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J. B. TAYLOR - Artist

1917 - 1970

The Sublime Revisited

Mountain Paintings by J.B. Taylor

The Artist | Chronology

I. Introduction

"The beautiful in nature is a question of the form of the object, and this consists in limitation, whereas the sublime is to be
found in an object devoid of form, so far as it immediately involves, or else by its presence provokes, a representation of limitlessness, yet with a super-added thought of its totality."
1

Unlike most of the painters who sought their inspiration in the Rocky Mountains, Jack Taylor found a personal language to express the essence of the Rockies. After his first sketching trips into the mountains in 1948, when he started teaching during the summer at the Banff School of Fine Arts, Taylor constantly was engaged in reworking alpine landscapes in his paintings.

He was not interested in recording the factual data of the local topography in the descriptive image of a specific site.

His challenge was to capture the elusive nuances of light evident in the high mountain regions above Lake O’Hara: Oesa, Opabin and McArthur, three mountain lakes with a particular evanescent light on their glistening surface. These three lakes, surrounded by cuspate shorelines, pink rocks and luminous glaciers at a short distance, haunted him. Year after year, O’Hara returned as a source material for his paintings.

Although he rarely discussed his artistic intentions in private or in public, he revealed in 1968 a glimpse of his focus in painting alpine subject matter. As he put it,

"My particular interest is with the geological structure of nature and with years of observation of mountain landscapes, this painting Glacier #3 developed from many drawings and paintings in a complete composition symbolizing the feeling of quality of these enormous glaciers." 2

His emotive response to high glacier country above Lake O’Hara was again expressed in May 1970, a few months before he passed away. According to the artist,

"Climbing among the glaciers, you become aware of time. You can see the sun, wind, and rain that caused the great masses of ice to change their forms over many thousands of years. … The final painting evolved out of the essential elements of art, that is, the concern for a basic abstract design. Whether or not an artist uses a subject as a point of departure, his main aim is to construct on canvas the simplest statement he can make. … With knowledge of the subject matter – in this case the glacial structure – the artist can be much freer in his experiments; he can concentrate on his feelings about the subject which best express his ideas. Opabin #1 is one idea and is an expression of the grandeur of those magnificent glaciers." 3

One might be misled by his use of this last phrase, “grandeur of those magnificent glaciers,” and link Taylor’s mountain paintings to those by late 19th century Canadian itinerant artists who, provided with free railroad passes to the West, recorded in photographs and sketches the mountain vistas they witnessed during their brief exposure to the Rockies. Later, in their studios at home in Central Canada, they would compose paintings of the Rocky Mountains to suit the corporate taste of their patron, William Van Horne, Vice President and later President of the Pacific Railroad Company. 4 Taylor’s art parallels that by the ‘CPR artists’ only in the general choice of subject matter, the Rocky Mountains, but there are no particular correspondences in artistic intention, style and effect.

In spite of similar subject matter, Taylor did not paint the mountains to decorate corporate boardrooms and offices or to promote indirectly the vigorous enterprise of a company. His patrons came from a relatively small middle class circle of intelligentsia: family, friends and acquaintances. In a broader socio-economic context, Taylor, unlike the ‘CPR artists’, did not compose idealized paintings of the Rocky Mountains in order to attract tourism or settlers to Western Canada. 5 Instead, increasingly he seems to have turned away from the economic impact of post-war oil and gas explorations affecting urban and rural centres in Alberta. 6 Especially during the last decade of his life, the solitude of the mountains above Lake O’Hara became his cherished source for inspiration. Jack Taylor, behind his casual humour, could not be subservient to any corporate brief, telling him how to paint “our mountains,” as Van Horne used to call them. 7

The difference between Taylor’s artistic intent and that of John Fraser, a late 19th century painter who enjoyed the patronage of the CPR, will illustrate how far Taylor’s mountain landscapes are from the cliched versions of the Rockies produced about a century ago.

