Frederick Arthur Verner A.R.C.A.

Buffalo Herd Grazing, 1877

watercolour on paper
11.75x8.75 in.

There are records of Verner travelling as far West as Manitoba in 1873, where he was likely first exposed to real life scenes of Indigenous life and the landscape of the prairies. He made sketches around this time, and may have also viewed Buffalo in a zoo context, that he continued to use as reference material in the studio in the years to come. Verner was a follower of artist Paul Kane from boyhood, and sought inspiration from the elder artists romantic depictions of the Western Canadian landscape (1).

The Canadian Bison, commonly referred to historically as Buffalo, was nearly extinct by the 1850s. The animal became a revered and romantic subject for artists, especially Verner (2). Buffalo Herd Grazing is among Verner’s wistful depictions of the bison, and the massive animals are depicted as calm and gentle against the fading sunset. Collectors and society of the day reacted to these paintings with huge fanfare, and ultimately brought Verner great success.

1. J. Russell Harper, Painting in Canada: A History, p. 123-124
2. Jeremy Adamson, From Ocean to Ocean: Nineteenth Century Watercolour Painting in Canada, p. 16

(1836 – 1928) Frederick Verner was born in Ontario in 1836. Verner traveled to England in 1856 to study art at the South Kensington School of Art. While in England he served for the British army. Upon his return to Canada in 1862 he opened a studio in Toronto. During…