Picasso is not the only artistic genius in residence at the Art Gallery of Ontario this summer. David Milne, widely regarded as one of Canada's greatest painters, now has a permanent room of his own in the southwest corner of the Art Gallery of Ontario, overlooking Grange Park. I really enjoyed visiting this beautiful Douglas fir-clad space, the David Milne Centre, designed by Thomas Payne of Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects. The David Milne Centre spans two floors, and on display are oil paintings, watercolours, and archival items including letters, photographs, diaries, sketches, Milne's paint box and his painter's coat. You can go and visit it yourself, for free, with a Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass. Here, in David Milne's own eloquent words, is an explanation as to how he chose his subjects, developed his artistic technique, and even how he drew inspiration from books in the Toronto Public Library:
David Milne would no doubt be amazed at the value of his paintings today, and at his increasing fame. Born in 1882 in Bruce County, Ontario, he moved to New York City in 1903 to study and work, and exhibited five works there at the groundbreaking 1913 Armory Show. During World War I, David Milne painted in England, Belgium and France with the Canadian War Memorials program. He returned to upstate New York after the war, where he developed his unique artistic style. In 1929, he came back to Canada, and for most of the rest of his life he divided his time between Uxbridge and a cabin on the shores of Baptiste Lake, near Bancroft. Throughout his life, David Milne was passionate about nature and preferred to work in isolation.
Coming soon from the Art Gallery of Ontario will be the David Milne Collection, the first digital archive of its kind in Canada. You will be able to gain access to over 2,700 works and archival items belonging to the Milne collection.