TABLE OF CONTENTS

Collection Summary

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Organization of the Collection

Index Terms

Administrative Information 

Processing Information

Preferred Citation

Contact Information

Series Level Descriptions

1 - Legers: 1911-1958. 

2 - Photographs: ca. 1911-ca. 1958. 

3 - Newspaper clippings: ca. 1921-ca. 1953. 

4 - Correspondence: 1908-1971. 

5 - Evaluations: 1927-1958 ; 1936-1956 predominant. 

Box List

SERIES 1 - Ledgers 

SERIES 2 - Photographs 

SERIES 3 - Newspaper clippings 

SERIES 4 - Correspondence 

SERIES 5 - Evaluations 

National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives

Watson Art Galleries fonds:

Finding Aid 



Collection Summary

Title: Watson Art Galleries fonds. 
Dates: – 1908-1971 ; 1911-1958 predominant. 
Quantity:  – 39.5 cm of textual records and 2,677 photographs 

Biographical Sketch

William Robinson Watson, Canadian art dealer, was born in Freshfield, England in 1887. He immigrated to Canada in 1905 and three years later acquired the business of Montreal art dealer, John Ogilvy. In 1921 Watson established Watson Art Galleries at St. Catherine and Bishop streets and in 1932 he moved the gallery to 1434 Sherbrooke St. West, where it remained until Watson retired in March 1958. Watson Art Galleries dealt mainly in Dutch, French, and English paintings but were also one of the first art galleries in Canada to promote Canadian art. Watson represented Maurice Cullen (1866-1934), and published a book on the artist in 1931 (Maurice Cullen, R.C.A.: A Record of His Struggle and Achievement, Ryerson Press). He also wrote numerous articles about art for Canadian newspapers and magazines, as well as a short memoir of his life entitled Retrospective: Recollections of a Montreal Art Dealer (published posthumously by the University of Toronto Press in 1974).

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Scope and Content

The first accrual of the fonds comprises five ledgers from Watson Art Galleries (1911-1958) that record sales and inventory (two inventory ledgers include photographs); 844 photographs (including six photo albums) of works by various artists represented at Watson Art Galleries, including works by Horatio Walker (1858-1938 ), Maurice Cullen (1866-1934), Albert H. Robinson (1881-1956), A.Y. Jackson (1882-1974 ), Cornelius Kreighoff (1815-1872), and Emily Carr (1871-1945 ); one scrapbook of newspaper clippings; photocopied duplicates of the newspaper clippings; and correspondence. The second accrual consists of valuations of art works, mainly from Montreal private collections, provided by Watson Art Galleries.

Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of fonds.

Immediate source of acquisition: The first accrual was donated to the National Gallery of Canada by Mrs. W.R. Watson in 1974, and by Claire Watson Fisher, William Watson's daughter, in 1984. The second accrual was donated by Mariitta Maavara, former manager of Continental Galleries, Montreal, in 2012.

Finding aids: Box list available.

Related material: Further photographic material related to Watson Art Galleries, including photographs of European and Canadian paintings sold by Watson and one scrapbook of photographs showing paintings by George Horne Russell (1861-1933) that were exhibited at Watson Art Galleries in 1931 is part of the collection of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Library. Additional photographic material related to Watson Art Galleries can be found in the Notman Collection, McCord Museum, Montreal.

General note: An index to works recorded in Watson Art Galleries ledgers (1911-1958) and the inventory books (1951-1957) for artists F.M. Bell-Smith (1838-1934), William Brymner (1855-1925), William N. Cresswell (1818-1888), Daniel Fowler (1810-1894), Edwin Holgate (1892-1977), A.Y. Jackson (1882-1974), Otto Reinhold Jacobi (1812-1901), James Wilson Morrice (1865-1924), William Raphael (1833-1914), Frederick Arthur Verner (1836-1928), and Adolphe Vogt (1843-1871), compiled by Peter Larisey for Dennis Reid (b. 1943), is available and filed with the collection. Publications donated with the fonds are listed with the finding aid for the fonds and have been added to the NGC's library collection.

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Organization of the Collection

This collection is organized into 5 series.
Series 1 - Ledgers, 1911-1958.
Series 2 - Photographs, ca. 1911-ca. 1958.
Series 3 - Newspaper clippings, ca. 1921-ca. 1953.
Series 4 - Correspondence, 1908-1971.
Series 5 - Valuations, 1927-1958 ; 1936-1956 predominant.

