Frederick S. Haines
Rue de la Chaise, Antwerp, c. 1913
Arthur Leggett Fine Arts Ltd., Toronto;
Private collection, Toronto;
Ontario Society of Artists, Annual Exhibition, 1915, cat. no. 51
Fred Haines was born in Meaford, Ontario. His ambition to become an artist developed at a very early age, moving to Toronto at seventeen, to pursue his dream. He made a living and financed his studies at the Central Ontario School of Art by painting portraits for a travelling art…
Fred Haines was born in Meaford, Ontario. His ambition to become an artist developed at a very early age, moving to Toronto at seventeen, to pursue his dream. He made a living and financed his studies at the Central Ontario School of Art by painting portraits for a travelling art dealer. He first exhibited with the Ontario Society of Artists in 1901 and was elected a member in 1906. He continued his art studies in Europe at the Academie Royale des Beaux Arts, in Antwerp, Belgium, where he was awarded a gold medal for figure painting.
In 1919, Haines expanded his artistic repertoire to include printmaking and became an associate member of the Royal Canadian Academy. His printmaking came to broad attention in 1924 at an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Toronto. An article in Toronto’s Star Weekly magazine noted that his etchings displayed “remarkable tone quality” and were responsible for the artist “becoming famous the continent over…!”
He became an associate member of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1919 and was elected president of the Ontario Society of Artists in 1924. Haines was appointed Curator at the Art Gallery of Toronto four years later. He remained in that post until his appointment as Principal of the Ontario College of Art in 1932. In his capacity as Commissioner of Fine Arts for the Canadian National Exhibition, he was instrumental in bringing the work of Picasso and Dali to to the CNE art gallery, a very progressive move for the 1930s. He was elected president of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1939.
During WWII, Sampson Matthews started making silkscreen prints for servicemen’s hostels and lounges using for their theme the Canadian landscapes by Canada’s artists. Fred Haines was one of the first artist’s to be chosen and his “Beech Woods” and “Rural Bridge” were very successfully reproduced.
Although he worked in a figurative style himself, Haines was very open to non-objective painting styles among his peers and students. As principal of the Ontario College of Art, he kept a studio where he could paint, allowing students to observe how he “solved his own painting problems”. Often he was at work on his painting in his college studio before the start of daily classes.
Upon his retirement for teaching, in 1951, he returned to painting full time at his studio in Thornhill. After his death in 1960, an exhibition of his work was held at the Art Gallery of Toronto. He is represented in the National Gallery of Canada; Hart House (U. of T.); the IBM Collection and others.
Source: “A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume II”, compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd, Ottawa, 1979