Kathleen Munn: Pioneer of Modern Art
Kathleen Jean Munn (1887– October 19, 1974) is recognized today as a pioneer of modern art in Canada, though she remained on the periphery of the Canadian art scene during her lifetime. She imagined conventional subjects in a radically new visual vocabulary as she combined the traditions of European art with modern art studies in New York. She died at age eighty-seven, unaware that her long-held hope for “a possible future for my work” was about to become reality.Wikipedia
Familiar Landscape: Horses, Bulls and Cows
This painting’s subject matter is familiar territory for Munn: horses, bulls, and cows in the landscape; however, its title reveals an important aspect of her matured attitude toward painting. The word “composition”—referring to how the formal elements of the painting work together—attests to her affinity with the ideas of art and spirituality of Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944), discussed in his key text Concerning the Spiritual in Art. Bertram Brooker (1888–1955), also influenced by this writing, called the painting Munn’s most “musical”1—at the time, Brooker was exploring the links between music and painting. He owned Composition (Horses) and reproduced it in his Yearbook of the Arts in Canada, 1928–1929. It was included in the 1928 Group of Seven exhibition, along with Composition (Reclining Nude), c. 1926–28, also owned by Brooker.
Click For Enlarged Detail:
Best viewed At Sunnyside
- Kathleen Munn
- Composition (Horses), c. 1927
- Oil on canvas, 51 x 60.7 cm
- Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton
- Image Source: https://www.aci-iac.ca/art-books/kathleen-munn/key-works/composition-horses
Uhlyarik, Georgiana (2014). Kathleen Munn: Life & Work. Toronto: Art Canada Institute.
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