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date: 17 October 2019

Comfort, Charles (Fraser)locked

(b Cramond, nr Edinburgh, July 22, 1900; d Ottawa, July 5, 1994).
  • Kirk Marlow

Extract

(Fraser)

(b Cramond, nr Edinburgh, July 22, 1900; d Ottawa, July 5, 1994).

Canadian painter, draughtsman, teacher, museum director and writer of Scottish birth. In 1912 he emigrated to Winnipeg, where he was apprenticed in the commercial art studio of Fred Brigden (1871–1956). He also attended the Winnipeg School of Art (1916–18) and continued to work at Brigden’s until 1922. In that year he studied at the Art Students’ League, New York, and in 1925 he moved to Toronto, working until 1929 for the Toronto branch of Brigden’s and then for the commercial design firm Rapid, Grip & Batten. In 1931, with Will Ogilvie (1901–89) and Harold Ayres (1894–?1977), he formed his own commercial studio. The muted colours, schematic compositions and smooth surfaces of his paintings from the late 1920s show evidence of his design background. In his best-known painting, Tadoussac (1935; Ottawa, N.G.), a bird’s-eye view of a town in Quebec, there is a simplification of detail and a calculated arrangement of sparse, crisply edged forms. During the 1920s and 1930s Comfort was recognized as one of Canada’s finest portrait painters working in watercolour and oil. In the portrait of the violinist ...

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