Frank Hennessey R.C.A.

The Red Sleigh, 1929

oil on canvas
22x27 in.

Continental Galleries, Montreal;
Private collection, by descent

As an illustrator, Frank Hennessey honed his skills as a draughtsman finely. He was also keenly adept at composition and colour, and of how to arrange a work. The Red Sleigh is an excellent exampleof his ability to lead us into the scene. Here, the horse and sleigh draw us along. We will turn andhead off between the homes in a moment, moving through the curve in the snow, following the pair of figures who are also walking that way. An additional curved fence takes us even further into the distance, where a bright orange home sits, partially obscured from our view.

In addition to his many accomplishments, Frank Hennessey was also a teacher. Student Anthony Law recalled that “Hennessey was a practical exponent of the pastel medium and used chalks with vigour and confidence. The country under snow was an alluring time of year for him, as were the spring thaw and the break-up on rivers. He enjoyed painting the subtle obscurities that came with sundown on winter days. Hennessey, who excelled in oils as well, taught the young artist how to interpret the wilderness on canvas…”

RCA, FRSA, OSA (1893-1941). Born in Ottawa, Ontario, Hennessey studied at Albion College, Michigan (B.A. 1916) but he was largely self-taught. He travelled to the Arctic Circle as an assitant naturalist and artist (c. 1907). He worked for the Geological Survey of Canada (1913-15) and as an entomologist for the…