Paul Kane [1810–1871]
b. 1810 — Mallow, County Cork, Ireland
d. 1871 — Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Kane was an Irish-born Canadian painter, famous for his paintings of First Nations peoples in the Canadian West and other Native Americans in the Columbia Departmentof the fur trade.
A largely self-educated artist, Paul Kane grew up in York, Upper Canada (now Toronto), and trained himself by copying European masters on a “Grand Tour” study trip through Europe. He undertook two voyages through the Canadian northwest in 1845 and from 1846 to 1848. The first trip took him from Toronto to Sault Ste. Marie and back. Having secured the support of the Hudson’s Bay Company, he set out on a second, much longer voyage from Toronto across the Rocky Mountains. On October 6, 1846, Kane left Edmonton for Fort Assiniboine, where he again embarked with a canoe brigade up the Athabasca River to Jasper House, arriving on November 3. Here he joined a large horse troop bound west, but the party soon had to send the horses back to Jasper’s House and continue on snowshoes, taking only the essentials with them, because Athabasca Pass was already too deeply snowed in that late in the year. They crossed the pass on November 12 and three days later joined a canoe brigade that had been waiting to take them down the Columbia River to Fort Vancouver (present-day Vancouver, Washington) and Fort Victoria (present day Victoria, British Columbia).
On both trips Kane sketched and painted First Nations and Métis peoples. Upon his return to Toronto, he produced more than one hundred oil paintings from these sketches. The oil paintings he completed in his studio are considered a part of the Canadian heritage, although he often embellished them considerably, departing from the accuracy of his field sketches in favour of more dramatic scenes.
- Wikipedia. Paul Kane
- 1846 Kane through Athabasca Pass
- — Wanderings of an artist among the Indians of North America. From Canada to Vancouver’s Island and Oregon through the Hudson’s Bay Company’s territory and back again. London: Longman, Brown, 1859