Lot #41

P.C. Sheppard
Building the Toronto Harbour

oil on canvas
signed lower right
20.25 x 25 ins ( 51.4 x 63.5 cms )

The Estate of the Artist
Private Collection, Ontario
Ross King, Defiant Spirits: The Modernist Revolution of the Group of Seven, Vancouver/Kleinburg, 2011, page 383
P.C. Sheppard often accompanied Group of Seven members on sketching trips throughout the city of Toronto. Ross King praises the artist as being “possessed of a visionary approach to the urban landscape.” A Toronto native, Sheppard bore witness to the steady construction and urbanization that took place within the city during the first half of the twentieth century. In 1911, a federal law was passed to form the Toronto Harbour Commission, in order to develop the facilities of the harbour. The commission delivered its first multi-million dollar plan the following year to gradually transform the waterfront into a modern port, and the work was administered throughout the next few decades. Sheppard’s “Building the Toronto Harbour” serves as a colourful and visually appealing image and record of Toronto’s history.

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Peter Clapham Sheppard
(1882 - 1965) OSA, RCA

Peter Clapham Sheppard was born in Toronto on October 21, 1881. He apprenticed at engraving houses such as at Rolph, Clark, Stone Ltd. in Toronto, where he became a highly skilled lithographer. He received his art training at the Central Ontario School of Art and Design and the Ontario College of Art under George Reid, John William Beatty, and William Cruickshank. Between 1912 and 1914, he obtained nine Honours Diplomas for for painting and drawing and was awarded the Sir Edmund Walker Scholarship and the Stone Scholarship (Life Classes).

After 1912, Sheppard travelled extensively throughout Europe and the United States. He was elected a member of the Ontario Society of Artists in 1918 and an Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1929. His works were shown in many of the annual R.C.A., O.S.A. and C.N.E. exhibitions, along side works by Tom Thomson, Frederick Varley and J.E.H. MacDonald. His artworks were also included in The British Empire Exhibition, Wembley 1925, L’Exposition D’Art Canadien, Paris 1927, The Exhibition of Contemporary Canadian Painting (Southern Dominions) 1936 and The World’s Fair, New York 1939. Sheppard’s work is held in collections including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Canadian War Museum and the National Gallery of Canada.

In 2010, Sheppard’s works were prominently featured in the “Defiant Spirits” exhibition at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario, curated by noted Canadian author Ross King. Powerful images such as “The Building of the Bloor Street Viaduct (1916)”, “Toronto Gasworks, (1912)” and “The Engine Home, (1919)” attested to Sheppard’s unchronicled contribution to modernism and to the city of Toronto in the formative years of its art history. P.C. Sheppard’s artwork is visible at the thirty-three second mark within this “Group of Seven: Defiant Sprits Exhibition” video - http://goo.gl/FS4C7x

(Source: The Estate of the Artist)