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Newton, Lilias Torrance
Portrait of André Biéler
around 1950

Lilias Torrance Newton was the best Canadian portrait painter of her generation. In the hundreds of portraits she painted of businessmen, professors, politicians, débutantes and statesmen, she managed to bring an artistic capacity and an analytic sensitivity to her work which raised it above the ordinary.

André Biéler was Newton’s contemporary and friend. He was artist in residence at Queen’s University and the first director of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. It is likely that he was influential in obtaining portrait commissions for her from Queen’s University. Portrait of André Biéler was painted in 1950 while Newton was in Kingston painting the official portrait of Principal Robert Wallace. Beginning in the late 1930s, Newton undertook a series of portraits of her artist friends and these are among her finest works. In addition to André Biéler, there are portraits of A. Y. Jackson, Frances Loring and Louis Muhlstock, all now in the National Gallery of Canada.

 
Newton, Lilias Torrance
born Lachine, Quebec, 1896; died Cowansville, Quebec, 1980
Portrait of André Biéler
around 1950
Oil on canvas
overall: 66 cm x 55.9 cm
Purchase, Chancellor Richardson Memorial Fund in honour of Frances K. Smith, curator emeritus, 2003
46-032

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