Ontario Society of Artists gallery


I have the honour of reporting on the affairs of the Ontario Society of Artists for the year 1964.


JACK REPPEN, 1933-1964
It is my sad duty to record the death in June of one of the Society's most brilliant young members.

Jack Reppen was born and educated in Toronto. While a student in a technical course at Northern Vocational School he began drawing sports cartoons for the Toronto Daily Star. Encouraged by their success he entered the special art course at Northern, supplementing it characteristically, with evening classes at the Ontario College of Art and the "Famous Artists′course by correspondence.

Jack always worked hard enough for three men, as if he had a premonition that he must crowd a lifetime of experience into a few short years.

While he was an advertising artist at Prudential Life he was also cartoonist for the Star, caricaturing the entertainment world as well as sport. After he had finished each day′s double stint he was still able to throw himself with enthusiasm into painting, putting in often a twenty-hour day of creative work.

He was married in 1956. In 1959, the year his second child was born, he had his first one man show at Gallery Moos. Two years later he painted in Mexico for the first time and found there the inspiration that touched off an extraordinary three years of creative achievement.

In 1962 he won the Baxter Award in the O.S.A. Ninetieth Annual Exhibition and was elected to membership in the Society. That same year he exhibited in Buffalo, in Rochester, had a one man show in Montreal, won prizes in Montreal and Winnipeg, and was bought by his first public gallery, the London Library.

1963 saw one man shows in Montreal, Kitchener, Ottawa and Toronto, the completion of his fourth mural in four years and the purchase acquisition of his paintings by two more galleries.

His death from cancer a few months later brought to an abrupt end the career of an unusually gifted and dedicated artist.

In 1964 we lost a very old friend in the death of Pearl McCarthy, art critic of the Toronto Globe and Mail. For thirty-five years she was a reporter in Toronto, for most of that time reviewing the exhibitions of the Society, always with interest, honesty and charity. We shall miss her understanding of the role of the Society.

Early in the year, 12 members of the Society made up an exhibition of 32 paintings which were hung at the O'Keefe Centre through January and February. We acknowledge with gratitude the good offices of A. J. Casson and York Wilson in arranging this exhibition.

The Ninety-second Annual Exhibition was again limited to Ontario artists. 322 paintings were submitted and 34 sculptures. The jury of O.S.A. members chose 78 paintings, 37 of them by members and 19 sculptures of which only 7 were by members.

A controversy with the Art Gallery of Toronto was occasioned by the removal of one of the paintings from the wall, and the insistence of the Director of the Gallery on its deletion from the catalogue. The unauthorized release of the painting to a private gallery aggravated the situation. At a special meeting of officers of the Society and of the Gallery after the exhibition, it was agreed that censorship in the future, if considered necessary, should be handled differently. One result of the furor was an unusual amount of newspaper attention, some of it purely sensational.

There was excellent air publicity, beginning the Tuesday before the show with Albert Franck and Alan Collier discussing " Awards" on the Don Sims Show. The day of the opening Mr. Baxter was interviewed by Betty Kennedy. The following week there were three television programs publicizing the exhibition, ''Open House" featuring El Cox; Elwood Clover interviewing Mac Houstoun and Doris McCarthy discussing the media used in the show on "Take Thirty."

His Honour, the Mayor of Toronto, opened the exhibition on Friday evening, February 26th, after a dinner at the Arts and Letters Club at which the Society entertained Mayor Givens and Mrs. Givens, Mr. and Mrs. William Baxter, Mr. J. C. Hungerford, President of the Gallery and Mrs. Hungerford, Mr. William Withrow, Director and Mrs. Withrow. The opening was attended by 1,741 members and friends of the Gallery and of the Society. The President of the Society, D. Mackay Houstoun, announced the awards. The Baxter Purchase Award of $1,000.00 was won by Gerald Scott for his painting "Self Portrait, Early Morning," on the decision of a special Baxter Award jury of art dealers, Blair Laing, Jack Wildridge and Dorothy Cameron. Mr. Houstoun expressed to Mr. Baxter the thanks of the Society for his support. The O.S.A. jury awarded the J. W. L. Forster Award to Lorraine Surcouf for her batik picture ''Riding to Shop."

A total of 16,231 people visited the Gallery during the period of the exhibition, of whom over 6,000 were students. Members of the O.S.A. gave lecture tours of the exhibition on Gallery open nights. Ten works were sold for a total of $4,065.00.

The catalogue used Tom Hodgson's distinguished cover design again, this time in purple, blue and black. It was illustrated with photographs of 18 works. The Society is greatly indebted to Mac Houstoun for handling its production. 853 copies were sold and reference copies sent to libraries and schools as usual.

Alan Collier made the usual colour slides of the exhibition for permanent record and for the use of lecturers.

On May 1, 1964, an exhibition of 41 works, selected from the Annual Exhibition, opened in Kitchener-Waterloo. One painting was sold for $250.00.

