Walter J. Phillips was born into a ministerial family in Lincolnshire, England. From an early age he showed a talent for drawing. While attending school in Birmingham, Phillips frequently visited the art gallery where he was introduced to some of the most prominent artists and movements of the day. Art Nouveau, one of the most popular European movements of the period, was highly influential to Phillips’s work.
Although it had no unifying style, Art Nouveau infused every major art form, characterized by the use of shapes and patterns from nature. Phillips himself was never part of an organized artist group or movement but did incorporate elements of popular styles into his work. For Phillips, Art Nouveau’s influence is most noticeable through his stylized, curved forms and soft, naturalistic colour palette.
This exhibition brings together Art Nouveau decorative arts from the WAG’s permanent collection along with Phillips’ prints and paintings from the APC’s collections to show Phillips’ incorporation of the movement into his work in a uniquely Canadian way.
WAG@The Park presents a rotating series of exhibitions curated by the WAG at The Pavilion at Assiniboine Park Conservancy (APC). Art is selected primarily from the APC collection, as well as from the WAG’s vast holdings.