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Other Name
JAPANESE "KABEKAKE"
Date Range From
1980
Date Range To
1990
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
WOOD
Catalogue Number
P19970041097
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
JAPANESE "KABEKAKE"
Date Range From
1980
Date Range To
1990
Materials
WOOD
No. Pieces
1
Height
0.7
Length
38.2
Width
5.7
Description
WOODEN PLAQUE HAS NATURAL FINISH AND IS RECTANGULAR IN SHAPE WITH BOTTOM RIGHT CORNER CUT AWAY. PLAQUE HAD BLACK PAINTED JAPANESE CHARACTERS DOWN LENGTH. AT BOTTOM IS CIRCULAR RED STAMP.
Subjects
ART
Historical Association
FINE ARTS
History
WALL HANGING HUNG IN THE NAKAYAMA HOME IN VANCOUVER AFTER REV. NAKAYAMA RETURNED THERE IN 1980. THE NAKAYAMA FAMILY WERE ORIGINALLY FROM VANCOUVER AND WERE INTERNED IN SLOCAN CITY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR. FOLLOWING THE WAR THE NAKAYAMA FAMILY MOVED TO COALDALE, ALBERTA. AT COALDALE REV NAKAYAMA FOUNDED THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF THE ASCENSION WHERE HE WAS RECTOR FROM 1945 TO 1970. SEE RECORD P19970041001 FOR EXPANDED BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION AND PERMANENT FILE FOR FURTHER HISTORY. *UPDATE* IN 2015 COLLECTIONS ASSISTANT JANE EDMUNDSON CONDUCTED A SURVEY OF ART OBJECTS. NO NEW INFORMATION ABOUT THIS ARTIFACT WAS FOUND. THE JAPANESE WORD "KABEKAKE" TRANSLATES AS "ORNAMENT".
Catalogue Number
P19970041097
Acquisition Date
1997-01
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Other Name
JAPANESE PAINTING
Date Range From
1970
Date Range To
1980
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
PAPER
Catalogue Number
P19970041090
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
JAPANESE PAINTING
Date Range From
1970
Date Range To
1980
Materials
PAPER
No. Pieces
1
Height
0.2
Length
40.8
Width
31.7
Description
RECTANGULAR HEAVY CARDBOARD BACKING WITH JAPANESE ART WORK ON IT. BACKGROUND IS MIXTURE OF FLOWING PASTEL COLORS. MIDDLE IS TWO SHEETS OF PAPER WITH THREE HAND PAINTED FLOWERS IN BLACK INK. TWO SQUARE RED STAMP MARKS ARE ALSO ON PAPER. GOLD COLORED EDGING. BACK IS COVERED WITH SILVER PAINT SPLATTERS.
Subjects
ART
Historical Association
FINE ARTS
History
ART WORK WAS DONE BY KANEKO JOHKOH, COUSIN OF REV. G.G. NAKAYAMA, AND WAS GIVEN TO REV. NAKAYAMA AS A GIFT. THE NAKAYAMA FAMILY WERE ORIGINALLY FROM VANCOUVER AND WERE INTERNED IN SLOCAN CITY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR. FOLLOWING THE WAR THE NAKAYAMA FAMILY MOVED TO COALDALE, ALBERTA. AT COALDALE REV NAKAYAMA FOUNDED THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF THE ASCENSION WHERE HE WAS RECTOR FROM 1945 TO 1970. SEE RECORD P19970041001 FOR EXPANDED BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION AND PERMANENT FILE FOR FURTHER HISTORY. *UPDATE* IN 2015 COLLECTIONS ASSISTANT JANE EDMUNDSON CONDUCTED A SURVEY OF ART OBJECTS. THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION ON THE ARTIST, KANEKO JOHKOH WAS FOUND ON HER WEBSITE, ARTISSPECTRUM.COM, AND THE BLOG OF THE AGORA ART GALLERY, NEW YORK. KANEKO JOHKOH WAS BORN IN OZU, JAPAN IN 1923. SHE BEGAN OIL PAINTING AT THE AGE OF 38, AND FIRST USED THE TECHNIQUE OF BOKUSHO, ABSTRACT CALLIGRAPHIC INK PAINTING, IN 1983. SIMPLICITY AND ZEN CALMNESS ARE FUNDAMENTAL TO HER COMPOSITIONS. SHE RARELY PLANS HER PAINTINGS, WORKING QUICKLY ON SPONTENAIETY AND IMPULSE. IN 1988 JOHKOH MOVED TO VANCOUVER. HER WORK HAS BEEN EXHIBITED ACROSS CANADA AND INTERNATIONALLY IN PARIS, TOKYO, AND NEW YORK. KANEKO JOHKOH IS THE FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED OF THE DONOR, JOY KOGAWA. A POEM BY THE ARTIST, POSTED ON HER WEBSITE IN AUGUST 2012, IS LISTED AS BEING TRANSLATED BY KOGAWA. REV. NAKAYAMA AND HIS WIFE LOIS MOVED BACK TO VANCOUVER IN 1979 AFTER HIS RETIREMENT FROM THE CHURCH OF THE ASCENSION IN COALDALE. IT IS LIKELY THAT THIS ARTWORK CAME INTO THE NAKAYAMA'S POSSESSION DURING THIS LATER PERIOD OF THEIR LIVES, AS BOTH THEY AND JOHKOH WOULD HAVE BEEN LIVING IN VANCOUVER IN THE LATE 1980S. SEE PERMANENT FILE FOR HARDCOPIES OF ONLINE SOURCES.
Catalogue Number
P19970041090
Acquisition Date
1997-01
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Other Name
JAPANESE PAINTING
Date Range From
1970
Date Range To
1980
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
PAPER
Catalogue Number
P19970041094
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
JAPANESE PAINTING
Date Range From
1970
Date Range To
1980
Materials
PAPER
No. Pieces
1
Height
0.2
Length
36.2
Width
7.6
Description
RECTANGULAR HEAVY CARDBOARD BACKING WITH JAPANESE ART WORK ON IT. BACKGROUND IS WHITE FIBROUS PAPER WITH GOLD COLORED EDGING. TOP HALF OF AREA IS FILLED WITH THREE LINES OF JAPANESE CHARACTERS DESCENDING FROM RIGHT TO LEFT. IN BOTTOM HALF IS UNIDENTIFIED EMBLEM WHICH IS BLACK, BROWN AND PURPLE. IN BOTTOM LEFT CORNER ARE TWO JAPANESE CHARACTERS WITH SQUARE RED SYMBOL. ON BACK AT TOP RIGHT IS LINE OF HAND PRINTED JAPANESE CHARACTERS IN PENCIL.
