|ANDRÉ BIÉLER, LL.D, R.C.A., O.S.A.(1896-1989)|
|Wayside Cross, 1931|
|Ink drawing 10 5/8" x 7"|
|Signed and dated, l.r. `André Bieler / 31`.||
Galerie Walter Klinkhoff, Montreal;
Private Collection, Montreal.
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His opportunity to take up art seriously came with the First World War. Enlisting in the spring of 1915 with the First University Company, P.O.C.L.I., he was wounded at Sanctuary Wood in 1916 and in 1917 he left the regiment, after Paschendaele, badly gassed. He worked at headquarters, Topographical Section, as a map draughtsman with the rank of sergeant until the end of the war, when he was head of the section. With every member of the staff painting and drawing in their spare time, and exciting visits from Cullen, Varley and other Canadian artists, his interest in art was roused again, and when he returned home he applied his war veteran's gratuity to a three-month's course in the Art Students' League, Woodstock, N.Y. He chose this instead of the alternative, a year at the Ontario College of Art, proposed by the Education Officer. Most of the students were young war veterans like himself, all keen and stimulating to each other and to the teachers - George Bellows, Eugene Speicher and Charles Rosen.|
Back home in Montreal he was restless. He found no inspiration in William Brymner at the Art Association School, and at last he decided to go to Paris. He studied at the Ecole du Louvre with Paul Serusier and Maurice Denis and enlarged his experience by going to Switzerland and working with his uncle. Painting in the Town Hall of Le Locle in the Jura Mountains, Le Corbusier's country, he learned how to plan large murals and how to handle fresh mortar, became well schooled in the technique of the true fresco.
On his return to Canada, he painted in the Gaspé and then settled at Ste. Famille on the Isle of Orleans in an abandoned house which he fixed-up and lived-in for several years. He later had a littlecottage on the main street of St. Sauveur in the Laurentians and the St. Christopher on the mural across the front of it offered encouragement to generations of skiers who never heard of the painter.
In the ten years before he went to Kingston as Resident Artist and Professor of Art at the Queen's University, he painted continuosly and exhibited with Lilias Newton, Mabel May, Edwin Holgate and other members of the Beaver Hall Group of Montreal, and in one-man shows in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and the Art Association.
Bieler became an Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1942 and a full Academician in 1955. He is a member of the Canadian Group of Painters (Vice-President in 1943), The Ontario Society of Artists, The Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour and the Canadian Society of Graphic Art. He is one of the "Sever painters of Quebec" in the National Film Board production of that title.
Teaching began in night classes in Montreal with John Lyman and over the years took him as far afield as North Bay, Timmins and Banff; he taught at the Banff School of Fine Arts four summers, 1940, 1947, 1949, and 1952. He has made extensive lecture tours across Canada, sponsored by the National Gallery and various other galleries and associations.
The Queen's University Art Department, one of the finest in Canada, was established in 1934 with Goodridge Roberts as first Resident Artist. André Bieler succeeded him in 1936 and two years later a full credit course in art was on the curriculum. During his more than a quarter of a century in Kingston, with his helpmate Jeannette at his side, the arts have flourished and grown under his hand as under the hand of a loving husbandman. Robert Ayre.
(Reprinted from the Introduction A Retrospective Exhibition of the Works of André Bieler 1925-1963. The Agnes Etherington Art Centre, 1963).
Since 1963 André Bieler has been retired from Queen's University. This has given him an opportunity to devote his energies full-time to painting. He has worked in several media - pencil, watercolour, oil, tempera, woodcut, mural painting, collage and mosaics.
1924 Montreal Art Association
1926 Geneva & Ritz Carlton, Montreal
1939 Kingston & Toronto
1940 Montreal; Quebec City; Ottawa; Edmonton; Calgary;
1946 Kingston & Toronto
1952 Kingston; Ottawa; Toronto
1954 Ottawa, Robertson Art Gallery
1963 (Retrospective) Kingston; Hamilton; Toronto
1964 Guelph; Peterborough; Toronto; Mexico; Kingston
1969 Walter Klinkhoff Gallery, Montreal
1970- (Retrospective 50 years) Charlottetown; Montreal;
1971 Hamilton; Saint Catherines; Oshawa; Stratford; Kingston
1972 Bath, Ontario
1977 Kaspar Gallery, Toronto
1979 Roberts Gallery, Toronto
1980 Keenlyside Gallery, Vancouver
1981 Walter Klinkhoff Gallery, Montreal.
In part reprinted from André Biéler, An Artist's Life and Times by Frances Smith, Merritt Publishing Company Limited 1980.
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