne Calendar Company of Newark, New Jersey, an American puzzle manufacturing company.

Right his First Born in the Settlement, shows the people still living in tents, and cooking over an outdoor fire, before the houses are up.

Paul was noted for his early western settlement paintings even though he never went west to see for himself the landscape and lifestyles he painted so evocatively for Canadians.

This puzzle has some 400 pieces, and dates from the early 20th century.

 

 

 

 
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Artist Page 53.2

Great Canadian Artists

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A fabulous Paul Wickson print in mint condition, still in its original glass and frame.

This print wonderfully summarizes Paul Wickson's Canada during the late Victorian and Edwardian period.

It was an image shared by countless Canadians who bought up his prints and lovingly hung them in family rooms, hotels, grocery stores, bars, and houses of ill repute.

It was of a Canada that mostly minded its own business and spent its treasure expanding services and civilization for its own people.

A far cry from today when billions of dollars are being diverted from local Canadian needs to pounding thousands of Muslim men, women, and children into dust in far off Afghanistan.

But the corporate interests, that once saw Canadian expansion as a place for business opportunities, now greedily see the economic and strategic advantages of making war to subdue Muslims, who, they believe, have no right to all that oil that God, unfairly, gave them control over.

Look at Paul Wickson and weep, for a vision of Canada that once was, and has been lost in the 21st century, as greed and plain racist nastiness turns Canada into a mean right wing partner of Bushite America in foreign policy.


Lithograph, The Farm Pets - Paul Wickson, 1900
Orig. print - Image Size - 23 cm
Found - Orillia, ON

A very rare find, indeed, is this fabulous Paul Wickson painting of cows reflected in a river edge.

Paul's cows are the equal of famed British animal painter TS Cooper, or better.

The cows tell you that the homestead, in the back right, belongs to a Scottish settler who favours cattle from the ould sod.

They are Ayrshire cattle, good for milk and meat both. They are multi-coloured, and can be found in black, red, brown, and white. They are equal, in many performance categories, to Holstein-Friesans, and superior in some. Their milk is very good for cheese making; they calve easily, and they live a long time.

Paul's paintings are very rare to come across. Only a few are in private collections, and those that are, no one wants to give up.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Evening on the Grand River - Paul Wickson, c 1900
Orig. oil - Image Size - 23 cm
Found - Port Hope, ON

Unlike so many other animal painters, who are content to show their animals off by themselves, Paul always showed his horses and cows related to their human masters. He viewed man and beast in the rural Canadian locations he depicted, as partners living in sync together.

Here he shows the newly built log cabin in the background, featuring a main house and a lean-to addition on the side.

And, scurrying off to the side, a woman in bustling blouse and flouncy long skirt, rushing off to some urgent task. Her arms are already reaching up; perhaps the baby has fallen and is crying... Or the dog has treed a coon and is barking wildly...

In the foreground, oblivious to it all, but sternly on guard, another mother stands stock still and casts a wary eye, as her own baby nurses.

Paul has managed to give this mother the same powerful personality perks that he gave to all his animal portraits.

And down the years, no doubt, the farmer easily recognized, in the painting, his own cows as the unique individuals he remembered once inhabited his farmyard.

"My goodness, if that isn't Flossie nursing Snuffy... Oh, and there's Sylvia and Maggie too. You remember? It was before mom accidentally burned the cabin down and we had to move to town..."

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Giovanni Wickson RCA - 1859 - 1922 - 3

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