Canadian (born in Switzerland), 1806–1834
A Halfcast with his Wife and Child, c. 1825
watercolour, ink on paper
21.5 x 26.5 cm Image: 16.5 x 21.7 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with financial assistance from the National Museums of Canada
Canada’s earliest immigrant artists sought to capture the strangeness of North American colonial life and the particular physical conditions of a new environment. In A Half-cast with his Wife and Child, Peter Rindisbacher depicts a family grouping near the Red River settlement on the Manitoba prairies. The scene demonstrates the cultural melding that had taken place between the Aboriginal peoples and French fur traders, resulting in a new, distinct group known as the Metis. Often represented as a land brimming with promise, the reality of North American settlement was often quite arduous. Soon after painting this work, Rindisbacher left the Red River settlement which had suffered crop failure and a devastating flood.