Frederick A. Verner
oil on canvas
41.1 x 61.6 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of Mrs. J.Y. Reid, in memory of Col. John Young Reid, former President, the Winnipeg Art Gallery
Following in the romantic documentary tradition of artist Paul Kane, Frederick Verner sketched, photographed, and painted the Canadian landscape and its Aboriginal people. He was a fastidious recorder, collecting a catalogue of stock images to consult for his finished works. His oeuvre served as a visual travelogue of his explorations throughout western Canada during the last three decades of the nineteenth century, even after he settled permanently in England in 1880. The subject in this painting held enormous exotic appeal for art collectors and the general public. For centuries buffalo, or bison, had been a staple for North American Aboriginal people, providing food, clothing, shelter, and fuel. By the mid-nineteenth century, however, the majestic animals were all but obliterated from the prairie landscape from over-hunting.