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Art Pick of the Week: Portrait of Florence McGillivray

July 29th, 2019

Marion Long, Portrait of Florence McGillivray, 1934. Oil on canvas, 90.2 × 105.4 cm. Gift of Andrew and Margaret-Elizabeth Schell, 2018. © Art Gallery of Ontario  2018/3735

You may think you know your Canadian painters, but do you know Marion Long (1882–1970)? This week’s Art Pick spotlights the work of this Canadian painter with her beautiful portrait of yet another talented Canadian artist, Florence McGillivray. On view now on Level 2 in the J.S. McLean Centre for Indigenous & Canadian Art, Portrait of Florence McGillivray offers a look at the Toronto art community in a different era.

This rare portrait reveals the friendship and mutual respect between Long and McGillivray. Long was a highly commissioned artist who painted many a sitter, including those in the military. Whitby-born artist McGillivray was a landscape painter noted for her unique brushwork. Long was a student of McGillivray’s, and the two remained lifelong friends, playing a vital role in Toronto’s tight-knit community of women artists.

Florence Helena McGillivray. Village on the Arno, 1914. Oil on board, 20 x 25.9 cm. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Conn, 1969. © Art Gallery of Ontario 69/243.1

McGillivray (1864–1938) garnered admiration for her modern landscape paintings, as well as for her mentorship of young artists, including Tom Thomson. She has been credited in some instances as an influence for what would later be known as the Group of Seven. This painting is the last known image of McGillivray and, poignantly, portrays the artist in her studio.

Stay tuned for next week’s Art Pick.

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