Paul Kane: Life & Work by Arlene Gehmacher

A chance encounter in London, England, in 1842 set the course for the cash-strapped, itinerant portrait painter Paul Kane to journey through Canada's West, recording traditional Aboriginal life. Read the online art book here: http://www.aci-iac.ca/paul-kane
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During his travels Kane encountered over thirty different tribes, and he painted their vibrant cultural traditions as well as individual portraits. “Scalp Dance, Colville,” Colville (Interior Salish), c. 1849–56, Royal Ontario Museum.

Paul Kane kK During his travels Kane encountered over thirty different tribes, and he painted their vibrant cultural traditions as well as individual portraits. “Scalp Dance, Colville,” Colville (Interior Salish), c.

Paul Kane was the first and only artist in Canada to embark upon a pictorial and literary project featuring the country’s Aboriginal peoples; however, his work does contain inaccuracies and anachronisms. “Nesperces Indian,” Nez Perce, c. 1849–56, Royal Ontario Museum.

Paul Kane was the first and only artist in Canada to embark upon a pictorial and literary project featuring the country’s Aboriginal peoples; however, his work does contain inaccuracies and anachronisms. “Nesperces Indian,” Nez Perce, c. 1849–56, Royal Ontario Museum.

Kane made copious detailed and accomplished renderings of Aboriginal peoples and their thriving and vital culture. “Half Breeds Travelling,” Plains Metis, c. 1849–56, Royal Ontario Museum.

Kane made copious detailed and accomplished renderings of Aboriginal peoples and their thriving and vital culture. “Half Breeds Travelling,” Plains Metis, c.

The eight chromolithographs and thirteen woodcut engravings that illustrate Paul Kane's “Wanderings of an Artist among the Indians of North America” are based on Kane’s paintings, sketches, or combinations of these. Paul Kane, “Encampment amongst the Islands of Lake Huron,” 1859, woodcut engraving.

Paul Kane, “Encampment amongst the Islands of Lake Huron,” woodcut engraving.

John Mix Stanley, one of Kane's contemporaries, was an itinerant artist and photographer known for his landscape paintings. John Mix Stanley, “Buffalo Hunt on the Southwestern Prairies,” 1845, Smithsonian American Art Museum.

File:'Buffalo Hunt on the Southwestern Prairies', oil on canvas painting by John Mix Stanley, Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washing.

Paul Kane’s oil paintings reinforce the trope of the “noble savage,” a stereotype that was a product of the Western world’s Romantic vision of indigenous people. “Head Chief of the Assiniboines (Portrait of Mah-min),” Assiniboine, c. 1849–56, Royal Ontario Museum.

Paul Kane’s oil paintings reinforce the trope of the “noble savage,” a stereotype that was a product of the Western world’s Romantic vision of indigenous people. “Head Chief of the Assiniboines (Portrait of Mah-min),” Assiniboine, c.

Paul Kane’s fieldwork and studio paintings are often treated as discrete categories within the artist’s “Indian project.” Paul Kane, “Indian Encampment on Lake Huron,” c. 1845, Art Gallery of Ontario.

Paul Kane’s kK. fieldwork and studio paintings are often treated as discrete categories within the artist’s “Indian project.” Paul Kane, “Indian Encampment on Lake Huron,” c. Art Gallery of Ontario.

It seems Paul Kane duplicated many of his oil paintings, which are now being analyzed by ROM curator Ken Lister and paintings conservator Heidi Sobol. “Running Buffalo,” Assiniboine, c. 1849–56, Royal Ontario Museum.

It seems Paul Kane duplicated many of his oil paintings, which are now being analyzed by ROM curator Ken Lister and paintings conservator Heidi Sobol. “Running Buffalo,” Assiniboine, c.

Paul Kane’s sketches were generally assumed to have been executed on the spot or, if not directly from life, then close in time and location to their subject. “Encampment with Conical Shaped Lodges and Canoe,” mid-July 1845, Royal Ontario Museum.

Paul Kane’s sketches were generally assumed to have been executed on the spot or, if not directly from life, then close in time and location to their subject. “Encampment with Conical Shaped Lodges and Canoe,” mid-July Royal Ontario Museum.

Canada Envelope Company commemorative Paul Kane mailer, 1971, photo courtesy of Andrew Liptak.

Canada Envelope Company commemorative Paul Kane mailer, photo courtesy of Andrew Liptak.

Paul Kane’s book “Wanderings of an Artist” is a hybrid, a travelogue that includes detailed ethnographic descriptions as well as accounts of events he did not directly experience. “White Mud Portage,” 1859, chromolithograph from Kane’s book.

Paul Kane’s book “Wanderings of an Artist” is a hybrid, a travelogue that includes detailed ethnographic descriptions as well as accounts of events he did not directly experience. “White Mud Portage,” chromolithograph from Kane’s book.

Many of Paul Kane’s oil paintings embody conventions of Romantic painting: sublime or picturesque views and the idealization of the individuals who were his subjects. “A Prairie on Fire,” c. 1849–56, Royal Ontario Museum.

(kK) Many of Paul Kane’s oil paintings embody conventions of Romantic painting: sublime or picturesque views and the idealization of the individuals who were his subjects. “A Prairie on Fire,” c.

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