Canadian Art Club fonds
- 1885-1949, predominant 1907-1915 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
38 cm of textual records 13 photographs
Name of creator
The Canadian Art Club was a Toronto-based exhibiting society active from 1907 to 1915. The club brought together the work of most of the leading Canadian painters and sculptors of the day, largely from Toronto and Montreal but also from abroad, for its annual exhibitions. It was formed by seceding members of the Ontario Society of Artists who rejected what they perceived as that group’s parochialism and low artistic standards. Among the founding artist members were W.E. Atkinson, Archibald Browne, Franklin Brownell, Edmund Morris, Homer Watson (first president of the club) and Curtis Williamson. The artists were soon supported by a considerable number of members who were not artists (referred to as ‘lay members’ in documents). Part of the club’s purpose was to encourage expatriate Canadian artists, such as J. W. Morrice and Clarence Gagnon, to associate with the club and to exhibit in Canada. It succeeded in affording sympathetic reception in Toronto for prominent Quebec artists of the time, like Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté. After the death in 1913 of Edmund Morris, honorary secretary and chief organizer, the club declined amid disputes between members until it ceased to function in 1915. The Canadian Art Club was formally dissolved about 1933.
The records of the Canadian Art Club were retained by Charles E. Stone, lay member and treasurer of the club, after its dissolution. They passed to his son, Edgar J. Stone, who donated most of them (including Canadian Art Club annual exhibition catalogues, artists’ correspondence with Edmund Morris and others and the collection of bills and receipts) to the Art Gallery of Toronto in 1953. His daughter, Elizabeth Elliott, donated the minute book, cashbook, chequebook, dissolution correspondence and Letters Patent, to the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1984.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Donated by Edgar J. Stone in 1953 and Elizabeth (Stone) Elliott in 1984.
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Fonds consists of the records of the Canadian Art Club, including minutes of the organization’s meetings, constitution and by-laws, membership lists, photographs of artworks, documents of incorporation (1909) and ultimate dissolution (1930s) and club financial records in the form of ledgers and a collection of bills and receipts. Materials related to club exhibitions and dinners are supplemented by an extensive collection of clippings from reviews in newspapers of the day. Correspondence forms a significant portion of the papers, especially that to and from Edmund Morris, secretary of the club for several years. Papers related to the founding of the Art Museum of Toronto and the Central School of Industrial Art and Design are also included. Fonds is comprised of the following series: 1. Minutebook 2. Transcribed minutes and other documents 3. Records of annual banquets and exhibitions 4. Club lists 5. Photographs 6. Replies to dinner invitations 7. Scrapbooks/press clippings 8. Bills and receipts 9. Cash book 10. Records of club dissolution 11. Notes on a Toronto art school 12. Miscellaneous papers 13. Correspondence (Edgar J. Stone collection)
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
No further accruals are expected.
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Conditions governing access
Conditions governing reproduction
Material in this fonds is in the public domain. Permission of the Art Gallery of Ontario is required for publication.
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Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
Previously known as the “Canadian Art Club papers” or “Canadian Art Club scrapbooks.” Series 13: Correspondence was until 2004 a discrete collection known as the Edgar J. Stone collection. Its contents were incorporated into the Canadian Art Club fonds in June 2004, having the same provenance as other materials donated by Edgar J. Stone in 1953.
In 2004, Box 1 of the ca. 1996 AGO finding aid was divided into Boxes 1 and 3 of the current description. Box 2 remains unchanged. To these was added Box 4 containing Series 13: Correspondence (Edgar J. Stone collection).
Copies of the catalogues of the eight annual exhibitions (1908-1915) of the Canadian Art Club originally in this fonds were withdrawn between 1953 and 1973 and catalogued as rare books in the collection of the E.P. Taylor Research Library & Archives of the Art Gallery of Ontario. The officers and members of the club are listed in each catalogue.
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Dates of creation revision deletion
Finding aid prepared by Christopher Carson, 1985. Modified, with description prepared by Amy Marshall assisted by Gary Fitzgibbon, 2004
Uploaded and adapted by Nirvana Chainani, 2019.
Uploaded and adapted by Nirvana Chainani, 2019.