In May 1886, Fraser’s three large watercolours of the Rocky Mountains were exhibited at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition in London. Not only was Fraser’s work included in this prestigious exhibition through the personal intervention of Van Horne, but also the Vice President of the CPR even supplied Fraser with photographs and directions on how to colour the mountain scenery. 8

After this London exhibition, Fraser exhibited in November 1886 a suite of ten Rocky Mountain paintings at the Queens Hotel in Toronto. An art critic for The Globe, who reviewed the show, interpreted these large watercolours according to the by then traditional Burkean notions of the sublime. 9

The sublime scenery of the Rockies is evidently inspiring, but it has worked no such marvellous change in other artists’ work as it has on Mr. Fraser … he has risen to their sublime plane and depicted their dizzy heights, cavernous depths, dazzling light and massive shadows…. 10

Dennis Reid, in Our Own Country Canada, suggested cautiously that this “marvellous change” in Fraser’s work might not have been caused by the artist’s actual experience of seeing the Rockies. For Reid, the composition, depth of field, and naturalistic tonal values of the existent large watercolours reveal the characteristic intervention of the camera lens. 11 Indeed subsequent research has shown that Fraser’s paintings, and those by many other ‘CPR artists’ depicting the dazzling scenery of the Rocky Mountains, were not the result of a sublime inspiration: often they were painted from photographs. 12 Fraser’s work and that of his CPR confrères, has little to do with Edmund Burke’s theory of the sublime, which associates the feeling of the sublime with an experience of pain and terror, linked with self-preservation. Nevertheless the reception of Fraser’s work, as described in the text by the art critic for The Globe, followed outmoded 18th century notions of Burke’s theory of the sublime.

What does all this have to do with Taylor? My contention is that, contrary to the ‘CPR artist’, Jack Taylor was not satisfied with taking a ‘free ride’ by painting mountain scenery on the basis of photographic images. Further, in order to create his abstract alpine compositions of the 1960s, Taylor had experienced year after year at O’Hara that effervescent feeling of being literally on top of the world. Only after he had absorbed perceptually the region surrounding the lakes O’Hara, Oesa, Opabin and McArthur could he synthesize his feelings about it. Only then could he paint their “light at the edge of shadow,” as Dorothy Barnhouse once put it. 13

Jack Taylor was not inclined to engage in philosophical discussions about his work. More likely, he would dodge any theoretical queries with characteristic quips. He was above all a creative artist. Like many artists, he believed that his creative intent should be evident in the visual effect of his work. Taylor attempted to apprehend and comprehend the phenomenal totality of the high mountain range above Lake O’Hara – then to reflect this emotive experience of perceiving nature in his pictorial imagination. Taylor strove to develop the creative process for revealing the full emotional affect of the mountains. The primary aim of an artist, according to him, is “to construct on canvas the simplest statement he can make,” which, therefore, evokes in this visual “statement” his complex experience of nature.

Although questions concerning the essence of his art cannot be generated by a single approach, one way of finding a new critical understanding of his mountain painting could be through the aesthetic concept of the sublime. Kant, in his discussions of the sublime, distinguishes between the physical greatness of phenomenal items, like mountains and glaciers, and the imagining faculty of our sense which “is the awakening of a feeling of a supersensible faculty within us.” 14

Paul Crowther amplifies this distinction by explaining that because the sublime is beyond comprehension, “it must be found not in the things of nature but rather in our own ideas.” 15 On these terms, Taylor’s Opabin #1 is one such idea.

Jack Taylor was not a thinker and a theorist. However, his paintings of glaciers and mountains invite us to transcend fear of their magnitude or power and turn the visual experience into a positive response. Ultimately, the aesthetic experience of his reflection of nature has the capacity to humanize our fundamental relations to the world.

II. Reception

Taylor’s prolific output of paintings and sketches was exhibited regularly during his lifetime in many different venues across Canada. On view in public places, in rural areas and in urban centres, his work invited the written responses of newspaper reporters, art critics and other cogniscendi. Published in local newspapers, or in other forms of accessible print media, these texts mediated between the art on display and the general public-at-large. A selection of excerpts of reviews, pertaining mainly to his mountain paintings, provides an insight in ‘reading’ in linear time frame the reception of the work by various newspaper writers. In turn, these fragmented observations will indicate to the present reader the aspects of the visual experience of Taylor’s work that were highlighted by the popular press and ‘consumed’ by the public-at-large. In the following collage, most excerpts have been selected from articles which were collected as newspaper clippings in J.B. Taylor’s personal scrapbook. 16 In a sense, they are thus ‘a collage of a collage.’ The structure I have chosen for the rest of this essay deliberately reflects the development of J.B. Taylor’s art: it starts in a descriptive, factual approach to the subject matter and it ends in a conceptual reflection on the aesthetic experience of his art.

