GEORGE ALFRED PAGINTON "EMPIRE BRASS STORE" c.1932
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Oil on canvas
- 36 x24 inches (91.5 x 60.75 cm)
- Circa 1932
- PAMA: Painting a Nation 2019-2020
- Beaverbrook Art Gallery: Painting a Nation 2022
- Inventory #: Q06
The Artist: George Alfred Paginton (Canadian, 1901-1988)
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.
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.
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.
George Paginton's work is held by many esteemed private collectors and as well as public and museum collections across Canada including Hamilton Art Gallery, Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Art Gallery of Northumberland, Art Gallery of Sudbury and the Peel Art Gallery, and is part of the collection of the National Capital Commission for the Official Residences in Ottawa.
The Story: The scene captures the bustling industrial city Toronto was becoming in the 1930s. Smokestacks dot the sky. Paginton's billowing smoke and fog are reminiscent of the Impressionists: both fascinated in capturing the spirit of the industrial age of their times. The Canada Life Building, built one year before this painting was created in 1931, towers over the smog in the distance.
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