(Champion Hill, England, 1810 – Amherst Island, Ontario, 1894)
Evergreen and Rocks
Watercolour on paper mounted on card
23.5 x 33 cm
Gift of Ernest C. Gill, 1966
Agnes Etherington Art Centre, 09-034
Photo: Bernard Clark
With its dynamic composition and expressive brushstrokes that lend movement to the plant motifs, Evergreen and Rocks reflects the vibrancy of nature. At the centre, an imposing evergreen, its top cropped by the tight framing, dominates the composition and blocks the horizon, creating the work’s originality. Setting himself apart from the vast romantic panoramas painted by his contemporaries Allan Edson and Lucius O'Brien, Daniel Fowler adopted a more modern treatment of landscape, sensitive yet not idealized, that speaks of close contact with nature.
The watercolour painter Daniel Fowler began his career in Britain before immigrating to the future province of Ontario, in 1843. For fifteen years he gave up art to devote himself to farming on Amherst Island. When he took up watercolours again, in 1858, he developed a distinctive style, freer than in his early works. He painted from nature and used colour to create structure. Recognized in his lifetime as Canada’s finest watercolourist, Fowler was the first Canadian painter to win an international award, a bronze medal honouring Hollyhocks (1869) at the Philadelphia Centennial International Exhibition of 1876.