WILLIAM RAPHAEL, R.C.A.
AWAITING MOTHER’S RETURN ON A SNOWY DAY
oil on canvas
signed and dated 1891
28 ins x 17.25 ins; 71.8 cms x 43.8 cms
Sharon Goelman writes that “Raphael was best known for his exemplary portraits and lively Canadian genre scenes.”
This work incorporates both of the artist’s fortés. Effectively, an informal triple portrait, it is evidence of William Raphael at capacity, expertly rendering the particular essence of each of the characters: infant, child and elder. This painting serves as a kind of figurative “sampler”.
Furthermore, with paint and brush the artist conjures stone and snow, fur, flesh, and fabric, the coarseness of one balancing the softness of another.
As a new immigrant to Canada, Raphael had an interest bordering on obsession with accurately depicting the details of habitant life. Here he provides himself with an opportunity to riff on the quotidien details of the new world: the people, their clothing and the settings, all of which he closely observes and renders.
Sharon Goelman, William Raphael, R.C.A.: Retrospective Exhibition (1833-1914), (catalogue) Walter Klinkhoff Gallery, Montreal, September 7-21, 1996, page 1.
Private Collection, Toronto