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Paul Kane (1810-1871)

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Indian Encampment on Lake Huron (Paul Kane) Enlarge

Indian Encampment on Lake Huron
(Paul Kane, Public domain)

Paul Kane (1810-1871)

Born in Ireland, Paul Kane immigrated to Toronto (formerly called "York") with his family in the 1820's. During a stay in Europe where he deepened his knowledge of painting, he met the American George Caitlin, an artist famous for his portraits of Amerindian customs in the United States.

Caitlin claimed that it was vital to preserve a trace of Amerindian culture, threatened by assimilation. Truly inspired, Kane decided to undertake a similar project in Canada. He crisscrossed the country and territories of the Hudson Bay Company for nearly four years.

He created more than 700 sketches which served as basic models for the canvases he painted upon his return to Toronto. Unlike his sketches, his paintings are very European in style, sometimes to the detriment of geographical or ethnological credibility. He's one of the most important artist-explorers in Canadian history.

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