Homer Watson: 'Canadian Constable'

Homer Watson, The Last Day of the Drought, oil on canvas, 92 x 138.5 cm, 1881 (c
Homer Watson, The Last Day of the Drought, oil on canvas, 92 x 138.5 cm, 1881 (courtesy Royal Collection Trust © HM Queen Elizabeth II)

Gary Michael Dault considers the paintings of Homer Watson (1855–1936), dubbed the "Canadian Constable" by Oscar Wilde. Paintings by Watson are on view at the Homer Watson House & Gallery, Ontario, Canada through September 30, 2012.

The exhibition focuses on two early paintings that Dault notes are in a style that owes its "affiliation to certain 17th-century Dutch landscapes." Dault continues "[Watson] didn't travel far, aesthetically speaking, but he did make progress. His Landscape with Horse and Rider from 1889 looks like a Salvator Rosa, but his Evening Scene from 1894, with its brawling, tumultuous river and rapids, shows glimmers of the moonlight oddness of an Albert P. Ryder. His Pioneers at Lunch (c. 1900) feels like a forceless Théodore Rousseau. But by 1925, in a work like Untitled (Large Tree by Stream), he is venturing into pink-purple skies and building them with fatter brushstrokes." Some of Watson's later works, including Seascape, 1925, can be seen here.