The Annual Meeting of the Society was held at the Art Gallery of Toronto on Wednesday, March 18, with the President, D. Mackay Houstoun, in the chair. After the President's Report the following officers were elected:

President - Doris McCarthy
Vice-President - John Bennett
Honorary Secretary - Herbert S. Palmer
Secretary-Treasurer - Roy Austin

Executive Council

I Year
Elford Cox
Cleeve Horne
Peter Haworth
Donald Neddeau

2 Years
D. Mackay Houstoun
Ray Cattell
Albert Franck
Bobs Haworth

Art Gallery of Toronto.................................... John Bennett
Canadian National Exhibition.................... Doris McCarthy, D. Mackay Houstoun

Nominations Committee
Ursula Hanes, John Gould, Donald Neddeau

We congratulate and welcome to the Society the following new member elected at this meeting: Viktoras Brickus, William Cyopic, Patricia Fulford, Jean Hanson and Ray Spiers.

The thanks of the Society were expressed to the retiring President for the three years of faithful service Just ended, in which he had never failed to put the affairs of the Society above personal considerations steering the Society through some very rough water with skill, patience, courtesy and a clear sense of ultimate objectives.

In June as your representative I chaired a meeting of Presidents of the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour, The Sculpture Society of Canada, The Canadian Society of Graphic Art, and The Canadian Society of Painter Etchers, to discuss mutual problems. These centred on the limitations of exhibition facilities in Toronto.

To permit a common voice and Joint action when appropriate, the group decided to be a liaison committee of the Art Societies under the chairmanship of John Bennett, Vice-President of the Ontario Society of Artists, on call at the request of any member society.

During the summer we received a letter from the Province of Ontario council for the Arts granting us $2,000.00 for the Society's current years operation, drawing to our attention the "great need for the encouragement of young, unknown Ontario artists" and urging that as many works of these artists as possible be included in our future shows.

This underlines the great need of more gallery space for the annual exhibitions.

Acting on the advice of our Patron, The Honourable J. Keiller Mackay, we made arrangements for the documents of the Society to be catalogued and preserved in the Provincial Archives.

The Small Picture and Sculpture Exhibition was held this year from November 19 to 30 at the Pollock Gallery, 599 Markham Street; 139 works by 43 members were shown, of which 32 works were sold for a total of $2,400.00. An indirect result of the preview party to open this show was the compilation by Jocelyn Taylor and her committee of a master list of friends of the Society who will be invited to future functions.

We extend congratulations to the Art Institute of Ontario on its revival and vigorous program. The A.I.O. returned the 1962 exhibition of members' paintings on schedule, and gave honourable discharge to the two worn-out exhibitions " Painter's Art in Layman's Language." In answer to their request, we agreed to create new didactic exhibitions to replace them. Alan Collier accepted the task of organizing these, to be ready to hang as a special section in the 93rd Annual Exhibition.

The Society has been of service to individual artists and groups who have written for information and advice, or have requested the services of teachers and lecturers. We thank those members who have accepted the responsibility of giving lectures and demonstrations and courses to these groups. This is a very practical way in which the Society fosters art in Ontario.

Congratulations are extended to the following members for their honours or achievements during 1964:

To Donald Neddeau, elected President of the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour.
To John Gould, Gray Mills and Gustav Weisman on their election as Associates of the Royal Canadian Academy.
To Alexander Luke whose canvas " Sound Vibrations′was purchased by the London Public Library and Art Museum.
To Alex. Millar for his assignment to paint the burned-over area of Newfoundland.
To the following members for one man or group shows in Toronto: John Bennett, Viktoras Brickus, Julius Griffith, A. Y. Jackson, Tom Roberts, Krystyna Sadowski, Grant Whatmough and York Wilson.
- In Sarnia and in Kitchener-Waterloo; Herbert Ariss and James Kemp.
- In Winnipeg; Tom Roberts.
- In Burlington; Jocelyn Taylor.
To Peter Goetz for two one-man shows.

A memorial show of Jack Reppen's work was held at the Art Gallery of Toronto.

The work of the Ontario Society of Artists could not be done without the active co-operation of many organizations and individuals outside of the membership.

We acknowledge with gratitude the contributions made by the following: The Province of Ontario Council for the Arts, for its grant; the Art Gallery of Toronto, host to the Annual Exhibition and the annual meeting; the Arts and Letters Club, host to the monthly meetings and the Opening Night dinner; the Art Institute of Ontario, the Kitchener - Waterloo Gallery, the O'Keefe Centre and the Pollock Gallery.

We offer special thanks to Roy Austin, our Secretary, for his steady competence in maintaining the momentum of the Society through the changes of officers and for his generous and faithful service to the Society at all times, and finally through him, to Mrs. Young who has been on the job with her typewriter and on the telephone in all my hours of need.

I want to thank you the members for the great honour you have done me in giving me this opportunity to serve the Society. You have been tremendously encouraging in your turning out to meetings, accepting Jobs when you were asked to and being obviously a going concern. I ask nothing better than to deserve your continuing confidence and support.

Doris McCarthy,

* Courtesy of Archives of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario
   fonds Ontario Society of Artists