David Milne

City on the Hudson, c. 1913

watercolour and gouache on illustration board
16.75x14.875 in
$155,000 Cdn.

Estate of David Milne;
Private collection

Possibly: Art Association of Montreal, 1924, 44 as The City on gallery list;
Possibly: Arts Club, Montreal, 1924;

The time he spent in New York was a critically important phase in the early development of artist David Milne. He left Paisley, Ontario in 1903, gravitating to New York in search of education, experience, and exposure to art. He was there when The Ash Can School held their first independent exhibition, read Emerson and Whitman, and soaked it all in. From 1910 – 1912 he focused on atmospheric effects in his work, painting in an Impressionist manner. He had seen an exhibition of Cézanne’s watercolours at the Stieglitz Gallery in 1911 – the first North American showing of the artist’s work. Milne instantly began down a new path, using colour to define spaces, using separate colours to describe shapes, and most importantly, using negative space to define the whole. In 1913, as we see in this work, he turned his attention to structure and form. Milne was, throughout his life, an incredibly driven painter. He would pursue his ideas relentlessly, exploring them multiple times until
=he had completely devoured their possibilities. The Armory Show, which he saw the year this work was painted, must have been a revelation. Over 2,000 works of art were on view, everything from van Gogh to Raoul Dufy, who, as a fauvist painter using eclectic colour, would certainly have interested Milne. City on the Hudson exemplifies his New York years not only by its subject, but in its Celanese treatment of structure, and the role played by the negative spaces in the work

David Brown Milne was born at Burgoyne, Ontario in 1882. The youngest of 10 children born to Presbyterian Scottish immigrants, Milne’s training and initial recognition took place in New York. In Canada he was practically unknown until 1934, and he did not receive the same attention as the Group of…