January 25, 2008
This photo and short article is part of a back-page series in On Campus News that celebrates the University of Saskatchewan art collection. Begun in 1911, the collection comprises more than 4400 objects, including many important examples from various artists and eras. OCN asked Kent Archer, director of the collection, to select and discuss the works in this series.
Artist: F.N. Loveroff
Title: The Backyard
Medium: oil on board
Dimensions: 26.5 x 29 cm
On long winter nights on his homestead near Borden, young Doukhobor farmer Frederick Nicholas Loveroff began dabbling with watercolours, probably to relieve the boredom and loneliness. His formal training began in 1913 at the Central Ontario School of Art, and by 1920, Loveroff’s level of recognition earned him election as an associate of the Royal Canada Academy.
Loveroff spent time early in his career traveling with aboriginal people on trails and by canoe in the territory between Winnipeg and Norway House, the result being many small sketches of forests and lakes. Others, like The Backyard, reveal his interest in farm buildings, people in streets and city houses in winter.
During the Depression, when it was hard to sell anything not related to survival, including paintings, Loveroff chose to store his work in an attic, and in 1934, departed Saskatchewan for California to resume farming. He never painted again. For Archer, part of the attraction of this Loveroff piece is the juxtaposition of the power of the paint and the size of the painting.
“What interests me about this unassuming little painting depicting an ordinary moment is how it’s made extraordinary through the artist’s exquisite colour sense and painterly notations. The loose ease and confidence that Loveroff appears to display in recording this mundane but distinct interval endow the work with a sincere immediacy and strength that belie its modest scale.”
University Art Collection image