North Shore Historic Art

Arthur Heming RCA (1870-1940)

Arthur Heming was born in Paris, Ontario. His family moved to Hamilton, Ontario when he was 12.  He began his studies at the Hamilton Art School, where he was later appointed assistant to the Master and taught for 16 years. In 1890 he became a freelance illustrator and his work appeared in the Hamilton Spectator and Harper's Weekly. In 1899 he travelled to New York City to study under Frank Vincent Dumond at the Art Students' League. In 1900 he painted the illustrations for W.A. Fraser's book Mooswa which were sold on Fifth Avenue at Charles Scribner's Sons shop. In 1904 Heming went to London, England and studied under Frank Brangwyn. Heming was told that he was partly colour blind and until 1930 all of his work was done in black and white and yellow. It was his friend Richard Jack, R.A.  who finally discovered he was not. He published his first book Spirit Lake in 1907. Woodblock artist W.J. Phillips wrote on Heming's work in The Beaver (1940). 

 Heming traveled to the Canadian North to research material for his books and to paint. He is noted as traversing "550 miles by raft, 1,100 miles by dog team, 1,700 miles by snowshoe and 3,300 by canoe" (Canadian Men and Women of the Time, 1912). He was one of the first artists to be invited to have a studio in the famed "Studio Building" in Toronto, built by Lawren Harris of the Group of 7 and Dr. James MacCallum in 1914. He held a solo show in Toronto in 1920 and 10 of his paintings were purchased by the Royal Ontario Museum by Sir Edmund Walker. These were all illustrative works on large canvas for his book The Drama of the Forests, which were also used as covers in the 1920s for Maclean's magazine. Heming's last book The Living Forest was published in 1925 and also appeared in serial form in Maclean's magazine. His paintings were also illustrated in the Saturday Evening Post, Canadian Magazine, Life, the New York Times Magazine, The Toronto Star, Scientific American and many more.  

After a solo show in London England, his works gained international appeal and were widely collected and are even more sought after today. He was a Fellow of the Socciety of American Illustrators, member of the Author's Club in London, England, Arts and Letters Club in Toronto, Author's League of America, Society of Illustrators of New York and many more. He was elected an associate member of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1934. His paintings are in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada House in London England, General Motors of Canada and many more throughout the world.


Mother Bear Caught in a Snare

Saving the Elephant


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2011 North Shore Historic Art