Subjects
ART
Historical Association
FINE ARTS
History
ART WORK WAS DONE BY KANEKO JOHKOH, COUSING OF REV. G.G. NAKAYAMA, AND WAS GIVEN TO REV. NAKAYAMA AS A GIFT. THE NAKAYAMA FAMILY WERE ORIGINALLY FROM VANCOUVER AND WERE INTERNED IN SLOCAN CITY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR. FOLLOWING THE WAR THE NAKAYAMA FAMILY MOVED TO COALDALE, ALBERTA. AT COALDALE REV NAKAYAMA FOUNDED THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF THE ASCENSION WHERE HE WAS RECTOR FROM 1945 TO 1970. SEE RECORD P19970041001 FOR EXPANDED BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION AND PERMANENT FILE FOR FURTHER HISTORY. *UPDATE* IN 2015 COLLECTIONS ASSISTANT JANE EDMUNDSON CONDUCTED A SURVEY OF ART OBJECTS. THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION ON THE ARTIST, KANEKO JOHKOH WAS FOUND ON HER WEBSITE, ARTISSPECTRUM.COM, AND THE BLOG OF THE AGORA ART GALLERY, NEW YORK. KANEKO JOHKOH WAS BORN IN OZU, JAPAN IN 1923. SHE BEGAN OIL PAINTING AT THE AGE OF 38, AND FIRST USED THE TECHNIQUE OF BOKUSHO, ABSTRACT CALLIGRAPHIC INK PAINTING, IN 1983. SIMPLICITY AND ZEN CALMNESS ARE FUNDAMENTAL TO HER COMPOSITIONS. SHE RARELY PLANS HER PAINTINGS, WORKING QUICKLY ON SPONTENAIETY AND IMPULSE. IN 1988 JOHKOH MOVED TO VANCOUVER. HER WORK HAS BEEN EXHIBITED ACROSS CANADA AND INTERNATIONALLY IN PARIS, TOKYO, AND NEW YORK. KANEKO JOHKOH IS THE FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED OF THE DONOR, JOY KOGAWA. A POEM BY THE ARTIST, POSTED ON HER WEBSITE IN AUGUST 2012, IS LISTED AS BEING TRANSLATED BY KOGAWA. REV. NAKAYAMA AND HIS WIFE LOIS MOVED BACK TO VANCOUVER IN 1979 AFTER HIS RETIREMENT FROM THE CHURCH OF THE ASCENSION IN COALDALE. IT IS LIKELY THAT THIS ARTWORK CAME INTO THE NAKAYAMA'S POSSESSION DURING THIS LATER PERIOD OF THEIR LIVES, AS BOTH THEY AND JOHKOH WOULD HAVE BEEN LIVING IN VANCOUVER IN THE LATE 1980S. SEE PERMANENT FILE FOR HARDCOPIES OF ONLINE SOURCES.
Catalogue Number
P19970041094
Acquisition Date
1997-01
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Other Name
JAPANESE "KABEKAKE"
Date Range From
1970
Date Range To
1980
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
WOOD
Catalogue Number
P19970041096
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
JAPANESE "KABEKAKE"
Date Range From
1970
Date Range To
1980
Materials
WOOD
No. Pieces
1
Height
1
Length
60
Width
8.6
Description
WOODEN PLAQUE HAS NATURAL FINISH AND SHAPE WITH WHITE HAND DRAWN JAPANESE CHARACTERS PAINTED DOWN ITS LENGTH. ON BACK ARE TWO PAPER LABELS, ONE WITH JAPANESE WRITING ON IT AND THE OTHER WITH ENGLISH. ENGLISH TEXT READS "WHEN THIS HANGS IN YOUR ROOM MAY IT FILL YOUR HEART WITH THE REAL ATMOSPHERE OF JAPAN AND BRING JOY TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS."
Subjects
ART
Historical Association
FINE ARTS
History
WALL HANGING HUNG IN THE NAKAYAMA HOME IN COALDALE, LIKELY GIVEN TO THE REV. G.G. NAKAYAMA AS A GIFT. THE NAKAYAMA FAMILY WERE ORIGINALLY FROM VANCOUVER AND WERE INTERNED IN SLOCAN CITY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR. FOLLOWING THE WAR THE NAKAYAMA FAMILY MOVED TO COALDALE, ALBERTA. AT COALDALE REV NAKAYAMA FOUNDED THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF THE ASCENSION WHERE HE WAS RECTOR FROM 1945 TO 1970. SEE RECORD P19970041001 FOR EXPANDED BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION AND PERMANENT FILE FOR FURTHER HISTORY. *UPDATE* IN 2015 COLLECTIONS ASSISTANT JANE EDMUNDSON CONDUCTED A SURVEY OF ART OBJECTS. NO NEW INFORMATION ABOUT THIS ARTIFACT WAS FOUND. THE JAPANESE WORD "KABEKAKE" TRANSLATES AS "ORNAMENT".
Catalogue Number
P19970041096
Acquisition Date
1997-01
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Other Name
N.T. (GAILLARDIA)
Date Range From
1975
Date Range To
1985
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
PAPER, WATERCOLOUR, GRAPHITE
Catalogue Number
P20110018002
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
N.T. (GAILLARDIA)
Date Range From
1975
Date Range To
1985
Materials
PAPER, WATERCOLOUR, GRAPHITE
No. Pieces
1
Height
31
Length
0.1
Width
23.3
Description
WATERCOLOUR AND GRAPHITE ON PAPER. SIGNED BY THE ARTIST "JESSE URSENBACH", NO DATE. DEPICTION OF THREE SUNFLOWERS AND TWO LEAVES. GRAPHITE DRAWING VISIBLE THROUGH PAINT. BACK HAS MASKING TAPE AROUND EDGES. TEXT READS, "WJ27 BROWN EYED SUSAN 10.00, (GAILLARDIA)". SLIGHT ACID BITE AROUND EDGES OF WORK FROM PREVIOUS MATTING.
Subjects
ART
Historical Association
FINE ARTS
History
DONOR RUTH DAW ACQUIRED THE TWO DONATED WATERCOLOUR PAINTINGS IN THE EARLY 1980S FROM THE “HOUSE OF FINE ART” LOCATED AT 409 - 5TH STREET SOUTH. THREE UNFRAMED URSEBACHS WERE ORIGINALLY ACQUIRED FROM THE STORE, THE DONATED TWO GIVEN BY DAW TO HER A DAUGHTER WHO LATER RETURNED THEM ON ACCOUNT OF RE-LOCATING TO AUSTRALIA. A SECOND DAUGHTER IS IN POSSESSION OF THE THIRD URSENBACH WORK “HENDERSON LAKE, 1947”. THE THREE PAINTINGS ORIGINALLY COST DAW ABOUT $40 TO $80. DAW SPECULATES THAT URSENBACH WAS SELLING WORK BECAUSE SHE WAS DOWNSIZING TO A SMALLER HOUSE. AT THE TIME OF DONATION DONOR SAID, “[THEY WERE] SHOWN IN [MY] HOME, HAD THEM IN MY BEDROOM. [I] PICKED THEM OUT BECAUSE SHE (URSENBACH) WAS GOOD AT FLOWER PAINTINGS.” IN PREVIOUS DONATIONS, THE DONOR GAVE WORKS WHICH FEATURED HISTORIC LETHBRIDGE AS THEIR SUBJECT. DONOR SAID “I COLLECTED FLOWER PAINTINGS [BECAUSE] I LOVE THE FAMILIARITY OF THE WORK [AND I] ALSO HAVE A CERAMIC COLLECTION OF PRAIRIE PICTURES FROM SASKATCHEWAN.” THE DONOR WAS FRIENDS WITH JESSIE URSENBACH’S DAUGHTER MARILYN KRAMMER. DAW DESCRIBES JESSIE URSENBACH AS, “A SHORT LADY, QUITE REGAL LOOKING. SHE IS ONE OF THE PILLARS OF THE LOCAL MORMON CHURCH. URSENBACH PAINTED WHAT SHE HAD OUT OF HER GARDEN.” DAW WAS FROM MEDICINE HAT WHERE SHE WAS WORKING ON THE HISTORY OF THE BRITISH WALK REFUGEES IN SOUTHERN ALBERTA. DAW’S FATHER HAD PASSED AWAY AND SO SHE AND HER BROTHER WORKED THEIR WAY THROUGH UNIVERSITY. SHE TAUGHT AT HAMILTON JR. HIGH IN THE 1950S. DAW WAS A COUNCILOR, ENGLISH TEACHER, SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHER, PHYSICAL EDUCATION TEACHER AND WORKED WITH SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS. SHE ACQUIRED HER MA IN 1977 AND LEFT HAMILTON FOR A BRIEF PERIOD TO HAVE CHILDREN. DAW BEGAN COLLECTING ART, “WHEN I HAD SOME SPARE MONEY” AROUND THE 1980S. THESE PAINTINGS MARK THE BEGINNING OF RUTH’S ART COLLECTION. