Edward John [E.J.] Hughes, R.C.A.
Edward John Hughes was born in North Vancouver on February 17, 1913. One of the most distinguished painters of his generation, E.J. Hughes lived on Vancouver Island from 1951 until his death in 2007. He studied with F.H. Varley and J.W.G. Macdonald at the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts from 1929 to 1934.
Upon graduation he started a commercial art firm that produced pencil portraits, designs for calendars and posters and several mural commissions including one for the BC government at the 1939 San Francisco World's Fair. Hughes joined the army in 1939 and was appointed an Official War Artist in 1940. He served in this capacity until 1946 and produced more than 1,500 works.
Hughes made more than 400 painstaking paintings in oil, watercolour or acrylic after signing a contract with Max Stern of the Dominion Gallery, Montreal in 1951. The artist's inspiration was found in landscape, particularly Canada's West Coast, which he depicted in a vivid and luminous manner. “I have painted in the Cowichan Valley for fifty years and it it the most beautiful place on earth.”
Hughes's paintings are found in many major Canadian collections including those of the National Gallery of Canada, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Ontario and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. A major retrospective and analysis of his work was presented at the Surrey Art Gallery in 1984. He received the Order of Canada in 2001 and the Order of British Colombia in 2005.
Hughes died in Duncan, BC on January 5, 2007.