Painting Place: The Life and Work of David B. Milne

Painting Place: The Life and Work of David B. Milne

Weight 0.00 lbs
By David P. Silcox
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 1996
World Rights
140 Pages
ISBN 9780802040954
Published Oct 1996
Online discount: 35%
 $86.00    $55.90

This long-awaited study, lavishly illustrated, tells the remarkable story of the work of one of Canada's great artists. David Milne (1882-1953) left rural Ontario for New York City in 1903. After training at the Art Students' League, he emerged as an exceptional modernist, one of the 'American extremists,' whose work was well-represented at the famous 1913 Armory Show and won a major prize at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. Milne's studio at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue was a regular forum for artists to debate art and aesthetics.

In 1916 Milne moved to Boston Corners, in upstate New York, devoting his whole time to painting. As he wandered over the years to the deserted battlefields of France and Belgium, to the Adirondacks, then back to Canada - Temagami, Palgrave, Muskoka, Toronto, Uxbridge, and Baptiste Lake - his work continued to evolve and change. Critics and other artists hailed him as one of the most original, intelligent, and innovative of artists in Canada. His work is in the British Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and public galleries in Canada.

Silcox's biography, based on many years of research for the Milne Catalogue Raisonné, is, in the words of one of our readers, 'a near-perfect dialectic between biography and aesthetic analysis.' It will stand both as a definitive study of Milne and as a model for future biographies of Canadian artists.

This gorgeous book, in a large format with 190 images in colour and 240 black and white illustrations throughout (many published for the first time), will astonish and delight all those interested in art history, and in the life of a unique individual.

David P. Silcox, Visiting and Associate Fellow at Massey College, is an art historian and arts administrator. He has published numerous reviews and articles on contemporary Canadian art as well as a number of exhibition catalogues. He is author of Painting Place: The Life and Work of David B. Milne (1996), two books on Christopher Pratt (1982, 1995), contributed to a volume on Jack Bush, and, with the late Harold Town, coauthored Tom Thomson: The Silence and the Storm (1977, 3rd edition 1989).

'This handsome biography has abundant reproductions, beautifully laid out. It requires intense looking as well as reading. Ample margins let the watercolors and oils declare their own life. Silcox has performed the feat of delighting the eye and engaging the intellect. "A poem should be like a painting," says Horace. So should a biography. And so this is.'

Allan Hepburn, The Financial Post

'It is learned and it wears its learning lightly. It is fascinating because it opens up the world view of a challenging artist who was well-read in literature and well-versed in art, yet who created an unmistakably unique body of excellent work. ... Painting Place is a magnificent contribution.'

Tom Gerry, Queen's Quarterly

'I started reading this biography and could not put it down. Silcox quotes liberally from the artist's, and Patsy Milne's (his wife), writings. What emerges from the page is not just the story of a man and his work but also the story of the dreams and the ambitions of all those who loved and respected him. The jealousy, pettiness, and mistreatment by collectors and other artists is brought to light.'

Richard Moll, The Kingston Whig-Standard

'Without question the most significant art book of 1996 is David Silcox's Painting Place. ... [It] pays homage to the artist many consider the greatest this country has spawned.'

Christopher Hume, Toronto Star

'This book, like Milne's art, will stand the test of time.'

Robert Amos, Victoria Times-Colonist

'Lucid, thought-provoking and a rewarding read.'

Ian M. Thom, The Vancouver Sun

'Refreshingly reveals a fundamental artistic truth: an artists' quarter ultimately is the artist's quarter. It can be in Palgrave, Ont., where Milne lived for a time, as surely as it can be in the more glamorous locales of Paris or New York.'

Nancy Baele, Ottawa Citizen

'The measure of this volume's value to both the general public and the critical evaluation of Milne's work is found in the exhaustive chronological narratives of the artist's biography and the evolution of his style and technique.'

Steven Nunoda, Books in Canada

'Painting Place fills in a huge gap in Canadian art history.'

Catherine Osborne, Quill and Quire

'The thick hardcover homage alternates between informed art criticism and a biographical narrative that braids together testimonial, personal letters and convincing speculation about this rabidly focused recluse. All this is punctuated by exceptional colour reproductions.'

Nathalie-Roze Fischer, Now

'Good descriptions of stylistic development and telling references to past and future works are supported with more than 400 illustrations.'

Rosemarie Tovell, Toronto Star

'The book is a splendid thing - handsomely designed, generously scaled, attractively printed and replete with 175 finely wrought colour illustrations and 225 black-and-white ones, which are positioned, miraculously, right where you want them when you are working your way through the text.'

Gary Michael Dault, Globe and Mail

'But Milne's art, intimate, yet grand, is there - more than ever now with the help of Silcox - for those with eyes to see. Truly great pictures, like Flooded Shaft of 1929, with its fluctuating shapes, stand as a testament to Milne's prominent place - somewhere between Matisse, Bonnard, and Klee - in the art firmament. Silcox's big book makes a strong case for Milne. Yet for more than a few art lovers, the truth has been out for a while; Milne was - and is - Canada's greatest artist.'

Henry Lehmann, Montreal Gazette