OSA President’s Annual Report 1918

Excerpts from Ontario Society of Artists Annual Report 1918

At the Annual Meeting held on March 13th, 1917, the following officers were elected:

President – C. W. Jefferys.
Vice-President and Treasurer -J . E. H. MacDonald.
Secretary – R. F. Gagen.
Auditors – James Smith and R. J. Dilworth.
Executive Council – F. M. Bell-Smith, T. W. Mitchell, G. A. Reid, E. Wyly Grier, Herbert S. Palmer, Mary E. Wrinch, F. Horsman Varley,
New Members Elected – Frank Carmichael, Francis H. Johnston and Miss. F. MacGillivray

The forty-fifth Annual Exhibition of the Society was held in the galleries of the Toronto Art Museum at the Public Library from March 9th to April 9th, 1917. It consisted of 141 paintings in oil and water color, 39 works in black and white, etc., and 7 pieces of sculpture, contributed by 69 exhibitors of whom 33, or less than one-half, were members of the Society. These figures indicate that the Society maintains its reputation for hospitality. The Committee of Selection and Arrangement consisted of Miss Mary E. Wrinch, Mr. E. Wyly Grier, and Mr. Robert Holmes. The Exhibition was attended by 4,048 visitors, and the proceeds from the sales of tickets of admission, amounting to $455.25, were given to the Toronto and County of York Patriotic Fund.

Very few private sales were made, and the Ontario Government again purchased nothing. The pressure of war conditions is no doubt the cause of these economies, and we cannot expect much relief until the termination of the great struggle which is putting so great a strain upon all our resources.

In July the members of the Society were shocked to learn of the death by drowning in Canoe Lake, of Mr. Tom Thomson. Mr. Thomson had been a member of the Society for only three years, and though his retiring disposition had confined his personal acquaintance to a comparatively small circle, his work had revealed to an increasing audience the presence of a strong and sensitive personality in Canadian Art. His death at the early age of forty deprives the country of a landscape painter of remarkable performance and of great promise, and his influence undoubtedly will be felt strongly in the future development of Canadian painting. The Society recalls with satisfaction that it was the means of introducing Thomson’s work to public attention, and desires to record its regret at the untimely ending of one whose progress it had watched with something akin to fatherly pride.

The first and foremost purpose of our lives just now must be devoted to secure a victorious peace and to support to the utmost the successful prosecution of the great conflict in which we are engaged. But it must be also no small part of our duty to make the future of our civilization more worthy of the great sacrifices that are being made to secure it. And for this end, we must still try to carry on all the activities that make for mental power, for beauty, and for the widening of life – all the things of the spirit by which man truly lives.