ArtworksEdwin HolgateShipbuilding, Sorel, 19421892-1977Sold
Inscriptionsinscribed by Frances Holgate, the artist’s wife, ‘Edwin Holgate painted this picture in 1942 in the Sorel Shipyards. in the Province of Quebec./M.Frances Holgate’ (verso, on a label)
Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., Montreal;
Acquired from the above by a corporate collection, Montreal.
Montreal, Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., Montreal, Hommage to Walter Klinkhoff (Part I), September 1998.Montreal, Montreal Museum of Fine Art, Edwin Holgate, May 26 to October 23, 2005. cat no. 103.
LiteratureMontreal, Montreal Museum of Fine Art, Edwin Holgate, May 26 to October 23, 2005. cat no. 103, full page reproduction, p. 155.
The National Gallery of Canada describes Edwin Holgate: “A central figure in the development of modern art in Canada, Holgate forged his own path balancing traditional and modern stylistic approaches.” Shipbuilding Sorel is an outstanding example of the best of modernism demonstrated by Holgate’s painting. Holgate was a founding member of Montreal’s Beaver Hall Group, a later member of the Group of Seven, the Canadian Group of Painters and Montreal’s Pen and Pencil Club.
In his capacity as an Official War Artist with the Air Force, Holgate was taken to England where he found painting circumstances unsuitable and stayed only briefly. Our composition at Sorel’s Marine Industries Shipyard ranks as among his finest contributions of that WWll vintage.
The shipyards at Sorel have roots dating to the 18th century. It is after their purchase by Joseph Simard in 1937, in the corporate name of Marine Industries, and the formidable development of a capable labour force to build ships with a certain time efficiency in time to provide for the needs of Canada’s support of the war that was an enormous accomplishment. It was primarily the Liberty style cargo vessel that Marine Industries built in Sorel. The vessel was used as a supply ship during WWll and was an important contribution by Canada to the Allied success. The development of the labour force at the Sorel shipyards by Marine Industries during those years and the decade after the war period accounts for the prosperity of the rather legendary Simard family in Quebec.
It was Holgate’s military service which provided him membership in the United Services Club, which in my earliest years of apprenticeship allowed me the opportunity to visit with him and listen to him about his experiences. The Club was located in the MacDonald Stewart Foundation building immediately across the street from the Galerie Walter Klinkhoff. Occasionally, on Wednesdays, after lunch at his club he would come to the gallery. After sharing with him works we had by him and his peers, I would drive him to his apartment at Sherbrooke and Clarke Avenue, 10 minutes from the gallery, a valuable time during which I would attempt to prompt Mr. Holgate into reminiscences about his career. My parents were very fond of “Frances & Edwin” and continued to visit Frances after Edwin’s death.
Alan Klinkhoff1of 2