William Brymner

William Brymner

Portrait of William Brymner
Born (1855-12-14)December 14, 1855
Greenock, Scotland
Died June 18, 1925(1925-06-18) (aged 69)
Wallasey, England
Nationality Canadian
Education Académie Julian
Known for Painting

William Brymner, CMG (December 14, 1855 June 18, 1925) was a Canadian art teacher and a figure and landscape painter.

Early years

Born in Greenock, Scotland, the son of Douglas Brymner the first Dominion Archivist and Jean Thomson, he moved with his family to Melbourne, Lower Canada in 1857. In 1864, his family moved to Montreal. Following architectural studies in enrolled at the Académie Julian in Paris in 1878 where his instructors were William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Tony Robert-Fleury.[1] Both of his teachers, in Paris, were famous exponents of 'Grand manner' naturalism. During this period at the Salon he became interested in the work of Jean-Louis Ernest Meissonier who was already popular with the French public.[1]

Later life

Brymner specialized in domestic figure scenes and avoided large historical subjects. Two Girls Reading of 1898 displays a "careful treatment of light and an understanding of the force of a simple emphatic composition".[1] In 1886 he settled in Montreal after staying in Paris "on and off for almost seven years".[1] Two years prior to leaving Paris, at Runswick Bay, Yorkshire, he completed A Wreath of Flowers.

Many members of the Beaver Hall Group studied under William Brymner, a prominent Canadian artist who encouraged them to explore new modernistic approaches to painting.


Among Brymner's pupils were:

Recognition and awards

In 1883, he was made an associate of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA). He was elected vice-president of the RCA in 1907 and president in 1909. In 1916, he was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George. His works were exhibited by Galerie L'Art français.[3]


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  1. 1 2 3 4 Reid, Dennis (1988). A Concise History Of Canadian Painting: Second Edition. Toronto: Oxford University Press. pp. 94–95. ISBN 0-19-540663-X.
  2. "Robert Pilot". Heffel.com. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  3. Vie des arts, printemps 1963, n°30, p.40, "Galerie L'Art français, 370 ouest, rue Laurier: Brymner" http://www.erudit.org/feuilletage/index.html?va1081917.va1205271@56


Cultural offices
Preceded by
George Agnew Reid
President of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts
Succeeded by
Homer Watson
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