Waterhouse @ Montreal museum of fine arts

Yesterday evening, I went to see the John William Waterhouse exhibition at the Montreal Museum of fine arts. (It’s half-price on wednesday.;) )

For thoses who don’t live in Montreal, it’s the most well-known and very probably biggest art museum in the city. (I’m not sure which one, either the Fine art or contemporary museum is bigger, does anyone know?) In the last years, they had some “popular” exhibitions such as Disney (Yes, disney!) and Yoko Ono.

It reminded me how much I miss going to the museum and how it is important for an illustrator to learn from theses masters. It is really amazing to being able to see one’s lifetime work in one single place at the same time. You can see the differences between years and how it influenced it’s technique.

Waterhouse had some very strong drawing skills. It was fun to see his famous masterpieces and I loved his sketches as much, if not more. There is so much you can learn from them just by looking.

I really love mermaids, so it’s just normal that I love this painting from Waterhouse. Surprisely, it isn’t one of his biggest sized work (It could fit nicely in a small living room.) but it took him years to finish. And, now, it’s one of his most well-known piece.

Sure, you can take a look on the web or books to see his work, but seing it “live” cannot be compared. You realize how much work have been done how much time it must have took him.

One of my friend, who was at the museum with me, told me: “When you think about it, they had NO electricity during this time.” So that meant he probably couldn’t paint during the evening.
He really had to take the most of his day time and be well-organised. I certainly could have learn a few tricks from him.

Sadly, JWW didn’t leave too much letters behind him when he died. Which explains why we hardly know anything about his private life. Because of this, historians cannot explain in certaity why he chose to paint mostly womens. Sure, it had to do with the upcoming feminist in Great Britain during that time, but there certainly was more to it… but we’ll never know.

Perhaps he was aware of his private life in a time people didn’t mind about it. Certainly a precursor, Mr. Waterhouse!

+ Here are some links of interest about JWW+

JW Waterhouse website
JWW: Comprehensive galleries of John William Waterhouse paintings website
JWW on Wikipedia

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2 Responses to “Waterhouse @ Montreal museum of fine arts”


  1. 1 meansoybean January 25, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    I have a feeling the fine arts museum is bigger. Just a feeling, though. I saw the Yoko/Lennon exhibit, it was really neat!

    Thanks for the tip about Waterhouse, I’ve been hankering for some museum hopping lately. I’m going to see the Bodies exhibit at the Eaton Centre next week. Not a museum, for sure, but should be interesting to say the least.

  2. 2 Fanie January 26, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Oh, I really wished I had seen the Yoko/John exhibit! I heard that Yoko had an installation there where she’d call, once a day, and speak with one of the visitor. There are so many exhibition I missed during the last year because of weak time management. :p

    The Waterhouse exhibit is so interesting. I strongly recommend it to you. 🙂


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Art vs Craft.net is the blog where arts & crafts are no longer fighting!
It's about illustration, crafts & related events.

My name is Fanie and I’m a Montreal based illustrator & graphic designer. You may know me from drawing The Crafty Life comic in CLM. I ♥ comics, vegan food & ghost stories.

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