Farquhar McGillivray Knowles, Previously Sold Artwork
Farquhar McGillivray Knowles
(1859 - 1932) OSA, RCA
Farquhar McGillivray Knowles, RCA, OSA. The artist was born in 1859 in Syracuse, NY, of Scottish ancestry. Early in his life, the Knowles family moved to Canada where he received his early education in Guelph, Ont. As a young man encouraged by his grandfather, it looked as though he would pursue a military career. In his fourth year at West Point military academy, however, he suffered a serious accident which put an end to any possibility of military service. This fateful event changed the course of his life and he began to pursue more artistic avenues.
In New York, he studied art under William Merritt Chase and on his return to Canada he became a student of John A. Fraser, RCA. In 1889, Knowles was elected an Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy on the strength of his reputation as a watercolourist. In1893 He exhibited a work in Canada's pavilion at the Chicago World's Fair. On the death of his first wife, Knowles married Elizabeth Beach, a fellow artist. They spent two years in London, then four years in Paris where he studied at the Academie Julian under the respected artists of the time, such as Jean Paul Laurens and Benjamin Constant. On their return to Canada, Knowles opened an art academy specializing in painting, design, ceramics and life classes. The couple's studio became the centre of an artistic social circle where they kept an "open-house" to Toronto's creative community. In 1916 Knowles spent a year painting New York harbour from his yacht. The couple took up residence New York City in 1920 but they returned to Canada often, participating in important exhibitions including RCA annuals. During his lifetime Knowles was known for his marine paintings which were considered notable for their authentic atmosphere. Like other Toronto artists of the period his work was influenced by impressionism though tempered by Aesthetic movement sympathies. He died in 1932.