Biography of Allan A. EDSON

Aaron Allan Edson



Born at Standbridge in the Eastern Townships, Edson worked in Montreal with American artist Robert Duncanson and then studied for two years in England. Then he spent four years in Paris where he met and studied under Léon Pelouse. In 1867, he returned to Montreal, where he became known for landscape paintings. His fine landscapes attracted the attention of the Marquis of Lorne and Princess Louise who purchased two of his paintings which they gave to Queen Victoria.

When the Royal Canadian academy was founded in 1879 Edson was made a charter member. He taught at the Art Association of Montreal in 1880-81.

In 1886 Edson settled in Sutton, Quebec, where he painted several winter scenes. He died in 1888 in Glen Sutton, Quebec, and was buried in the Mount Royal Cemetery. After his death his sketches left in his studio were sold for five thousand dollars, a considerable sum in those days.



While the impact of a photographic aesthetic is evident in the precise rendering of such details as the blades of grass, the birds and the reflections in the water, the rich colours and panoramic proportions of the work return it to the realm of painting.



His landscape paintings that combined romantic idealization with a Victorian penchant for “truth to nature” nurtured by the era’s fascination with photography.



He is represented  in the National Gallery by a lake scene from the Eastern Townships, dated 1870 and signed Allan Edson.


Source: Anne Newlands, Canadian art from its beginnings to 2000, Firefly books, 2000 ; Catalogue of the national gallery of Canada, Canadian art, volume one,Ottawa, 1988, p. 297 and Colin S. MacDonald, A dictionary of Canadian artists, Volume 1, A-F, Canadian Paperbacks, Ottawa, 1977, p. 190.


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