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE SEE PERMANENT FILE. *UPDATE* IN 2014 COLLECTIONS ASSISTANT JANE EDMUNDSON CONDUCTED A SURVEY OF ART OBJECTS. THE FOLLOWING BIOGRAPHY OF JESSIE REDD URSENBACH WAS SOURCED FROM THE RECORDS OF PREVIOUS DONATIONS OF URSENBACH'S WORK BY THE DONOR, RUTH DAW. JESSIE REDD URSENBACH WAS BORN IN NEW HARMONY, UTAH ON AUGUST 15, 1895, TO WILLIAM AND VERENA BRYNER REDD. URSENBACH WAS RAISED AND EDUCATED IN RAYMOND, GRADUATING FROM THE KNIGHT ACADEMY IN 1912. SHE ATTENDED SUMMER SESSIONS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA & THE ALBERTA NORMAL SCHOOL IN CALGARY, AND TAUGHT ART IN SCHOOLS IN RAYMOND, CARDSTON, AND GLENWOOD. SHE WAS A CHARTER MEMBER OF THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB & HANDLED CLUB PUBLICITY FOR MANY YEARS. URSENBACH ATTENDED THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS IN THE SUMMER OF 1937 ON A SCHOLARSHIP, AND CONTINUED PAINTING PROLIFICALLY FOR THE NEXT 11 YEARS UNDER THE DIRECTION OF PROFESSOR H.G. GLYDE. URSENBACH ALSO RECEIVED ART TRAINING UNDER A.Y. JACKSON (GROUP OF SEVEN ARTIST), AND STUDIED AT THE ONTARIO COLLEGE OF ART IN TORONTO, STUDYING MODERN ART UNDER RODY COURTICES (THOUGH SHE PREFFERED THE MORE TRADITIONAL STYLES OF LANDSCAPE AND STILL LIFE). URSENBACH WAS AFFILIATED WITH THE CANADIAN FEDERATION OF ARTISTS UNDER WHICH SHE EXHIBITED FROM COAST TO COAST, INCLUDING IN NEW YORK CITY AND CALIFORNIA. SHE TUTORED A LARGE CLASS OF PRIVATE PUPILS IN LETHBRIDGE FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS UNTIL SHE BEGAN THE VOCATION OF MATRON AT THE LATTER DAY SAINTS TEMPLE IN CARDSTON. JESSIE URSENBACH DIED ON MAY 11, 1987. THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB HELD THEIR FIRST MEETING AT THE HOME OF MISS ANNA MACKENZIE ON OCTOBER 7, 1936. EDITH FANNY KIRK WAS THE FIRST ART TEACHER IN LETHBRIDGE. SHE CAME FROM BRITAIN WITH CLASSICAL TRAINING AND IT WAS KIRK WHO SET THE STAGE FOR THE SKETCH CLUB TO COME INTO BEING. THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS ALSO PLAYED A ROLE IN THE FORMATION BY PROVIDING RECOGNITION OF ARTISTIC MERIT THROUGH DISTRICT SCHOLARSHIPS. ANNA MACKENZIE AND P.J. COLLINS CONCEIVED OF THE CLUB AFTER THEIR EXPERIENCE IN BANFF. THE GROUP WAS FORMED OUT OF AN ENTHUSIASTIC INTEREST IN ART AND SOON AFTER THE GROUP BEGAN MEETING, THERE WERE REGULAR EXHIBITIONS. THE GROUP WAS PRIVY TO THE ATTENTION OF GROUP OF SEVEN ARTIST A.Y.JACKSON WHEN HE MADE HIS FREQUENT SKETCHING TRIPS TO SOUTHERN ALBERTA. HE REGULARLY ACCOMPANIED THE SKETCH CLUB AND HIS INFLUENCE CAN BE SEEN IN MUCH OF THEIR WORK. ANOTHER GUEST OF THE GROUP WAS ANNORA BROWN WHO WAS AN ARTIST WHO HAD TRAINED IN TORONTO, BUT RESIDED IN FORT MACLEOD AND BEGAN SPENDING TIME WITH THE GROUP IN 1939. HER INTEREST IN FLOWER STUDIES IS SUSPECTED TO HAVE INSPIRED MANY OF THE WORKS BY CLUB MEMBERS. DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS, THE GROUP ORGANIZED SUMMER CLASSES TAUGHT BY OUT OF TOWN ARTISTS SUCH AS: H.G.GLYDE, WALTER J. PHILIPS AND A.C. LEIGHTON. ACCORDING TO A HISTORY OF THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB WRITTEN BY JOAN STEBBINS IN JUNE, 1985, “THE PAINTINGS OF THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB PORTRAY FAVOURITE SKETCHING AREAS IN THE REGION – THE COULEES PROVIDED ENDLESS MATERIAL, THE RIVERBOTTOM, THE OLD R.C.M.P. BARRACKS, THE WHITNEY FARM, HENDERSON LAKE, THE FELGER HUTTERITE COLONY, THE FOOTHILLS AND WATERTON LAKE WERE OFTEN REPEATED SUBJECTS.” *UPDATE* IN 2018, COLLECTIONS INTERN KIRSTAN SCHAMUHN CONDUCTED A SURVEY OF PERSONAL ARTIFACTS. ON 26 NOVEMBER 2018, SCHAMUHN INTERVIEWED RUTH DAW REGARDING HER PRIOR DONATIONS. THE INFORMATION BELOW HAS BEEN EXTRACTED FROM THAT INTERVIEW: ON HER COLLECTION OF JESSIE URSENBACH PAINTINGS, DAW RECOUNTED: “I COLLECTED THEM. SHE HAD A DISPERSED SALE, AND I LIKED THEM AND I PICKED THEM UP—I LIKE THE FLOWERS VERY MUCH AND ENJOYED THEM MANY, MANY YEARS AND THE TIME [HAD] COME TO SEND THEM OFF SO I SENT THEM TO THE MUSEUM. I KNEW THEY WERE COLLECTING SOME OF HER STUFF.” “I MUST HAVE PICKED THEM…PROBABLY IN THE ‘70S AND ‘60S. SHE DID HAVE A SHOW AND SALE, IT WAS MAYBE THE SKETCH CLUB’S, SO THAT’S WHY I PICKED THESE UP.” WHEN ASKED ABOUT WHY SHE CHOSE TO COLLECT URSENBACH PAINTINGS, DAW RESPONDED, “I WAS ATTRACTED TO [THE] FLOWER PICTURES AND TO THE HISTORIC ASPECT OF THEM. I WAS INTERESTED IN HISTORIC LETHBRIDGE.” “AT THAT PARTICULAR TIME, SHE WAS QUITE WELL-KNOWN AND I REALLY LOVED HER FLOWER PICTURES; THEY’RE REALLY SPECTACULAR.” WHEN ASKED ABOUT HER RELATIONSHIP WITH URSENBACH, DAW RECALLED, “I HAVE MET HER [URSENBACH]. I WORKED IN THE HOME AND SCHOOLS WITH HER DAUGHTER QUITE A BIT. HER DAUGHTER WAS A FRIEND OF MINE SO I WORKED QUITE A BIT WITH HER IN RELATION TO HOME AND SCHOOL [ASSOCIATIONS]. AND I WORKED WITH THEM, TOO, WHEN I WAS OUT WITH MY OWN KIDS AND [WE] GOT ALONG JUST FINE. SHE WAS FINE, SHE WAS A VERY ENTHUSIASTIC PERSON. VERY CRAFTY, VERY MUCH AN ARTIST’S DAUGHTER.” WHEN ASKED ABOUT HER INTEREST AND INVOLVEMENT WITH THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB, DAW ELABORATED, “IT WAS PROBABLY THE 1970S. THAT WAS WHEN I WENT BACK TO WORK AND WE HAD A NEWER HOUSE. WE MOVED TO A BIGGER HOUSE, AND THAT WAS PROBABLY WHERE I GOT THE PICTURES, FOR THAT.” “WE [RUTH AND CLIFF DAW] WEREN’T ACTUALLY INVOLVED WITH THEM. WE WERE APPRECIATORS.” “WE LIKED THE ART. MY HUSBAND [CLIFF DAW] WAS AWARE OF THE GOOD ARTISTS THAT WERE AVAILABLE. MY FAMILY HAD NEVER SPENT ANY MONEY ON ANYTHING LIKE THAT AT ALL, SO I BECAME AWARE OF IT AND SINCE WE WERE [IN A] NEW HOUSE WE WERE HAVING DIFFERENT SORTS OF THINGS. EVERYTHING WAS NEW AND EVERYTHING WAS AVAILABLE SO WE JUST WENT WITH THE FLOW.” PLEASE SEE PERMANENT FILE P20110018001 FOR MORE INFORMATION INCLUDING THE FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION AND COPIES OF ARTICLES REGARDING THE FAMILY HISTORY.