1940

Visitors from this community (Prince Edward Island) to the 1940 Canadian National Exhibition, opening August 23rd, will find an art exhibition there of specific local interest. A painting entitled Morning Shadows by Jack Taylor of Prince Edward Island recently purchased by International Business Machine Corporation will be shown with 9 other canvases from the provinces.

“Local Artist Represented in C.N.E. at Toronto,” Clipping, P.E.I. Newspaper, Scrapbook, n.d., n.p.

1945

LAC J.B. Taylor, R.C.A.F., now stationed at Dawson Creek, B.C., is the son of Mr. and Mrs. R.G. Taylor, Charlottetown. He enlisted in the R.C.A.F. in November 1941, as trades draughtsman.

When quite a young school boy, Jack showed marked artistic and musical tendencies, which were encouraged in his home before he began, seriously, to study art. … LAC. Taylor began to study painting and drawing under Mrs. Donald Gass of Charlottetown, and he attended her classes for about three years. He became a member of the P.E.I. Art Society and exhibited in the local art exhibitions and in the Maritime art exhibitions.

Later he studied in New York City, under F.V. DuMond, and attended his summer classes in the Margaree, Cape Breton Island. His studies with DuMond continued for three years, and during this time a picture was chosen for the International Business Machine Exhibition of Contemporary Art of Canada and Newfoundland, shown in New York City’s World’s Fair.

“Airman Continues his Activity in Art Work,” Halifax Herald, 13 April, 1945.

1948

About a score of pictures, mostly from scenes in the Maritime provinces and Ontario but including two from Alberta, reveal this artist as having a personal outlook in both landscape and portraiture. Tonal values and the employment of secondary and tertiary schemes of color seem to be the dominant factors but in addition satisfying composition and excellent drawing testify to the training and practice of this artist. … "Autumn Afternoon, Ontario" is richly mellow in a suggestion of light breaking into shade, a similarity is also visible in “Woodland Interior.” Bright and invigorating is sky and atmosphere in
“P.E. Island Landscape” while “Frosty Morning, Edmonton” wherein distance and effect are artistically given, and “October, Alberta” are clear, bright and worthy examples.

F.H. Norbury, “Display Paintings By J.B. Taylor,” Edmonton source unknown, clipping, scrapbook, n.p. Review of J.B. Taylor exhibition, Arts Building, University of Alberta, February 2, 1948.

1950

The work of the westerners – the summer show of the Alberta Society of Art – is typically Canadian, typically Alberta. Consisting mainly of landscapes and outdoor scenes, their display is made up of a varied and pleasing collection of 44 oils and watercolors. The eastern exhibit 46 pictures produced by the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolor, shows a more sophisticated and urbane – possibly more original – type of work. … Among Alberta Watercolors Prof. J.B. Taylor’s Old Buggy is a simple appealing piece.

J.B., “Art of Albertans Steals the Show But Critic, Being Westerner Admits Possibility of Bias,” Edmonton Bulletin, Saturday,
Sept. 9, 1950.

1952

It comprises landscapes, portraits, figure compositions done in a masterly manner. An observer will see readily that Mr. Taylor enjoys nature and that he interprets it as it appears to him in what might be termed a modern realistic style. His chief interest is in expressing the lighting of each picture, with the result that they appear alive, bright and cheerful. landscapes, particularly those which include mountains, hills, canyons and erosion – as in the badlands – have usually a dark mysterious background, which intrigues one to see farther and farther into the picture, while in the foreground is placed some object to attract attention. example of this manner of painting is “Simpson’s Pass,” a picture seen at a 9,000 feet elevation, with a depression some 5,000 feet below. … A winding stream in this depression, leads the eye on and on in the grey distance. By a few bright touches of color the rocks and grass are lit up in the foreground in a most attractive manner.

