William Sawyer

Canadian, 1820–1889

Portrait of a Lady, 1859

oil on canvas

76 x 63.3 cm

Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of Mr. Peter Dobush

G-65-141

Categories:

Painting, Canadian Historical (1800-1910)

Abandoning an earlier goal to pursue law, William Sawyer embarked on his artistic career in Montreal in the 1840s. Initially painting landscapes and genre scenes, reminiscent of his peer, Cornelius Krieghoff, Sawyer soon turned his attention to portraiture. He focused on securing commissions from the urban professional and merchant classes living along the St. Lawrence River and the north shore of Lake Ontario, in cities from Montreal to Toronto. Photography, still a novelty at the time, was used by many painters of this period as an important component of their production. In addition to being a tool for documenting a physical likeness, working from a photograph also ensured that the subject was not constrained by a lengthy sitting. Sawyer’s debt to photography can also be seen in the shallow space, static quality, and coaxed elimination of brushwork evident in Portrait of a Lady.

Sign up for e-news

Gallery Hours

  • Tuesday 11am-5pm
  • Wednesday 11am-5pm
  • Thursday 11am-5pm
  • Friday 11am-9pm
  • Saturday 11am-5pm
  • Sunday 11am-5pm
  • Closed Monday

Open on the following days:

  • Victoria Day
  • Canada Day
  • August Civic Holiday
  • Labour Day
  • Remembrance Day (open 1-5pm)
  • Christmas Eve (close at 2pm)
  • Boxing Day
  • New Year's Day
  • Louis Riel Day
  • February 23 (open at 2pm)
  • Easter

Closed on the following holidays:

  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas Day

WAG Social Media

Share This

This should be hidden