Catalogue Number
P20110018002
Acquisition Date
2011-06
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Other Name
"OLD HOMESTEAD"
Date Range From
1980
Date Range To
1989
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
PAPER, CHARCOAL, PENCIL
Catalogue Number
P20200016004
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
"OLD HOMESTEAD"
Date Range From
1980
Date Range To
1989
Materials
PAPER, CHARCOAL, PENCIL
No. Pieces
1
Length
30.5
Width
40.7
Description
BLACK AND WHITE LANDSCAPE DRAWING, THE FOREGROUND FILLED WITH A BARBED WIRE FENCE, A ROAD LEADING INTO THE BACKGROUND WHERE A SMALL HOUSE STANDS NEXT TO A TREE. UNSIGNED AND UN-DATED, BUT TITLED IN THE BOTTOM RIGHT CORNER “OLD HOMESTEAD”. TEN PINHOLES IN TOP RIGHT CORNER, SEVEN PINHOLES IN TOP LEFT, AND ONE IN BOTTOM LEFT CORNER. SLIGHTEST SMUDGING ON BACK OF PAPER.
Subjects
ART
Historical Association
FINE ARTS
History
ON OCTOBER 8, 2020, COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN INTERVIEWED LYLE PENNINGTON REGARDING ANY MEMORIES OF HIS UNCLE “MIKE” MICHAEL PISKO (1913-1999), ABOUT THE DONATED DRAWINGS AND ART MATERIALS. ON SEEING HIS UNCLE PAINT, LYLE RECALLS, “WELL, I CAN REMEMBER MY UNCLE USING THIS WOODEN [EASEL] (P20200016007) BECAUSE WHEN I WAS ABOUT SIX YEARS OLD, HE SET THIS WOODEN EASEL UP. HE WAS BABYSITTING ME THAT ONE DAY...I WAS YOUNG AND HE SET THIS STAND UP AND HE SAID, 'WE’RE GOING TO PAINT A PAINTING TOGETHER.' HE GOT A PALETTE OUT AND HE PUT ALL THESE OIL PAINTS ON AND SHOWED ME HOW TO PUT THEM ALL ON AND THEN GOT THIS KNIFE THING OUT, IT’S A PALETTE KNIFE- IT WAS A FAIRLY BIG ONE AND IT WAS A FAIRLY BIG…PAINTING. IT WAS MAYBE 2 FEET WIDE AND 3 FEET HIGH AND I ASKED HIM WHAT HE WAS GOING TO PAINT AND HE SAID, 'I DON’T KNOW'. THEN HE STARTED SHOWING ME HOW TO MIX THE PAINTS AND PUTTING THEM ON, HE JUST SLOPPED THEM ON AND I KEPT ASKING, 'WHAT IS IT?' AND HE SAYS, 'I HAVEN’T DECIDED.' AND THERE WAS GREENS AND REDS AND YELLOWS. AND I'M WAITING AND WAITING AND I KEPT ASKING WHAT HE WAS PAINTING AND I COULDN’T MAKE HEAD OR TAILS OF IT BECAUSE HE DIDN’T START ANYWHERE. HE WAS PUTTING IT EVERYWHERE AND THEN FINALLY, JUST IN ONE MAGIC STROKE, THERE WAS A WHOLE BOUQUET OF FLOWERS AND I WAS SHOCKED. AND I SAID, 'UNCLE MIKE, THEY’RE FLOWERS.' AND THEN HE CONTINUED ON AND THEN HE SAYS, 'WHAT DO YOU THINK?' AND I SAYS, 'THEY LOOK REAL.' THEN HE SAYS, 'YEAH, I THINK THIS ONE’S GOOD.' AND THEN HE SHOWED ME HOW TO SIGN THE PAINTING- HE TOOK SOME RED PAINT AND THEN HE THINNED IT WITH SOME TURPENTINE AND HE TOOK THIS LITTLE TINY BRUSH AND HE ROLLED IT IN THE RED PAINT AND THEN HE SIGNED HIS NAME ON THE BOTTOM LEFTSIDE…I REMEMBER IT VIVIDLY BECAUSE I COULDN’T BELIEVE THE PAINTING SUDDENLY IN ONE STROKE MADE SENSE, IT WAS LIKE MAGIC. HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS PAINTING BUT I DIDN'T. I HAD NO CLUE. HE JUST GRINNED AT ME WHEN I SAID, 'IT’S FLOWERS.' YEAH, IT WAS A WHOLE BOUQUET OF FLOWERS IN A VASE.” “THAT WAS THE ONE TIME THAT I GOT TO SEE HIM ACTUALLY PAINT A PAINTING. THAT WAS THE ONLY PAINTING I SAW HIM PAINT. I DON’T THINK MANY OTHERS SAW HIM PAINT THE MANY PAINTINGS THAT HE DID. HE DID IT SORT OF PRIVATELY I THINK. I DON’T THINK MY DAD EVER SAW HIM PAINT A PAINTING. BUT HE DID COME OVER ONE TIME – WE HAD A DOOR - IT WAS A METAL DOOR LIKE A SCREEN DOOR AND IT HAD A PHEASANT ON IT AND ALL THE PAINT HAD COME OFF. HE CAME OVER AND REPAINTED THAT PHEASANT. HE PAINTED IT FREEHAND AND IT LOOKED REAL. IT WAS AMAZING. THE ONLY OTHER TIME HE CAME OVER WAS TO HELP PAINT OUR HOUSE, AND HE COULD PAINT WITH A BRUSH FASTER THAN A PERSON COULD PAINT WITH A ROLLER AND IT WAS PERFECT. THOSE ARE THE TIMES I SAW HIM ACTUALLY PAINTING OTHER THAN WHEN I WENT TO HIS SHOP.” ACCORDING TO A LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLE, DATED OCTOBER 6, 1996, BEFORE MICHAEL FINISHED HIGH SCHOOL HE HAD BEGUN WORKING PART-TIME FOR ROBERT BARROWMAN, AN EARLY CITY MAYOR AND OWNER OF CITY SIGN WORKS. 15 YEARS LATER WHEN BARROWMEN SOLD THE COMPANY, MICHAEL AND HIS FELLOW EMPLOYEE NIGEL HILL BOUGHT THE BUSINESS AND RENAMED IT CITY SIGN CO. THIS BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP LASTED UNTIL 1970. ON HIS TIME AT CITY SIGN CO. WITH HIS UNCLE, LYLE ADDED, “…I’D GO IN EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE JUST TO VISIT AND I REMEMBER CARS COMING IN AND HE WOULD DRAW WHATEVER THEY WANTED. THEN HE WOULD TAKE THIS – IT LOOKED LIKE A PIZZA CUTTER WITH A WHEEL ON IT AND HE WOULD RUN IT ALONG THE LINES AND PUNCH LITTLE HOLES IN IT. HE WOULD TAPE THE LOGO ON TO THE CAR, A BRAND NEW CAR OR TRUCK OR WHATEVER. AND THEN HE WOULD PUT CHALK ON IT AND PULL THAT PAPER OFF. THEN HE WOULD PAINT THE LOGO OR SIGN FREE HAND WITH A BRUSH AND OIL PAINTS. AND IT WAS AS GOOD AS ANY SIGN YOU SEE TODAY MADE WITH A MACHINE. YEAH, IT WAS ASTONISHING.” “AND THE ONE DAY WHEN I WAS IN THERE AND I ASKED HIM HOW HE DID THE LETTERING AND HE SAYS, “I’LL SHOW YOU.” HE HAD ALL THIS PAINT ON THE SHELF AND THIS BIG TABLE WHERE HE PUT STUFF AND HE GRABBED A PIECE OF PAPER. HE TOOK A PENCIL AND DREW TWO LINES AND THEY WERE PARALLEL. AND YOU PROBABLY COULD HAVE MEASURED THEM AND THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN EXACTLY PARALLEL, AND THEN HE TOOK HIS BRUSH AND SAYS, “OKAY, I’LL PAINT YOUR NAME, I’LL PAINT LYLE.” AND HE TOOK THIS LONG – JUST A REGULAR BRUSH THAT WAS A KIND OF FLOPPY BRUSH AND HE DIPPED IT INTO SOME OIL PAINT AND HE JUST PAINTED MY NAME JUST L-Y-L-E LIKE THAT IN BLOCK LETTERS, IN A MATTER OF SECONDS AND IT WAS PERFECT. AND HE EXPLAINED THAT WHEN YOU PUT THE LETTERS TOGETHER, SOME LETTERS ARE CLOSER THAN OTHER LETTERS TO MATCH, AND HE EXPLAINED ALL THAT TO ME, HOW YOU WOULD DO THAT. THEN HE TOOK IT AND SAID 'YOU CAN DO ITALICS' AND HE MADE THEM ALL SLOPED EVENLY. AND HE SAID, 'I CAN DO IT LIKE IN A JAPANESE STYLE WHERE THE LETTERS ARE BIG ON THE TOP.' AND HE DID THAT ALL IN OIL AND IT WAS LIKE ANY PRINTER THAT YOU SEE TODAY AND ABOUT THE SPEED OF SLOW WRITING. I WAS ASTONISHED.” “SO I USED TO GO IN ONCE IN A WHILE AND VISIT HIM IN THE SHOP AT THAT TIME AND I REMEMBER ONE TIME I – HE ACTUALLY ENCOURAGED ME TO START PAINTING. I STARTED DOING THAT AND HE GAVE ME SOME HINTS, LITTLE THINGS LIKE PERSPECTIVE, VANISHING POINTS, WHAT WERE THE OTHER THINGS, OH, HOW THICK PAINT DOESN’T STICK TO THIN PAINT AND VICE VERSA, AND WHEN YOU USE OIL PAINTS YOU PAINT FROM THE BACK TO THE FRONT. WHEN YOU USE WATERCOLORS, YOU PAINT LIGHT TO DARK, USUALLY – THAT KIND OF THING. HE HELPED ME WITH THAT KIND OF STUFF. HE WAS SHOWING ME.” REMEMBERING HIS UNCLE, LYLE STATES, ”MY UNCLE WAS A VERY NICE MAN. I NEVER SAW HIM EVER ANGRY, EVER. I NEVER HEARD ANYONE EVER SAY THAT HE WAS ANGRY. ONLY ONCE. ONLY ONE TIME THAT I EVEN HEARD THAT HE WAS ANGRY. ONE TIME HE HAD A PAINTING AND MY AUNT DIDN’T LIKE IT SO SHE TOOK OUT SOME PAINTS AND FIXED IT FOR HIM. AND THAT WAS THE ONLY TIME THAT HE WAS ANGRY, THAT I HAVE EVER KNOWN. I THINK HE FORGAVE HER BUT I DON’T THINK SHE TOUCHED HIS PAINTINGS AFTER THAT. SO BASICALLY MY AUNT AND MY UNCLE WERE NICE AND IT WAS A PLEASURE TO GO OVER AND VISIT HIM. HE WAS SO NICE. AND I’M NOT SAYING THAT BECAUSE HE’S MY UNCLE OR ANYTHING- HE JUST WAS A NICE MAN.” WHEN ASKED ABOUT WHAT HE KNEW AT THE TIME OF HIS UNCLE'S ART CAREER, LYLE ADDS, “I DIDN’T REALLY KNOW [ABOUT IT]. I HAD NO CLUE WHAT HE DID. I DIDN’T KNOW HE WAS A FRIEND OF A.Y. JACKSON AND ALL OF THAT…I GUESS HE SOLD THE PAINTINGS BUT I SAW IT MORE OF A HOBBY BECAUSE HE WOULD PAINT A PAINTING AND THEN RE-PAINT IT, LIKE, IF HE DIDN’T LIKE IT HE WOULD JUST PAINT OVER IT. AND BECAUSE HE WAS A SIGN PAINTER. HE WAS ACTUALLY AN ELECTRICIAN BY TRADE. HE WENT TO SAIT AND BECAME AN ELECTRICIAN BUT COULDN’T GET ANY WORK AND STARTED A SIGN BUSINESS AND [IT], TO ME AS A KID, IT WAS JUST A JOB, LIKE DAD’S JOB THAT KIND OF THING, SO YOU HAVE A JOB [AND] YOU GO TO WORK [AND] SO I DIDN’T THINK IT WAS ANYTHING SPECIAL…I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND, AS A KID,... I WENT OFF DOING MY OWN THING. YEAH…HE WAS CLOSE TO FINISHING [HIS CAREER], BY THE TIME I WAS AN ADULT, HE WAS JUST NEAR DONE.” IN 2014, COLLECTIONS ASSISTANT JANE EDMUNDSON CONDUCTED A SURVEY OF ART OBJECTS. THE FOLLOWING BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ON MICHAEL PISKO WAS FOUND IN A PRESS RELEASE ANNOUNCING THE 'MICHAEL PISKO MEMORIAL AWARD', WHICH WAS ESTABLISHED BY THE ARTIST'S WIDOW AND THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS IN 2000, TO BE AWARDED TO A GRADUATING BFA DEGREE PAINTER FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE: "MICHAEL PISKO WAS BORN IN LETHBRIDGE IN 1913. HE MADE HIS LIVING AS A SUCCESSFUL SIGN PAINTER THROUGH HIS BUSINESS, CITY SIGN COMPANY, BUT LANDSCAPE PAINTING WAS HIS LIFE'S FULFILLMENT. TO HONE HIS SKILLS, HE STUDIED THREE SUMMERS AT THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS AND SOUGHT INSTRUCTION FROM SENIOR VISITING ARTISTS WHO CAME TO LETHBRIDGE ON INVITATION OF THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB, OF WHICH HE, IN 1937, WAS ONE OF THE FOUNDING MEMBERS. PISKO GREATLY ADMIRED A.Y. JACKSON, THE GROUP OF SEVEN MASTER, WITH WHOM HE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SKETCH AND PAINT AROUND LETHBRIDGE WHENEVER JACKSON CAME TO TOWN TO VISIT HIS BROTHER. HE WAS ALSO DEEPLY INFLUENCED BY H.G. GLYDE, WHO TAUGHT AT THE ALBERTA COLLEGE OF ART IN CALGARY AND AT THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS AND WHO VISITED LETHBRIDGE TO TEACH ART CLASSES AT THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB. IN 1947 PISKO WAS ACCEPTED FOR MEMBERSHIP IN THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS. HE WAS A PROLIFIC PAINTER, WHO EXHIBITED REGULARLY WITH THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB AND THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS. HIS WORK IS REPRESENTED IN MANY PRIVATE, CORPORATE AND PUBLIC COLLECTIONS, AMONG THEM THE ALBERTA FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS AND THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE. MICHAEL PISKO PASSED AWAY IN 1999." THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB HELD THEIR FIRST MEETING AT THE HOME OF MISS ANNA MACKENZIE ON OCTOBER 7, 1936. EDITH FANNY KIRK WAS THE FIRST ART TEACHER IN LETHBRIDGE. SHE CAME FROM BRITAIN WITH CLASSICAL