The same method is seen in “Sundance Canyon” in which the centre of interest of rock and water, painted in bright colors, shows up against a background of sloping rock in a much lower value of color. … Perhaps the most powerful landscape of all is “Glacial Drift” where the light comes from behind the object.

R.W. Hedley, “One Man Art Exhibit Opening at University,” Edmonton source unknown, clipping, scrapbook. Review of J.B. Taylor exhibition, Rutherford Library, University of Alberta, March, 1952.

1952

… For along the east wall, the viewer sees Alberta, through the brush of Mr. Taylor, mountain scenes, ranch scenes, and a couple of dramatic glances at the mighty oil boom which makes our sister province one of the “milk and honey” areas of the Dominion. … Turning to the back wall, the viewer sees the only painting in the group that might be described as being “modern”. The word modern used here to denote a purely mechanical creation, containing little to delight the eye and much to befuddle the mind. It is Taylor’s “Sun Dance Canyon” which he depicts with heavy full brush strokes, severe draftsmanship and more than enough of sharply contrasting color schemes.

“Late Afternoon, Morraine Lake” and “Morraine Lake” are two striking examples of this kind of what might be called “painting in touch with reality.” … The lake is given part of one corner. What remains is given over to walls of mountainous rock and tall spindly pine trees blocking a good view of even the mountains. And in “Late Afternoon, Morraine Lake,” he puts his mountain walls in the shadow to suggest sunset and approaching darkness, which subdues what beauty remains. … Not as lovely as what is seen on tourist posters. But true and a whole lot closer to the real thing.

R.A. Millar, “Taylor Art Attracts Many to Library,” Prince Albert Herald, n.d. Prince Albert, Saskatchewan clipping, scrapbook, 19.

1953

In soft shades of purple, grey, green and blue, J.B. Taylor’s paintings were skilfully executed. The sense of height and depth which he manages to give his mountains, and his success with light and shadow drew much favorable comment. Most of his works are for sale.

“Art Exhibit at Library Drew Fine Response,” Brandon Daily Sun, Jan. 12, 1953. A review of a group exhibition sponsored by the Brandon Art Club. Scrapbook, 23.

1963

The feature of J.B. Taylor’s painting is his ability to evoke the atmosphere of his subject, be it a city in Italy or a landscape in Western Canada. … Limited in size (the biggest and majority being 24 by 30 inches) and confidently priced, they are the types of work that hang harmoniously in virtually any décor. … But most of all Mr. Taylor catches the mood – or his interpretation of it – in his subject. In particular his ‘Valley of the 10 Peaks’ has a misty illusive quality that dilutes the starkness of the scene and seems to invite residence by some mythological sprite [sic].

Robin Neesham, “Artist’s Paintings Display Confidence,” Calgary Herald, May 15, 1963. A review of a one-man show in Canadian Art Galleries, Calgary. Scrapbook, 32.

1964

Mr. Taylor paints nature, not as it is, but as it should be and as he wishes it to be. … A flat rock face or an ancient façade becomes a stage where flickering light and mysterious shadow present the slow drama of erosion and decay. Taylor is primarily a tone painter and hues are rather suggested than exploited. When he uses purer color it is for chromatic surprise and he applies it succinctly, following the time-tested maxim of thin in shadow, thick in light. He uses light tones as he does textural devices of sand, glue, and resins in minimum quantity for maximum effect.

Beverly Barnhouse, “Prosaic Subjects Infused With Imagination, Drama,” The Edmonton Journal, n.d. A review of a one-man exhibition at Jacox Galleries, Edmonton, April, 1964. Scrapbook, 34.

1964

This is indeed a most interesting one-man show. Technically competent, the works have completely emancipated themselves from Canadian landscape tradition. They are nonetheless concerned with the land: stone, rocks and mountains, soil. The spirit is contemplative and the production, though it appears leisurely, is ecstatically executed. we move toward the present year, the style, the language spoken, become more and more abstract. The earlier paintings – a number reminding me of John Piper’s works – appear rather eclectic in content and style, baroque in their theatrical use of architectural motifs, slightly poster-like.

… The latest paintings, full of introverted intimacy, constitute a painstaking search of textures and graffiti which nonetheless retain an unquestionable quasi-human emotional quality. Most of the recent work speaks of melancholy and dampness, lonely and inaccessible landscapes seen from above but at close range.

