Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Peter Rindisbacher Boy Artist, Earns a Place in Canadian Art History

I know. I'm attracted to historical paintings. This one is called "Two of the Company's Officers Travelling in a Canoe Made of Painting...."

The Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online provides this information about Rindisbacher:

      Peter Rindisbacher’s family were German-speaking Lutherans. His father was a middle-class farmer who began to work as a veterinarian in 1806. Peter sketched continuously from a very early age, and was encouraged and supervised by his parents. In 1818 he briefly received instruction in landscape painting from Jakob Samuel Weibel, a Bernese school miniaturist who left a strong imprint on his protégé’s style. Peter’s other interest was the army; he had been a volunteer drummer boy in a Bern company of grenadiers at the age of ten.
      Peter’s father was a restless man. Thus when Captain Rudolph von May, an officer in De Meuron’s Regiment, visited Bern to recruit settlers on behalf of Lord Selkirk [Douglas*] for the Red River settlement (Man.) and described the colony’s agricultural prospects in fabulous terms, he was seduced. On 30 May 1821 he and his family left Dordrecht, Netherlands, with a contingent of more than 160 emigrants, mostly Swiss, aboard the Lord Wellington, bound for York Factory (Man.) on Hudson Bay

Young Peter lived on the prairies with his family and he attracted early notice for his artistic abilities.

The young painter’s subjects included the Métis, company officials, and settlement life, but Rindisbacher was especially inspired by (and commissioned to paint) the exotic, colourful, and dramatic life of the Indians. Bulger allegedly arranged a winter expedition to give him the opportunity to sketch a buffalo hunt. Only a few paintings, however, document the increasingly desperate plight of Rindisbacher’s own people. For the most part artisans, they were totally unfit to face the privations of a farming life at Red River. Man-made and natural disasters mocked their clumsy efforts to eke out a living. They began trickling south. In the spring of 1826 a devastating flood combined with an infestation of grub-worms discouraged the remaining die-hards, among them Pierre Rindisbacher. With his family and other Swiss settlers he left Red River on 11 July 1826 and settled at a place called Gratiot’s Grove (near Darlington, Wis.).
      Peter continued to paint Indian views, adding to his repertoire, but he also expanded his range of subjects to include miniature portraits of friends and local citizens. He visited St Louis in June 1829, and then travelled to Prairie du Chien (Wis.) to record a treaty-making ceremony and to do studies of Sauk and Fox Indians. By year’s end he was living in St Louis, making miniatures in pencil, crayon, and water-colour. He had never lost his interest in the military life and both in the Red River settlement and on the American prairies was constantly in the company of soldiers; in St Louis he became a volunteer in the St Louis Grays. Army officers, through their contacts with the American social élite, brought their young painter friend to the notice of the buying public. In local newspapers the officers vaunted him as possessing “a genius as fruitful, and an imagination as vivid as the scenes amongst which he has dwelt” and asserted that “these will enable him, in cultivating his fine talents, to throw aside the threadbare subjects of the schools, and give to the world themes as fresh as the soil upon which he was bred; – glowing as the newness of nature; and picturesque as a combination of bold scenery, with bolder man and manners, will afford.” His friends sent scenes to the American Turf Register and Sporting Magazine, which published them in its pages. But the promise of success was cut short in 1834 when Rindisbacher died, possibly of cholera, at the age of 28. He seems to have been married and to have had two children.
His paintings in his short life, earned for him an important place in the development of the Canadian Visual Arts.

You can see more in the Canadian Biography Online by clicking here.
Wikipedia also has information on Peter. Please click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for posting your comments.
ATTENTION SPAMMERS: Comments with links to other websites, will not be accepted.

A message for anonymous posters: Comments will be accepted provided they are thoughtful and articulate.

Reciprocating comments between posters will not be accepted. Sorry - I have no intention of giving readers the opportunity to engage in flame wars. It won't happen.

Fredericks-Artworks Blog, copying policy

The Canadian Copyright act, section 29 reports on fairdealing, that it is not an infringement to reproduce someone else's work for research, study, criticism, review or to report. Which pretty much sums up what this site is about. All content sources, be they artists, printed references, and website url's are respectfully identified on this site. http://http//

Mission Statement
A Portrait of the Visual Arts in Canada, is intended to celebrate the richness of Canada's visual arts, and to promote the arts in Canada.

Statement of Intent
I make every effort to credit the sources of information used in this blog and to obtain the permission and cooperation of all the works presented by living artists. I try, as much as possible to use works from public sources eg. national and provincial collections, of deceased artists. If for any reason, any artist disapproves of anything written about them or their work the artist is encouraged to request withdrawal of the content.