TRAINING AND IT WAS KIRK WHO SET THE STAGE FOR THE SKETCH CLUB TO COME INTO BEING. THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS ALSO PLAYED A ROLE IN THE FORMATION BY PROVIDING RECOGNITION OF ARTISTIC MERIT THROUGH DISTRICT SCHOLARSHIPS. ANNA MACKENZIE AND P.J. COLLINS CONCEIVED OF THE CLUB AFTER THEIR EXPERIENCE IN BANFF. THE GROUP WAS FORMED OUT OF AN ENTHUSIASTIC INTEREST IN ART AND SOON AFTER THE GROUP BEGAN MEETING, THERE WERE REGULAR EXHIBITIONS. THE GROUP WAS PRIVY TO THE ATTENTION OF GROUP OF SEVEN ARTIST A.Y.JACKSON WHEN HE MADE HIS FREQUENT SKETCHING TRIPS TO SOUTHERN ALBERTA. HE REGULARLY ACCOMPANIED THE SKETCH CLUB AND HIS INFLUENCE CAN BE SEEN IN MUCH OF THEIR WORK. ANOTHER GUEST OF THE GROUP WAS ANNORA BROWN WHO WAS AN ARTIST WHO HAD TRAINED IN TORONTO, BUT RESIDED IN FORT MACLEOD AND BEGAN SPENDING TIME WITH THE GROUP IN 1939. HER INTEREST IN FLOWER STUDIES IS SUSPECTED TO HAVE INSPIRED MANY OF THE WORKS BY CLUB MEMBERS. DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS, THE GROUP ORGANIZED SUMMER CLASSES TAUGHT BY OUT OF TOWN ARTISTS SUCH AS: H.G.GLYDE, WALTER J. PHILIPS AND A.C. LEIGHTON. ACCORDING TO A HISTORY OF THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB WRITTEN BY JOAN STEBBINS IN JUNE, 1985, “THE PAINTINGS OF THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB PORTRAY FAVOURITE SKETCHING AREAS IN THE REGION – THE COULEES PROVIDED ENDLESS MATERIAL, THE RIVERBOTTOM, THE OLD R.C.M.P. BARRACKS, THE WHITNEY FARM, HENDERSON LAKE, THE FELGER HUTTERITE COLONY, THE FOOTHILLS AND WATERTON LAKE WERE OFTEN REPEATED SUBJECTS.” FOR COPIES OF LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES ON PISKO AND HIS CAREER, AS WELL AS PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS FOR THE 1995 ARTWALK DEDICATED TO HIM, SEE PERMANENT FILE P19920009001-GA. FOR MORE INFORMATION, INCLUDING THE FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION AND LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES, PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE P20200016001-GA.
Catalogue Number
P20200016004
Acquisition Date
2020-06
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Other Name
ARTIST M. PISKO SELF-PORTRAIT
Date Range From
1936
Date Range To
1999
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
PAPER, CHARCOAL
Catalogue Number
P20200016005
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
ARTIST M. PISKO SELF-PORTRAIT
Date Range From
1936
Date Range To
1999
Materials
PAPER, CHARCOAL
No. Pieces
1
Length
35.8
Width
28.2
Description
CHARCOAL DRAWING OF A M. PISKO, RIGHT PROFILE, ON BEIGE, TEXTURED PAPER. PROFILE DRAWING FOCUSES ON THE HEAD, ONLY IMPLYING SHOULDERS AND SHIRT COLLAR. UNSIGNED AND UN-DATED. PAPER IS DISCOLORED, DARKER AROUND EDGES. WATER STAIN FROM TO LEFT CORNER, TO HALF-WAY DOWN THE LEFT EDGE. SLIGHT CREASING AND BENDING IN BOTTOM LEFT CORNER AND LEFT EDGE.
Subjects
ART
Historical Association
FINE ARTS
History
ON OCTOBER 8, 2020, COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN INTERVIEWED LYLE PENNINGTON REGARDING ANY MEMORIES OF HIS UNCLE “MIKE” MICHAEL PISKO (1913-1999), ABOUT THE DONATED DRAWINGS AND ART MATERIALS. ON SEEING HIS UNCLE PAINT, LYLE RECALLS, “WELL, I CAN REMEMBER MY UNCLE USING THIS WOODEN [EASEL] (P20200016007) BECAUSE WHEN I WAS ABOUT SIX YEARS OLD, HE SET THIS WOODEN EASEL UP. HE WAS BABYSITTING ME THAT ONE DAY...I WAS YOUNG AND HE SET THIS STAND UP AND HE SAID, 'WE’RE GOING TO PAINT A PAINTING TOGETHER.' HE GOT A PALETTE OUT AND HE PUT ALL THESE OIL PAINTS ON AND SHOWED ME HOW TO PUT THEM ALL ON AND THEN GOT THIS KNIFE THING OUT, IT’S A PALETTE KNIFE- IT WAS A FAIRLY BIG ONE AND IT WAS A FAIRLY BIG…PAINTING. IT WAS MAYBE 2 FEET WIDE AND 3 FEET HIGH AND I ASKED HIM WHAT HE WAS GOING TO PAINT AND HE SAID, 'I DON’T KNOW'. THEN HE STARTED SHOWING ME HOW TO MIX THE PAINTS AND PUTTING THEM ON, HE JUST SLOPPED THEM ON AND I KEPT ASKING, 'WHAT IS IT?' AND HE SAYS, 'I HAVEN’T DECIDED.' AND THERE WAS GREENS AND REDS AND YELLOWS. AND I'M WAITING AND WAITING AND I KEPT ASKING WHAT HE WAS PAINTING AND I COULDN’T MAKE HEAD OR TAILS OF IT BECAUSE HE DIDN’T START ANYWHERE. HE WAS PUTTING IT EVERYWHERE AND THEN FINALLY, JUST IN ONE MAGIC STROKE, THERE WAS A WHOLE BOUQUET OF FLOWERS AND I WAS SHOCKED. AND I SAID, 'UNCLE MIKE, THEY’RE FLOWERS.' AND THEN HE CONTINUED ON AND THEN HE SAYS, 'WHAT DO YOU THINK?' AND I SAYS, 'THEY LOOK REAL.' THEN HE SAYS, 'YEAH, I THINK THIS ONE’S GOOD.' AND THEN HE SHOWED ME HOW TO SIGN THE PAINTING- HE TOOK SOME RED PAINT AND THEN HE THINNED IT WITH SOME TURPENTINE AND HE TOOK THIS LITTLE TINY BRUSH AND HE ROLLED IT IN THE RED PAINT AND THEN HE SIGNED HIS NAME ON THE BOTTOM LEFTSIDE…I REMEMBER IT VIVIDLY BECAUSE I COULDN’T BELIEVE THE PAINTING SUDDENLY IN ONE STROKE MADE SENSE, IT WAS LIKE MAGIC. HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS PAINTING BUT I DIDN'T. I HAD NO CLUE. HE JUST GRINNED AT ME WHEN I SAID, 'IT’S FLOWERS.' YEAH, IT WAS A WHOLE BOUQUET OF FLOWERS IN A VASE.” “THAT WAS THE ONE TIME THAT I GOT TO SEE HIM ACTUALLY PAINT A PAINTING. THAT WAS THE ONLY PAINTING I SAW HIM PAINT. I DON’T THINK MANY OTHERS SAW HIM