… These paintings speak a soft intimate language. They have to be looked at closely; they keep their poetic message to themselves, unless one is willing to become silent in front of them.

Rev. Adrian Arsenault, “Taylor Paintings Speak Soft Intimate Language,” source unknown, local newspaper, Charlottetown, scrapbook, n.p.

A public critique by Rev. Adrian Arsenault, Head of the French and Fine Arts Department, St. Duncan’s University, member of the Canada Council. This critique was given at an exhibition of J.B. Taylor paintings in the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Charlottetown, sponsored by the P.E.I. Art Society, October, 1964.

1966

This painter sees tone rather than color, and illusion rather than disillusion. One might say that he gilds the world, investing it with a grace and mystery one wishes it had. … This present show is based upon structures of nature and man. It shows increased interest in abstract pattern, shallower spatial depth and surfaces which are often heavy textured, scored, and collaged.

… In Pre-Cambrian, sombre oil glaces are relieved by brilliant white snow crowns. This richly-encrusted surface is given to eroded buildings, flickering with light and shadow. … With equal facility he manipulates thin stains and washes in Foothills, Glacier or Nordegg. … Nuance and tonal harmony are Mr. Taylor’s long suit and these are beautifully summed up in Glacial Form No.1.

Dorothy Barnhouse, “J.B. Taylor’s Art Quite Distinctive,” The Edmonton Journal, April 1966, scrapbook, n.p. Review of J.B. Taylor exhibition at Jacox Galleries, April 1966.

1968

Jack Taylor’s austere landscapes are in a personal and pared-down idiom; one in which flourish of line and the seduction of color are noticeably absent. Concentration upon textural and tonal values establishes a close alliance with content, since this also touches as Nature’s more austere elements and her more uncompromising moods. These paintings are about elemental, time-worn things; rock, glacial ice, a sleeping town – all under glowering skies, with here and there a gleam of light. … Any attempt to “explain” these paintings inevitably brings one back to mood, for this is their essence. It is one which in terms of poetry, might best be likened to an elegy.

Dorothy Barnhouse, “Color Seduction Absent in Art Show,” The Edmonton Journal, April 20, 1968.

1973

Jack Taylor’s sympathetic attitude toward nature is demonstrated by the harmonious unification of forms by means of ambient light. Unlike the Swiss mountain painters of the 19th century, he never dwells on catastrophe or threat of catastrophe so prevalent in their works…there is Romanticism in Taylor’s paintings, it is not in the heroic mood of the 19th century, but rather a mood of optimism based on knowledge with the use of light as the unifying principle. … 1968 …, Taylor moved firmly and clearly out of the dark paintings of the early sixties and brought greater amplitude and monumentality into his works. Ice and rock, with ice now predominating, were the two opposing elements which he began to articulate: ice fields with their opacity and translucency, their softness and their hardness, their stillness and their power is what we see in these later works (Opabin). In these works we see Taylor at his best, handling a subject matter that had seldom been handled before, and finding an unique and appropriate technique for his aesthetic purpose.

J.B. Taylor Landscapes, exhibition catalogue, J. Allison Forbes, text (Edmonton: The Edmonton Art Gallery/The University of Alberta, Department of Art, 1973) n.p.

1973

Only part of a prolific output they are visible evidence of Taylor’s affection and respect for natural forms: for their simplicity, for their durability, for their strength. … This aim seems to have been to evoke a response from the viewer that comes from ready identification with familiar elements.

… This fascination with light is one feature of an overall sense of theatre that pervades his painting. Another resides in the frequent presence of two column-like passages on either side of the canvas, capped by a horizontal lintel.

… The last paintings of his life have a special fascination. His attention had been progressively focusing upon the mountains, firs on the rockface, then by degrees on the mysterious realm of the glaciers.

There is a strange sense of pilgrimage about these latter works. It is as if the mountains drew him always closer to them with a promise that if he persisted, he would, one day, know their innermost secrets.
… Taylor was not interested in achieving great status in the art marketplace. He did what he wanted to do, impervious of pundits and style – brokers and at the end of it all he had captured the aura of the Rocky Mountains in a manner that completely eluded those distinguished visitors – Leighton, Sargent, Brown – who came to paint but failed to understand.