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Index Terms

Names:
Carr, Emily, 1871-1945
Cullen, Maurice, 1866-1934
Jackson, A.Y., 1882-1974
Jacque, Charles Emile, 1813-1894
Krieghoff, Cornelius, 1815-1872
Pilot, Robert, 1898-1967
Robinson, Albert H., 1866-1934
Suzor-Côté, Marc-Aurèle de Foy, 1881-1942
Watson, William R., 1887-1973
Subjects:
Watson Art Galleries
Document Types:
Clippings.
Correspondence.
Ledgers.
Photographs.

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Administrative Information

Processing Information

Second accrual arranged and described by Philip Dombowsky in 2012.

Preferred Citation

[Title of item], Watson Art Galleries fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives.

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Contact Information

Cyndie Campbell
Head, Archives, Documentation and Visual Resources
Library and Archives
National Gallery of Canada
380 Sussex Drive
P.O. Box 427, Station A
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 9N4
 
T 613-990-0597
F 613-990-9818
 
ccampbel@gallery.ca 


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Series Level Descriptions

 

Ledgers. – 1911-1958. – 30 cm of textual records and 1834 photographs. 

Series consists of five ledgers. The ledger dating from 1911-1928 includes sales figures along with artists name, title of work, and date of sale. The ledgers dating from 1928-1956 and 1956-1958 include stock number, artist, title of work, price, purchaser information, date, date paid, and sales taxes. Also included is the sales information for specific exhibitions, including the sales for Cullen's thirteenth and last exhibition. The 1956-1958 ledger provides an inventory number and purchaser information and lists the total sales for each month of every year from 1928-1958. There are two inventory ledgers that include black and white photographs (attached with glue). The ledgers note items that were sold, returned, or exchanged. 
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Arrangement: Ledger 1956-1957 includes a front index that list artists alphabetically.
Language: Text is in English and French.
Finding aids: Box list available.

See Box List for this Series

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Photographs. – ca. 1911-ca. 1958. – 841 photographs. 

Series consists of photographs of works of art by various artists whose work was shown at Watson Art Galleries. Included in the series are two albums, one of early Cullen works, the other of early works by Robert Pilot (1898-1967), and one scrapbook of photographs of paintings by Cullen. The photographs are labelled with titles and purchaser's name, while some include a purchase price. There are photographs of Cullen and Pilot with friends and family, along with pictures of unidentified individuals. There are four albums of mostly unidentified photographs of paintings by Cornelius Krieghoff. One album includes a photograph of a self-portrait by Krieghoff. 
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Language: Text is in English and French.
Finding aids: Box list available.

See Box List for this Series

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Newspaper clippings. – ca. 1921-ca. 1953. – 4.5 cm of textual records. 

Series consists of one scrapbook of newspaper clippings along with photocopies of these. Clippings include various exhibition reviews, as well as reviews for artists such as Krieghoff and Pilot. The series includes newspaper articles written by Watson, including one article on the National Gallery of Canada. There are clippings of articles that were of general interest to Watson, along with a write-up about illustrator and journalist Henri Julien (1852-1908). Invitation cards to exhibitions held at Watson Art Galleries are included, as is a statement of credit, debit, and a list of paintings sold between December 18, 1928 and February 7, 1929. 
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Language: Text is in English and French.
Finding aids: Box list available.

See Box List for this Series

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Correspondence. – 1908-1971. – 1 cm of textual records. 

Series consists of correspondence regarding Watson's invention of a Compass Bearing Finder, correspondence with the Pennsylvania Museum of Art regarding Krieghoff, and correspondence between Watson and anthropologist Marius Barbeau (1883-1969). A handwritten transcript of a conversation between Watson and an unidentified person regarding Cullen and war artists is included, as are various letters, telegrams and postcards from artists, including Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Côté (1881-1942) and Clarence Gagnon (1881-1942). There is also a copy of Cullen's 'secret code' alphabet for communication. 
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Language: Text is in English and French.
Finding aids: Box list available.

See Box List for this Series

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Valuations. – 1927-1958 ; 1936-1956 predominant. – 4 cm of textual records and 2 photographs. 

