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The Work: Red Nasturtiums, 1937
watercolour over graphite on wove paper
35.7 x 52.6 cm
Gift from the Douglas M. Duncan Collection, 1970
National Gallery of Canada (no. 16429)

The Artist: David B. Milne
In the late 1920s he returned to Canada, where, despite self-imposed isolation and poverty, he continued to paint. Recognition of sorts came in the 1930s when he sold 300 paintings at $5 each to Vincent Massey. In 1987, a Milne painting was auctioned for $78,000.00. He resumed painting in watercolours in 1977 with energy, freedom and economy and developed it into a sensitive means of emotional expression. Today Milne is considered one of Canada's most brilliant artists and a leading forerunner of contemporary painting in this country.
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Camouflaged Steel Observation Post on the Souchez-Arras Road, June 14, 1919
by David B. Milne
watercolour over graphite on wove paper
25.5 x 35.3 cm
Transfer from the Canadian War Memorials, 1921
National Gallery of Canada (no. 8459)

David Brown Milne
Born: January 8, 1882, Burgoyne, Ontario, Canada
Died: December 26, 1953 (aged 71), Bancroft, Ontario, Canada
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    He was the last of 10 children born to Scottish immigrant parents. His early education was in Paisley, followed by high school in Walkerton, Ontario he performed well in school and soon after graduated began teaching in a country school near Paisley. During 1902 and 1903 he studied art through correspondence, eventually deciding to move to New York City in 1903 at the age of 21
He studied at the 'Art Students League'.
In 1912, he married Frances May (known as Patsy) and later they moved to Boston Corners.
Milne left Boston Corners in 1917 for basic training in Toronto for World War I. He was stationed in Quebec and then quarantined in England for a month, during which time World War I ended. Because of his background as an artist, he was asked to complete paintings and drawings as a war artist.
In 1929, Milne returned to Canada to paint in Temagami, Weston and Palgrave. He separated from his wife in 1933, moved to Port Severn, Ontario and sold many of his paintings to prominent art patrons Vincent Massey and Alice Massey. In the late 1930s, Milne settled down in Uxbridge, Ontario with Kathleen Pavey, a nurse, and the two had a son (also David) in 1941. During the later years of his life, Milne worked again in watercolours, and changed his subject matter to more whimsical, fantasy and childlike inspirations. He continued to travel to Algonquin Park and Baptiste Lake to paint the Canadian landscape.
On November 14, 1952, Milne had a stroke. Over the next year he continued to suffer from small strokes and died in the hospital in Bancroft, Ontario on December 26, 1953.
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Extra:
"He was like a piece of litmus paper. The times imprinted themselves on him because he was original and because he was sensitive. The paintings, although they reflect the spirit of his times, also reflect him."
                             - David Silcox, writter
Painting Place: David B. Milne
by David P. Silcox
- Hardcover, 140 pages - Published October 22nd 1996 by University of Toronto Press (first published January 1st 1995)




Canadian Stamp

Masterpieces of Canadian Art #6 in the set
On June 29, 1992 Canada Post issued 'Red Nasturtiums, David B. Milne, 1937' in the Masterpieces of Canadian art series. The stamp was designed by Pierre-Yves Pelletier based on a painting "Red Nasturtiums" (1937) by David Brown Milne in the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. The 50¢ stamps are perforated 13 X 13.5 and were printed by Ashton-Potter Limited. - Quantity: 6,700,000.