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Brooker, Bertram
Untitled Landscape
late 1930s-early 1940s

Bertram Brooker’s waterfront landscape is a departure from the radical compositions with which he experimented in the 1920s and 1930s. After moving to Toronto in 1921 to accept a position with Marketing magazine, he became involved with the Arts and Letters Club, where he met members of the Group of Seven. Brooker was initially drawn to the idea of the “amateur art movement” promulgated by the Group and its supporters. Already well-versed in drawing and design, he picked up a brush and threw himself into painting. His chosen mode of expression was abstraction.

Then in 1929, Brooker met Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald, who inspired a change in direction toward representational art. Brooker began painting nudes, still lifes and landscapes, drawing upon interests in vorticism, surrealism and vitalist philosophy. Untitled (Landscape) reveals the artist’s embeddedness in modernist movements, its rocky cubist shore contrasting with the lively biomorphic shapes of clouds and trees.

His advertising and artistic worlds intertwined, Brooker gave this landscape to James Floyd Scruton, vice-president (sales and advertising) of Heinz Canada. While working for the advertising firm of J. J. Gibbons, Brooker was responsible for getting the Heinz account in 1931. Two years later, he became a founding member of the Canadian Group of Painters (CGP), a country-wide artistic organization that emerged from the Group of Seven, but represented a broader artistic view. Brooker’s connection with Heinz was instrumental in the CGP obtaining its first exhibition, at Heinz Ocean Pier in Atlantic City, giving the group an immediate international platform.

 
Brooker, Bertram
Croydon, England 1888-Toronto ON 1955
Untitled Landscape
late 1930s-early 1940s
Oil on canvas
41.5 x 51.7 cm
Gift of Dorothy Scruton on behalf of James Floyd Scruton, 2017
60-002

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