Frederick A. Fraser Rediscoverd
Frederick Alexander Fraser (Canadian, 1897 – 1975)
Fraser was an artist who contributed to the distinctive tradition of Canadian painting. He was known for watercolours and wood engravings and produced works in oil as well.
At age 21, Fraser began attending night classes at the Ontario College of Art (OCA) and studied regularly from 1918 to 1929. At OCA, he studied under some of Canada’s best instructors and recognized landscape artists including George Reid, Charles MacDonald Manly, John William (J.W.) Beatty, Arthur Lismer and James Edward Hervey (J.E.H.) MacDonald.
Hired as an art instructor at Western Technical-Commercial School in Toronto, Fraser taught still life, life drawing, watercolour and lettering from 1932 to 1963 alongside Lawrence Arthur Colley (L.A.C.) Panton. One of Fraser's most well-known students was Harold Barling Town, a founding member of the Canadian Painters Eleven group of abstract artists. Another of Fraser’s students was Vancouver Island-based woodblock artist Graham A. Scholes.
From 1926 to 1956, Fraser exhibited with the Ontario Society of Artists, Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour, Canadian National Exhibition, Canadian Society of Graphic Art and the Art Association of Montreal.
Fraser knew the work of earlier Canadian painters and his peers including Group of Seven members along with Quebec-based watercolourists and wood engravers such as Edwin Holgate and Goodridge Roberts. An understanding of printing techniques and a skilled command of a graver allowed him to capture light and mood with precise detail in his wood engravings, the benchmark in fine relief printing. In the company of A.J. Casson, A.Y. Jackson and W.J. Phillips, Fraser produced relief print Christmas cards of his own graphics from elaborate woodcut or lino blocks using his own printing press.
Frederick Alexander Fraser’s artwork is held in both private and public collections including the Robert McLaughlin Gallery.