Ron MacGregor, “He Captured Mountains – and Albertans’ Admiration,” The Edmonton Journal, Saturday, Dec. 1, 1973.


These excerpts are presented as open responses, which invite the reader to reconstruct a personal impression of Taylor’s career as an artist. When read in a linear, historical sequence, they demonstrate that until 1960 most articles communicated facts about Taylor, the person. Newspaper publications from 1960 on tend to provide a description of the paintings, at times combined with suggestions of mood or content. The reviews published in Edmonton in 1973 favor clearly a formal interpretation of the paintings, emphasizing technique, composition, color and light. This formalist approach to art parallels the approach promoted locally by the ‘official’ institutions of art: The Edmonton Art Gallery and the Department of Art and Design at the University of Alberta. In 1990, a critical understanding of Taylor’s art would involve more attention to Taylor’s vision of nature than to stylistic analysis which does not explicate the essence of his artistic aim. My approach, therefore, tends to be more pluralistic. It is true that Taylor’s compositions are constructed on the basis of horizontal and vertical axes, the “grid”, as he used to teach his students. In addition, it is also true that the pictorial design of his mountain paintings favors a light-dark dialectic between foreground and background. The source of Taylor’s interest in ethereal light effects in the background of his compositions seems to lie in the seminal instruction of Frank DuMond, the teacher who had the greatest impact on him. According to DuMond,

I don’t like ‘picturesque’ places with lobster pots and nets and cork floats hanging all around. It’s the light in the sky that gives the earth its meaning, not an inventory list of objects. To find the motif for your picture – that’s the thing. The motif. And that is what space, and weather, and light helps you to find. These are the universal things, and when you can paint them so they will have universal appeal, you can call yourself an artist. 17

It was DuMond who said, “All we can do is to put our students in touch with the source we go to ourselves. And that source is nature.” 18
DuMond certainly instilled in this student a love for nature as subject matter in art. He laid the foundation for Taylor’s creative process of revealing the inner laws of nature in his paintings.

The approach to alpine subject matter in both the paintings and sketches emphasizes fragments of nature: a dense rock façade close to the viewer is painted in subtle, translucent tones, antithetical to our perceptual knowledge of stone. Obscured foregrounds frequently contrast with a light expanse in the background. These particular formal choices in painting are characteristic of a romantic approach to art. Even Taylor’s technical experiments with paint medium reflect a romantic subjectivity responding to a spontaneous paint process. Rather than intellectual constructions, the abstract pictorial language of his late work reflects increasingly a romantic experience of nature – in Kantian terms, Taylor’s pictorial production reflects the sublime as an aesthetic and artistic concept.

Acknowledgements

While many people contributed to this exhibition, I owe a special debt to Mrs. Audrey Taylor for her liberal assistance in helping me solve so many documentary problems regarding her late husband’s work. I deeply appreciate her generosity in providing materials from her private collection. I am most grateful also to my former colleague, Professor J. Allison Forbes, who shared information he had gathered and who helped me in a variety of ways. I have greatly valued this kind of cooperation. My colleague, Professor Jorge Frascara was closely involved in initiating and organizing the funding for this exhibition and coordinated the publication of this catalogue. I am most appreciative of his help.

I deeply value the support of lenders who made work available for this exhibition and who often provided background material on particular paintings. In addition, I would like to express my gratitude to Professor Dave Cantine, Dr. Henry Kreisel and Professor Norman Yates who responded enthusiastically to requests for support.

To Blair Brennan, FAB Gallery Technician, I owe a special debt for the expertise and professionalism with which he has overseen the logistics of this exhibition’s organization. A special word of thanks goes to Judy Armstrong who designed this catalogue. I should like to thank also the staff of the Department of Art and Design and all others who contributed to this exhibition. Foremost among them are Louise Asselstine who photographed the work for this publication and David Roles who assisted technically in the design of this catalogue. FAB Gallery acknowledges with gratitude the generous support of the Alberta Art Foundation who provided a grant toward the publication of this catalogue. The University/Community Special Projects Fund provided financial support essential to the realization of the exhibition. We are most appreciative of the Alberta Art Foundation and the University’s active interest and financial assistance to mount this exhibition.

