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Fall, Assiniboine River

Date 1931
Technique Woodcut
Price $1,800.00
Exhibitor The Annex Galleries
Contact the Exhibitor 707.546.7352
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Fall, Assiniboine River is a color woodcut created in 1931 by Canadian artist Walter Joseph Phillips. It is pencil signed and was printed in an edition of 200 on thin ivory Japanese hosho. The image measure 6-7/8 x 10 inches. The reference for this work is MBL150.

Fall, Assiniboine River was the second print in the 1931 portfolio Ten Woodcuts, published in an edition of 200 prints, which contained seven color woodcuts and three wood engravings. The colors of the impressions vary from one to another, this being very subtly printed with transparent colors.The Assiniboine River, a tributary of the Red River, runs through the prairies of western Canada in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. It is named after the First Nation Assiniboines, derived from words in the Ojibwe and Sioux languages.

Walter Joseph Phillips, painter, printmaker, author, and teacher, was born at Barton-on-Humber, in Lincolnshire, England on 25 October 1884. Phillips was educated in various schools and soon demonstrated an inclination for drawing. Enrolled at a boarding school at Quinton, near Birmingham, he won a scholarship in mathematics in 1898 which he spent on tuition at the Municipal School of Art in Birmingham. He also studied at the Municipal School of Art and Science in Great Yarmouth.

At the invitation of his uncle, Phillips moved to South Africa in 1902 and returned to England in 1907. In 1908, Phillips obtained the position of Art Master at the Bishop’s School in Salisbury. It was there that he met Gladys Pitcher, a student at the school, whom he married in December 1910. Phillips held two exhibitions in Salisbury in 1911 and 1912. By then, he and Gladys had decided to emigrate to Canada.
After arriving in Winnipeg in 1913, he soon met other artists including Cyril Barraud, a fellow-Englishman who had arrived a year earlier and was now engaged in etching. Phillips and Barraud held a joint exhibition in Winnipeg in October of 1914. As Barraud was leaving for England to enlist in the country’s effort in the World War, Phillips was able to acquire Barraud’s etching press and equipment. For the next three years, he produced etchings in very small editions.

By 1917, Phillips was experimenting with a new printmaking medium, color woodcut. With the few references available to him in Winnipeg, he nevertheless was able to produce color woodcuts, which increased in sophistication as his experience with the medium increased. His success with the color woodcut medium led him to abandon etching completely. His first show of woodcuts followed 1924. He wrote The Techniques of the Color Wood-Cut in 1926; and published The Canadian Scene, with seven color woodcut illustrations; Essay in Wood, containing ten woodengravings; and Winter Wood-Cuts, with fifteen color woodcuts. He also illustrated a variety of books with his woodcuts.
Phillips was invited to teach at the Banff Summer School in 1940. The following year, he was also invited to teach at the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art in Calgary. Walter and Gladys moved to Calgary in the fall of 1941. They had a home built in Banff along St. Julien on Tunnel Mountain in 1953 and he retired to Victoria in 1960.
Philips was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and was a member of the Manitoba Society of Artists, the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour, the Canadian Painters Etchers Society, and the Alberta Society of Artists. He was a member of and exhibited with the Print Makers Society of California, the Society of Arts and Crafts Boston, and the Prairie Print Makers. His work is represented in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Glenbow Museum, Calgary; the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana; the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minnesota; the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California; the Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada; the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; the Wichita Art Museum, Kansas; and the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Canada.

Walter Joseph Phillips died in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada on 5 July 1963.