North Shore Historic Art


David Brown Milne CGP CSGA CSPWC (1882-1953)

David Milne was born near Paisley, Ontario and first began his art education in New York City, at a small art school, followed by the Art Students' League in 1903. After graduating, he turned to commercial art to support himself, making showcards, signs, window dressings as well as some illustrative work. While in New York, he attended all of the major galleries and shows, familiarizing himself with the avant-garde artists of the time including Matisse and Picasso, as well as established artists including Toulouse-Lautrec, Cezanne and Rodin. Through this immersion in cutting edge art, he gained a first hand knowledge of the newest art trends. He was directly influenced by the work of Maurice Predergast, Claude Monet and Georges Seurat. During his time in New York, he exhibited at the American Watercolour Society, the Pennsylvania Academy and the Spring and Fall shows at the Montross Gallery. Five of his paintings were selected to be included in the groundbreaking "Armory Show" of 1913, which was arguably the most important art exhibition of the 20th Century. In 1916, Milne moved to Boston Corners where he painted a number of his most famous canvases. Then, in 1918, he returned to Toronto and enlisted in the Canadian Army and was soon elected an official War Artist. Following the war, Milne returned to Boston Corners, in 1919. He exhibited 80 watercolours at the Art Association of Montreal in 1924. It was at this time that Milne began making drypoint etchings, first with a simple washing machine wringer, and then on a proper etching press, purchased by his friend James Clarke. In 1928, Milne moved to Lake Temagami, Ontario for the summer, followed by Palgrave, Ontario. He attempted to have the National Gallery of Canada purchase a large collection of his paintings, but was forced to sell to Vincent Massey instead, whom then exhibited the works at Mellors Gallery and sold off a number of them. Milne was then living at Six Mile Lake, where he met Douglas Duncan and Alan Jarvis, who had seen his work at Mellors Gallery. He continued to show his paintings at Mellors Gallery until 1938, when Duncan became his agent and patron, assuring Milne of a steady income. In 1939, Milne split with his wife, Patsy, and he moved to Uxbridge, Ontario, where he lived from 1940 to 1952. He held solo shows at numerous public art galleries around the world, and his paintings are in most major Canadian public collections as well as countless private collections the world over. He was a member of the Canadian Group of Painters, the Canadian Society of Graphic Artists and the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour.

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