Skaters, Anglesea Square

Henri Masson

BIRTH PLACE Namur, Belgium
DEATH PLACE Ottawa, Ontario

Do you have a favourite outdoor winter activity? This work by Henri Masson conjures the joys of skating. A prolific painter who remained in Ottawa for the duration of his career, Masson’s subject matter varied from figurative works and landscapes, to cityscapes such as this, which reflect the vibrancy of urban life in Ottawa in the 1930s and 1940s. First established outside a church in Lowertown, Anglesea Square (Ottawa’s oldest square) was sold to create new government buildings, and after they burned down, the square was ultimately turned into a skating rink.

MEDIUM Oil on masonite
DATE 1940
DIMENSIONS 40.6cm x 30.5cm x 0.3cm
CREDIT LINE Firestone Collection of Canadian Art, the Ottawa Art Gallery Donated to the City of Ottawa by the Ontario Heritage Foundation
Loose brushstrokes depict figures skating around on a rink, with bare trees on a snowy hill in the background and various houses against a dark blue sky beyond. The ice surface is painted in warm pinks and mauves, and the people are in green, blue, purple, orange and red; illuminated from an unseen source out of the upper left portion of the painting.

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