Series consists of valuations of mainly British, Canadian, and European art works from Montreal private collections. Most of the valuations are signed by William Watson and include the names and addresses of owners, artist names, titles of artworks, and monetary values. Also part of the series is a certificate of authenticity for a painting entitled La Bergere by the French artist Charles Emile Jacque (1813-1894), written and signed by William Watson; an undated list of paintings privately owned by Watson and kept at his residence at 482 Strathcona Avenue, Westmount; and an invitation to the closing sale of Watson Art Galleries (1958), with a note on the verso from Watson to Vilma Shima, owner of Continental Galleries of Fine Art, Montreal. 
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Language: Text is in English and French.
Finding aids: Box list available.

See Box List for this Series

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Detailed Description of the Collection


Box List

Series 1 - Ledgers 

Box Folder
Box 1 Ledger of sales 1911-1928
Ledger of sales 1928-1956
Box Folder
Box 2 Inventory ledger 1951 *note: ledger contains 685 photographs
Box Folder
Box 3 Inventory ledger 1956-1958 *note: ledger contains 1149 photographs
Box Folder
Box 4 Ledger of sales 1956-1958

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Series 2 - Photographs 

Box Folder
Box 5 File 1 Photographs of works by Horatio Walker *note: file contains 2 photographs
File 2 Photographs of works by Maurice Cullen *note: file contains 2 photographs
File 3 Photographs of works by A. Robinson *note: file contains 2 photographs
File 4 Photographs of works by A.Y. Jackson *note: file contains 3 photographs
File 5 Photographs of works by Emily Carr *note: file contains 1 photograph
File 6 Photographs of works by Cornelius Krieghoff *note: file contains 2 photographs
File 7 Photographs of works by Cornelius Krieghoff *note: file contains 103 photographs; includes a photograph of a Krieghoff self-portrait
Box Folder
Box 6 Photograph album of early Robert Pilot paintings *note: album contains 48 photographs
Photograph album of Maurice Cullen paintings *note: album contains 96 photographs
Box Folder
Box 7 Four photograph albums of Cornelius Krieghoff paintings *note: albums contain 240 photographs
Box Folder
Box 8 File 1 Photographs of paintings and sculpture by various artists, vol. 1 *note: file contains 83 photographs
File 2 Photographs of paintings and sculpture by various artists, vol. 2 *note: file contains 77 photographs
File 3 Photographs of Maurice Cullen, Robert Pilot, and other artists *note: file contains 37 photographs
File 4 Photographs of paintings by Robert Pilot *note: file contains 24 photographs
File 5 Photographs of paintings by Cullen and Pilot and photographs of Cullen and Pilot *note: file contains 42 photographs
File 6 Photographs of paintings by Maurice Cullen sold by Watson Art Galleries *note: file contains 34 photographs
Box Folder
Box 9 Scrapbook containing one photograph of Cullen and 47 photographs of paintings by Cullen

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Series 3 - Newspaper clippings 

Box Folder
Box 9 Scrapbook of loose newspaper clippings
File 1 Newspaper clippings (photocopies)

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Series 4 - Correspondence 

Box Folder
Box 9 File 2 Correspondence

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Series 5 - Evaluations 

Box Folder
Box 10 File 1 Valuations - A miscellaneous
File 2 Valuations - B miscellaneous
File 3 Valuations - C miscellaneous
File 4 Valuations - D miscellaneous
File 5 Valuations - F miscellaneous
File 6 Valuations - G miscellaneous
File 7 Valuations - H miscellaneous
File 8 Valuations - J miscellaneous
File 9 Valuations - L miscellaneous
File 10 Valuations - M miscellaneous
File 11 Valuations - N miscellaneous
File 12 Valuations - O miscellaneous
File 13 Valuations - P miscellaneous
File 14 Valuations - R miscellaneous
File 15 Valuations - S miscellaneous
File 16 Valuations - T miscellaneous
File 17 Valuations - U miscellaneous
File 18 Valuations - V miscellaneous
File 19 Valuations - W miscellaneous
File 20 Miscellaneous *note: file includes 1 certificate of authenticity, a list of paintings owned by William Watson, and a closing advertisement for Watson Art Galleries

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