Considered one of the three greatest artists of his generation by esteemed art theorist Clement Greenberg, David Milne remains today highly praised in both his native Canada and in the United States, where his work was recently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in a special exhibition of his watercolors. Milne began gathering acclaim in the early 1900s and exhibited at the celebrated Armory Show of 1913 in New York City. While this time in New York paved the way for his success, the artist remained devoted to Canada, fearing the flight of Canada's greatest talent to other countries, and urging the nation to give more attention to its art, music, and literature. His work is marked by the simple clarity and austere elegance of his serene rural landscapes. Reducing paintings to bare essentials, he is often called the "master of absence."
This work, painted during a stay in Ottawa, exhibits a visual vocabulary culled from impressionism and fauvism, the artist's two principal influences. Short, quick lines communicate the hushed movement of a countryside untouched by modern industry. The subtle, delicate palette proclaims his devotion to simplicity and grace. While the artist experimented with cityscapes and figural drawings, his landscapes remain his most acclaimed work, earning him the title of one of Canada's greatest painters.