PAINT THE MANY PAINTINGS THAT HE DID. HE DID IT SORT OF PRIVATELY I THINK. I DON’T THINK MY DAD EVER SAW HIM PAINT A PAINTING. BUT HE DID COME OVER ONE TIME – WE HAD A DOOR - IT WAS A METAL DOOR LIKE A SCREEN DOOR AND IT HAD A PHEASANT ON IT AND ALL THE PAINT HAD COME OFF. HE CAME OVER AND REPAINTED THAT PHEASANT. HE PAINTED IT FREEHAND AND IT LOOKED REAL. IT WAS AMAZING. THE ONLY OTHER TIME HE CAME OVER WAS TO HELP PAINT OUR HOUSE, AND HE COULD PAINT WITH A BRUSH FASTER THAN A PERSON COULD PAINT WITH A ROLLER AND IT WAS PERFECT. THOSE ARE THE TIMES I SAW HIM ACTUALLY PAINTING OTHER THAN WHEN I WENT TO HIS SHOP.” ACCORDING TO A LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLE, DATED OCTOBER 6, 1996, BEFORE MICHAEL FINISHED HIGH SCHOOL HE HAD BEGUN WORKING PART-TIME FOR ROBERT BARROWMAN, AN EARLY CITY MAYOR AND OWNER OF CITY SIGN WORKS. 15 YEARS LATER WHEN BARROWMEN SOLD THE COMPANY, MICHAEL AND HIS FELLOW EMPLOYEE NIGEL HILL BOUGHT THE BUSINESS AND RENAMED IT CITY SIGN CO. THIS BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP LASTED UNTIL 1970. ON HIS TIME AT CITY SIGN CO. WITH HIS UNCLE, LYLE ADDED, “…I’D GO IN EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE JUST TO VISIT AND I REMEMBER CARS COMING IN AND HE WOULD DRAW WHATEVER THEY WANTED. THEN HE WOULD TAKE THIS – IT LOOKED LIKE A PIZZA CUTTER WITH A WHEEL ON IT AND HE WOULD RUN IT ALONG THE LINES AND PUNCH LITTLE HOLES IN IT. HE WOULD TAPE THE LOGO ON TO THE CAR, A BRAND NEW CAR OR TRUCK OR WHATEVER. AND THEN HE WOULD PUT CHALK ON IT AND PULL THAT PAPER OFF. THEN HE WOULD PAINT THE LOGO OR SIGN FREE HAND WITH A BRUSH AND OIL PAINTS. AND IT WAS AS GOOD AS ANY SIGN YOU SEE TODAY MADE WITH A MACHINE. YEAH, IT WAS ASTONISHING.” “AND THE ONE DAY WHEN I WAS IN THERE AND I ASKED HIM HOW HE DID THE LETTERING AND HE SAYS, “I’LL SHOW YOU.” HE HAD ALL THIS PAINT ON THE SHELF AND THIS BIG TABLE WHERE HE PUT STUFF AND HE GRABBED A PIECE OF PAPER. HE TOOK A PENCIL AND DREW TWO LINES AND THEY WERE PARALLEL. AND YOU PROBABLY COULD HAVE MEASURED THEM AND THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN EXACTLY PARALLEL, AND THEN HE TOOK HIS BRUSH AND SAYS, “OKAY, I’LL PAINT YOUR NAME, I’LL PAINT LYLE.” AND HE TOOK THIS LONG – JUST A REGULAR BRUSH THAT WAS A KIND OF FLOPPY BRUSH AND HE DIPPED IT INTO SOME OIL PAINT AND HE JUST PAINTED MY NAME JUST L-Y-L-E LIKE THAT IN BLOCK LETTERS, IN A MATTER OF SECONDS AND IT WAS PERFECT. AND HE EXPLAINED THAT WHEN YOU PUT THE LETTERS TOGETHER, SOME LETTERS ARE CLOSER THAN OTHER LETTERS TO MATCH, AND HE EXPLAINED ALL THAT TO ME, HOW YOU WOULD DO THAT. THEN HE TOOK IT AND SAID 'YOU CAN DO ITALICS' AND HE MADE THEM ALL SLOPED EVENLY. AND HE SAID, 'I CAN DO IT LIKE IN A JAPANESE STYLE WHERE THE LETTERS ARE BIG ON THE TOP.' AND HE DID THAT ALL IN OIL AND IT WAS LIKE ANY PRINTER THAT YOU SEE TODAY AND ABOUT THE SPEED OF SLOW WRITING. I WAS ASTONISHED.” “SO I USED TO GO IN ONCE IN A WHILE AND VISIT HIM IN THE SHOP AT THAT TIME AND I REMEMBER ONE TIME I – HE ACTUALLY ENCOURAGED ME TO START PAINTING. I STARTED DOING THAT AND HE GAVE ME SOME HINTS, LITTLE THINGS LIKE PERSPECTIVE, VANISHING POINTS, WHAT WERE THE OTHER THINGS, OH, HOW THICK PAINT DOESN’T STICK TO THIN PAINT AND VICE VERSA, AND WHEN YOU USE OIL PAINTS YOU PAINT FROM THE BACK TO THE FRONT. WHEN YOU USE WATERCOLORS, YOU PAINT LIGHT TO DARK, USUALLY – THAT KIND OF THING. HE HELPED ME WITH THAT KIND OF STUFF. HE WAS SHOWING ME.” REMEMBERING HIS UNCLE, LYLE STATES, ”MY UNCLE WAS A VERY NICE MAN. I NEVER SAW HIM EVER ANGRY, EVER. I NEVER HEARD ANYONE EVER SAY THAT HE WAS ANGRY. ONLY ONCE. ONLY ONE TIME THAT I EVEN HEARD THAT HE WAS ANGRY. ONE TIME HE HAD A PAINTING AND MY AUNT DIDN’T LIKE IT SO SHE TOOK OUT SOME PAINTS AND FIXED IT FOR HIM. AND THAT WAS THE ONLY TIME THAT HE WAS ANGRY, THAT I HAVE EVER KNOWN. I THINK HE FORGAVE HER BUT I DON’T THINK SHE TOUCHED HIS PAINTINGS AFTER THAT. SO BASICALLY MY AUNT AND MY UNCLE WERE NICE AND IT WAS A PLEASURE TO GO OVER AND VISIT HIM. HE WAS SO NICE. AND I’M NOT SAYING THAT BECAUSE HE’S MY UNCLE OR ANYTHING- HE JUST WAS A NICE MAN.” WHEN ASKED ABOUT WHAT HE KNEW AT THE TIME OF HIS UNCLE'S ART CAREER, LYLE ADDS, “I DIDN’T REALLY KNOW [ABOUT IT]. I HAD NO CLUE WHAT HE DID. I DIDN’T KNOW HE WAS A FRIEND OF A.Y. JACKSON AND ALL OF THAT…I GUESS HE SOLD THE PAINTINGS BUT I SAW IT MORE OF A HOBBY BECAUSE HE WOULD PAINT A PAINTING AND THEN RE-PAINT IT, LIKE, IF HE DIDN’T LIKE IT HE WOULD JUST PAINT OVER IT. AND BECAUSE HE WAS A SIGN PAINTER. HE WAS ACTUALLY AN ELECTRICIAN BY TRADE. HE WENT TO SAIT AND BECAME AN ELECTRICIAN BUT COULDN’T GET ANY WORK AND STARTED A SIGN BUSINESS AND [IT], TO ME AS A KID, IT WAS JUST A JOB, LIKE DAD’S JOB THAT KIND OF THING, SO YOU HAVE A JOB [AND] YOU GO TO WORK [AND] SO I DIDN’T THINK IT WAS ANYTHING SPECIAL…I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND, AS A KID,... I WENT OFF DOING MY OWN THING. YEAH…HE WAS CLOSE TO FINISHING [HIS CAREER], BY THE TIME I WAS AN ADULT, HE WAS JUST NEAR DONE.” IN 2014, COLLECTIONS ASSISTANT JANE EDMUNDSON CONDUCTED A SURVEY OF ART OBJECTS. THE FOLLOWING BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ON