Jetske Sybesma
Guest curator

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FOOTNOTES

up arrow 1 Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Judgement, Book II §.23, trans. J.C. Meredith (Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1973), 90.
For the discussion of the Kantian sublime I have used Paul Crowther, The Kantian Sublime (Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1989).

up arrow 2 J.B. Taylor interviewed by a local journalist for an unidentified Charlottetown newspaper, May 16, 1968.
Source: scrapbook J.B. Taylor, collection of the estate of the artist, n.p.

up arrow 3 J.B. Taylor, About The Painting, The A.T.A. Magazine, Official Organ of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, MayJune, 1970, 4.

up arrow 4 Allan Pringle, William Cornelius Van Horne: Art Director, Canadian Pacific Railway, Journal of Canadian Art History, 8, No. 1, 1984, 51.

up arrow 5 Dennis Reid, Our Own Country Canada, Being an Account of the National Aspirations of the Principle Landscape Artists in Montreal and Toronto, 1860-1890 (Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada / National Museums of Canada, 1979), pp. 6; Professor Oliver Buell, 1844-1910, Photographer, exhibition catalogue, David W. Monaghan, text (Montreal: Concordia Art Gallery, 1984), 6; E.J. Hart, The Selling of Canada, The C.P.R. and the Beginnings of Canadian Tourism (Banff: Altitude Publishing, 1983)

up arrow 6 In the early 1950s J.B. Taylor made sketches of the oilfields near Leduc, resulting in Alberta 50, 1950, oil on masonite, Coll. Government of Alberta.

up arrow 7 Reid, op.cit., 13.

up arrow 8 John Arthur Fraser (1838-1898), Watercolours, exhibition catalogue, Kathryn L. Kollar, text (Montreal: Concordia Art Gallery, 1984). See also Reid, op.cit., 379.

up arrow 9 Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful [1756], ed. J.T. Boulton (Notre Dame, Ind.: Notre Dame Univ. Press, 1968). Burke proposed that anything that can occasion pain or terror or a similar passion is a source of the sublime.

up arrow 10 The Globe, 10 November, 1886. Quoted in Reid, op.cit., 393.

up arrow 11 Reid, op.cit., 383-386.

up arrow 12 John Arthur Fraser (1838-1889), Watercolours, op.cit.; Fact and Fiction: Canadian Painting and Photography, 1860-1900, exhibition catalogue, Ann Thomas, text (Montreal: McCord Museum, 1979).

up arrow 13 Dorothy Barnhouse, artist and writer, was an art critic for The Edmonton Journal during the 1960s. Quoted in Environment 71, “Jack Taylor”, exhibition publication (sponsored by the Government of Alberta, Cultural Development Branch, Arts and Crafts fnision), Calgary, Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, April 17-25, 1971, n.p.

up arrow 14 Kant, op.cit., Book II, § 25, 97. Quoted in Crowther, op.cit., 91. Crowther discusses here Kant’s Analytic of the Sublime, the second book of The Critique of Judgement, S 23 – 54.

up arrow 15 Crowther, op.cit., 90.

up arrow 16 Cream-colored scrapbook, partially paginated in pencil. Collection Mrs. J.B. Taylor. Most articles are newspaper clippings without identification of source, date and page number.

up arrow 17 Frank Vincent DuMond, exhibition catalogue (New York: the League Gallery, the Arts Students League of New York, 1949), 3. DuMond started his own studies at the League in 1884. He was a student of J. Carrol Beckwith and William Sartain.
He became an instructor at the League in 1892. In a leave of absence he studied in Paris with Boulanger, Lefebvre and Constant. (Ibid .3). DuMond’s own work frequently has a foreground-background dark-light contrast.

up arrow 18 Ibid., 4.

(Reproduced with permission)

(The above text by Jetske Sybesma Ph D, author and guest curator, is taken from the catalogue of the 1990 exhibition The Sublime Revisited – Mountain Paintings by J.B. Taylor, published by FAB Gallery, Department of Art and Design, University of Alberta, with funding from The Alberta Art Foundation and the University/Community Special Projects Fund of the Univertsity of Alberta. Photography by Louise Asselstine. Design by Judy Armstrong.)

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