George Alfred Paginton - A Truthful and Rugged Artistic Impression of Canada April 08 2018

Inspired by the Canadian landscape like the Group of Seven, George Paginton's direct, truthful and rugged depiction of Canada served him as a personal escape. His intensity of colour and freedom of technique brought out a sense of beauty rarely seen because he preferred to paint for his own enjoyment.

Paginton, born in 1901, spent his early years as an orphan in England and arrived in Lindsay, Ontario at age 10 as farm labour. At age 18, he began his adult life in Toronto but never forgot his early childhood struggles and fears. Shortly after, he spent a term at the Ontario College of Art Summer School at Port Hope and studied under the direction of noted Canadian artists, J.W. Beatty, Frederick Haines, and Frederick Challener.

"Northern Ontario" circa 1952, oil on canvas board 

Like many recognized Canadian artists, Paginton became a commercial artist. His skills quickly developed and were rapidly noticed as he landed his first job at Photo Engravers and Electrotypers Ltd., of Toronto. Then, starting in 1927, he began a forty-three year-long and rewarding career at the Toronto Star. As an editorial illustrator, he covered events such as the construction of the Toronto subway and Toronto's City Hall, and the building of the St. Lawrence seaway. He began painting his own work in his free time.

Although roughly twenty years younger, Paginton was closely associated with the Group of Seven and even shared space in the Studio Building where many of the Group of Seven members worked. He became friends with A.Y. Jackson and was a pallbearer along with A.J. Casson at Jackson's funeral.

His newspaper work, where he learned to grasp situations quickly, and his enjoyment of painting outside, where he learned to capture light in a moment, enabled him to create small panels and canvases in a single sitting. And it is in these small format works where his love of Canadian landscape is revealed. As a plein air painter, his subject matter crossed the entire country from Newfoundland and New Brunswick, through Quebec and Ontario, to Alberta and British Columbia. Rarely did he rework his sketches into larger studio canvases but there are a few.

"Ice on the Shore" circa 1951, oil on canvas

In 1941, Paginton took over the studio of J.W. Beatty until he built his own home and studio on the shores of Lake Ontario where he continued to paint until his death in 1988. His studio is still set up as he liked it and where it remains a creative space now used by his artist son, Tony Paginton.

During his lifetime, Paginton rarely exhibited his works. But one of his only international exhibitions was held in New York just before he died where his work was featured beside some of Canada's most renowned artists: J.W. Beatty, Jack Bush, Lawren Harris, Illingworth Kerr and David Milne.

After his death in 1988, his family wanted others to see his love of Canada and they secured representation with Toronto gallerist Odon Wagner where three sold out gallery shows took place from 1999 to 2002, and his work sold for many year. 

George Paginton's work is held by many esteemed private collectors and as well as public and museum collections across Canada including the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Peel Art Gallery, Canada's Official Residences as part of the Crown Collection and the City of Toronto, 

Wall Fiction is pleased to work with the artist's family in offering a collection of his Canadian landscapes.