Paul Kane (1810-1871)
Paul Kane was born in 1810 in County Cork, Ireland, and around 1819 he emigrated with his family to the town of York in Upper Canada1. He started his artistic career as a decorative furniture painter, but through the 1830s and early 1840s made his living as an itinerant portrait painter .2
Between 1845 and 1848 Kane made two westward journeys for the purpose of sketching Native Peoples and the western landscape. He returned to Toronto with more than 500 landscape and cultural heritage sketches. He then worked up this record into formal oil paintings, with more than 100 canvases complete by 1856.

In 1853, at the age of 43, Paul Kane married Harriet Clench (1823-1892) of Cobourg. In the mid-1850s the Kane's moved into their house on Wellesley Street, Toronto, where they both lived for the remainder of their lives.

As early as October 1848, shortly after his return from the west, Kane expressed interest in publishing a book illustrated with his paintings. His book, Wanderings of an Artist Among the Indians of North America, was finally published in 1859 and with seven colour and thirteen woodcut illustrations it provides a diary-like account of his western journeys.3

The book was a popular success and by 1863 it had been translated into French, Dutch, and German. Interestingly, although the book's narrative is based upon Kane's journals, evidence suggests that the published book was written by a ghost-writer - not by Kane himself. 4 Due to failing eyesight, the publication of his book marked the end of the most productive period in his career.

Paul Kane died in 1871 at the age of sixty-one and is buried in Toronto's St. James Cemetery. Shortly after his death, his major patron and friend, the Honourable George William Allan, wrote notes that attempt to record the sequence of Kane's life.5 Sir Daniel Wilson, the well-known University of Toronto historian, made extensive reference to these pages when writing an obituary titled "Paul Kane, The Canadian Artist ."6

In her later life, the daughter of G.W. Allan - Maude Cassels - with reference to her father's notes stated that even to her father the details of Kane's life were sketchy: ". . . I can see, when he set himself down to his task, our Father realizing how little he could tell of the family history of the man of whom he had seen so much."7

1. The Town of York was renamed Toronto in 1834.

2. For a discussion of Paul Kane's life and career see J. Russell Harper, Paul Kane's Frontier, University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 1971.

3. The original 1859 publication was published in London, England by Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans, and Roberts. In 1996 the book was republished by Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York.

4. Refer to I.S. MacLaren, "‘I came to rite thare portraits': Paul Kane's Journal of his Western Travels, 1846-1848" in The American Art Journal, Volume XXI, Number 2, pp.6-21, 1989.

5. George Willian Allan's handwritten notes pertaining to Paul Kane's life and career are in the Department of Anthropology Paul Kane Collection, Royal Ontario Museum.

6. Daniel Wilson, "Paul Kane, The Canadian Artist." The Canadian Journal of Science, Literature, and History,Volume XIII, Number 1, pp.66-72, 1871.

7. A manuscript titled "Paul Kane" by Maude Cassels was written in 1932 and is in the Department of Anthropology Paul Kane Collection, Royal Ontario Museum.

In November 1998, the Royal Ontario Museum opened Wilderness to Studio: Four Views of Paul Kane followed in August 2000 by the opening of Paul Kane: Land Study, Studio View.

The exhibition Paul Kane: Land Study, Studio View was funded by Gretchen and Donald Ross. Appreciation is also extended to Mrs. Peggy Kane and Lori Young for their support.

Both exhibitions were enhanced with collections from sources external to the Department of Anthropology at the Royal Ontario Museum and the support of the following institutions, departments, and individuals is greatly appreciated:

National Archives of Canada
National Gallery of Canada
Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature
Royal Ontario Museum, Library and Archives
Royal Ontario Museum, Department of Western Art and Culture
G. Patrick H. Vernon
Private Collectors

Appreciation is also extended to the Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Provincial Archives of Manitoba for permission to cite their records.

The Department of Anthropology, Royal Ontario Museum collection of Paul Kane sketches, artifacts, and documents is a gift of Raymond A. Willis in Memory of his Mother, "Chelsea," daughter of Maude and Allan Cassels and granddaughter of the Honourable George William Allan.

The Department of Anthropology, Royal Ontario Museum collection of Paul Kane oil paintings is a gift of Sir Edmund Osler.

In alphabetical order Wilderness to Studio: Four Views of Paul Kane and Paul Kane: Land Study, Studio View were developed by the following individuals.

French Translation
Project Manager
Paper Conservator
Website Design
Project Manager
Exhibit Designer
Interpretative Planner
Manager, Exhibit Programming
Paintings Conservator
Exhibit Preparator
Exhibit Preparator
French Translation
Exhibit Preparator
Hélène Combret
Irena Govan
Janet Cowan
Emil Huston
Tim Moore
Tom Henriksson
Richard Lahey
Kenneth R. Lister
Christine Lockett
Diane McKay
Chris Palmer
Mel Peverley
Monique Tanton-Lawson
Susan Ventura
Appreciation is also extended to the following Royal Ontario Museum staff for their participation:

Francisco Alvarez, Carol Baum, Ronnie Burbank, Helen Coxon, Ewa Dziadowiec, Julia Fenn, Drew Gauley, Georgia Guenther, Jeff Kostyniuk, Burton Lim, Lisa Lipkin, Debra Luneau, Connie MacDonald, Julia Matthews, David McKay, Amy Ogibowski, Mark Peck, Joan Pletsch, Brian Porter, Angela Raljic, Brigitta Schmidt, Alana Silverman, Steven Spencer, Melissa Thompson, Sjor Throndson, Joane Veilleux, Andrea Witmer.

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