The Art Gallery of Sudbury recently opened an exhibition exploring the lithographs of Canadian painter, printmaker and educator Frederick Hagan, who designed “Exploration of Canada,” a series of 16 stamps for Canada Post between 1986 and 1989.
The exhibition, entitled “Ontario North: The Frederick Hagan Lithographs 1942-1953,” open earlier this month and will run until Dec. 24. It focuses on 37 lithograph prints produced by Hagan in Northern Ontario during and immediately following the Second World War.
In lithography, the artist chemically treats the printing surface of a limestone block so water and oil repel each other and the greasy image captures ink for printing on paper. The printing press exerts a sliding pressure, but because the stone undergoes virtually no wear in printing, a single stone can last for decades.
Hagan’s printing press and lithograph stones, gifted by his family, are still in production and are located at Nipissing University in North Bay.
The exhibit is drawn from a collection of 287 paintings, drawings and prints by Hagan that were first acquired under the direction of former Laurentian University Museum and Arts Centre director/curator Pamela Krueger for the permanent collection in 1989.
“The exhibition is offered in recognition to the contributions of Pamela Krueger, curator, and Frederick Hagan, artist, and to the development of the permanent collections of the Laurentian University Museum and Arts Centre and the Art Gallery of Sudbury,” said Demetra Christakos, director and curator of the Art Gallery of Sudbury.
“The North became Frederick Hagan’s anchor in life, and often the work accomplished there became the source material for his paintings and prints. The North attracted him. It was less predictable and it emanated a strength that he admired and embraced,” said Krueger, in the 1991 biography of Frederick Hagan.
EXPLORATION OF CANADA
The “Exploration of Canada” set included 16 of Hagan’s paintings, including
- A Continent and its Peoples;
- Vikings sail Westward;
- John Cabot makes his Landfall;
- Hudson Bay discovered;
- Radisson and Des Groseilliers;
- Brule nears Lake Superior;
- Missions in the Wilderness;
- Father Marquette with Jolliet;
- Henday on the Grasslands;
- Vancouver explores the Coast;
- Fraser, Returning from the Pacific;
- Palliser surveys the West;
- Matonabbee travelling North;
- Finding Franklin’s Relics;
- Tyrrell has another Find; and
- Stefansson on Polar Ice.
BORN IN TORONTO
Hagan (1918-2003) was born in Toronto. He attended Central Technical School, following which he found employment in wood fabrication while attending night courses at the Ontario College of Art under John Alfsen, Frank Carmichael and Fred Haines, among others.
From 1941-46, Hagan was employed as resident artist and master at Pickering College in Newmarket, Ont. During these years, he spent his summers in employment at Camp Pine Crest in nearby Muskoka. In the spring of 1946, Hagan journeyed to New York where he participated in the Art Students’ League under Martin Lewis and worked in George Miller’s Lithography Shop. Later the same year, Hagan began teaching drawing, painting, composition and printmaking at the Ontario College of Art. In 1955, he became head of printmaking, a position which he held until his retirement in 1983.
He held memberships in the Canadian Society of Graphic Art (of which he was made an honourary member in 1965), the Canadian Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers, the Ontario Society of Artists, and the Print and Drawing Council of Canada. His work is in the collections of the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Glenbow Museum, and numerous other Canadian galleries, including the Art Gallery of Sudbury.
The Art Gallery of Sudbury is located at 251 John St. The Gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.