Canadian Painting in the Thirties

Biography: Carl Schaefer

Carl Schaefer
Canadian
Born in Hanover, Ontario, 30 April 1903
Died in Toronto, Ontario, 21 May 1995

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"There is one thing every painter must do and this is to know his environment ..... and achieve a proper balance between the technical means and the emotional expression."
(Carl Schaefer)

Carl Schaefer, a Canadian regionalist artist and teacher, painted scenes of rural southern Ontario. The farm environment of Grey County and his personal relationship to the land inspired his best work.

Schaefer studied at the Ontario College of Art from 1921 under the Group of Seven painters, Arthur Lismer and J.E.H. MacDonald. He later free-lanced as a commercial artist. In 1930, Schaefer began teaching at the Central Technical School in Toronto. During the Depression, Schaefer returned with his family on his holidays to Hanover. From 1948 to 1970, he taught at OCA (Ontario College of Art).

In his earliest works, Schaefer showed a great interest in such Northern European sixteenth century painters as Pieter Bruegel. From 1932-42 his work was marked by a transition from a decorative/ geometric style to a realistic, occasionally allegorical approach to landscape and still life.

In 1937, stimulated by an interest in drawing, Schaefer turned to watercolour, a medium that had the added advantages of speed, immediacy, and low cost.

From 1943-46, Schaefer worked as an official war artist with the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force). This experience darkened his vision, but by the 1950s he was again painting in a broad, lyrical spirit in the countryside around Hanover and in neighboring Wellington and Waterloo counties.

During his lifetime, Schaefer was the recipient of numerous awards and honours.

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