MICHAEL PISKO WAS FOUND IN A PRESS RELEASE ANNOUNCING THE 'MICHAEL PISKO MEMORIAL AWARD', WHICH WAS ESTABLISHED BY THE ARTIST'S WIDOW AND THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS IN 2000, TO BE AWARDED TO A GRADUATING BFA DEGREE PAINTER FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE: "MICHAEL PISKO WAS BORN IN LETHBRIDGE IN 1913. HE MADE HIS LIVING AS A SUCCESSFUL SIGN PAINTER THROUGH HIS BUSINESS, CITY SIGN COMPANY, BUT LANDSCAPE PAINTING WAS HIS LIFE'S FULFILLMENT. TO HONE HIS SKILLS, HE STUDIED THREE SUMMERS AT THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS AND SOUGHT INSTRUCTION FROM SENIOR VISITING ARTISTS WHO CAME TO LETHBRIDGE ON INVITATION OF THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB, OF WHICH HE, IN 1937, WAS ONE OF THE FOUNDING MEMBERS. PISKO GREATLY ADMIRED A.Y. JACKSON, THE GROUP OF SEVEN MASTER, WITH WHOM HE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SKETCH AND PAINT AROUND LETHBRIDGE WHENEVER JACKSON CAME TO TOWN TO VISIT HIS BROTHER. HE WAS ALSO DEEPLY INFLUENCED BY H.G. GLYDE, WHO TAUGHT AT THE ALBERTA COLLEGE OF ART IN CALGARY AND AT THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS AND WHO VISITED LETHBRIDGE TO TEACH ART CLASSES AT THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB. IN 1947 PISKO WAS ACCEPTED FOR MEMBERSHIP IN THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS. HE WAS A PROLIFIC PAINTER, WHO EXHIBITED REGULARLY WITH THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB AND THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS. HIS WORK IS REPRESENTED IN MANY PRIVATE, CORPORATE AND PUBLIC COLLECTIONS, AMONG THEM THE ALBERTA FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS AND THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE. MICHAEL PISKO PASSED AWAY IN 1999." THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB HELD THEIR FIRST MEETING AT THE HOME OF MISS ANNA MACKENZIE ON OCTOBER 7, 1936. EDITH FANNY KIRK WAS THE FIRST ART TEACHER IN LETHBRIDGE. SHE CAME FROM BRITAIN WITH CLASSICAL TRAINING AND IT WAS KIRK WHO SET THE STAGE FOR THE SKETCH CLUB TO COME INTO BEING. THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS ALSO PLAYED A ROLE IN THE FORMATION BY PROVIDING RECOGNITION OF ARTISTIC MERIT THROUGH DISTRICT SCHOLARSHIPS. ANNA MACKENZIE AND P.J. COLLINS CONCEIVED OF THE CLUB AFTER THEIR EXPERIENCE IN BANFF. THE GROUP WAS FORMED OUT OF AN ENTHUSIASTIC INTEREST IN ART AND SOON AFTER THE GROUP BEGAN MEETING, THERE WERE REGULAR EXHIBITIONS. THE GROUP WAS PRIVY TO THE ATTENTION OF GROUP OF SEVEN ARTIST A.Y.JACKSON WHEN HE MADE HIS FREQUENT SKETCHING TRIPS TO SOUTHERN ALBERTA. HE REGULARLY ACCOMPANIED THE SKETCH CLUB AND HIS INFLUENCE CAN BE SEEN IN MUCH OF THEIR WORK. ANOTHER GUEST OF THE GROUP WAS ANNORA BROWN WHO WAS AN ARTIST WHO HAD TRAINED IN TORONTO, BUT RESIDED IN FORT MACLEOD AND BEGAN SPENDING TIME WITH THE GROUP IN 1939. HER INTEREST IN FLOWER STUDIES IS SUSPECTED TO HAVE INSPIRED MANY OF THE WORKS BY CLUB MEMBERS. DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS, THE GROUP ORGANIZED SUMMER CLASSES TAUGHT BY OUT OF TOWN ARTISTS SUCH AS: H.G.GLYDE, WALTER J. PHILIPS AND A.C. LEIGHTON. ACCORDING TO A HISTORY OF THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB WRITTEN BY JOAN STEBBINS IN JUNE, 1985, “THE PAINTINGS OF THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB PORTRAY FAVOURITE SKETCHING AREAS IN THE REGION – THE COULEES PROVIDED ENDLESS MATERIAL, THE RIVERBOTTOM, THE OLD R.C.M.P. BARRACKS, THE WHITNEY FARM, HENDERSON LAKE, THE FELGER HUTTERITE COLONY, THE FOOTHILLS AND WATERTON LAKE WERE OFTEN REPEATED SUBJECTS.” FOR COPIES OF LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES ON PISKO AND HIS CAREER, AS WELL AS PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS FOR THE 1995 ARTWALK DEDICATED TO HIM, SEE PERMANENT FILE P19920009001-GA. FOR MORE INFORMATION, INCLUDING THE FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION AND LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES, PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE P20200016001-GA.
Catalogue Number
P20200016005
Acquisition Date
2020-06
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Other Name
SOAPSTONE OWL
Date Range From
1970
Date Range To
1980
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
SOAPSTONE
Catalogue Number
P19970041341
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
SOAPSTONE OWL
Date Range From
1970
Date Range To
1980
Materials
SOAPSTONE
No. Pieces
1
Height
12.5
Length
6.7
Width
4.6
Description
GREEN POLISHED IMPRESSIONISTIC SOAPSTONE SCULPTURE SHAPED TO RESEMBLE AN OWL. SCULPTURE HAS MULTIPLE SMALL CHIPS.
Subjects
ART
Historical Association
FINE ARTS
COMMEMORATIVE
History
SCULTPURE WAS LIKELY BROUGHT BACK AS A SOUVENIR BY DONOR'S FATHER FROM ONE OF MANY TRIPS HE TOOK. ORIGIN UNKNOWN, POSSIBLY INUIT. THE NAKAYAMA FAMILY WAS ORIGINALLY FROM VANCOUVER BUT MOVED TO COALDALE FOLLOWING THE SECOND WORLD WAR WHEN THEY WERE INTERNED AT SLOCAN CITY IN THE INTERIOR OF BRITISH COLUMBIA BY THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT. THE DONOR'S FATHER, REV. CANON G.G. NAKAYAMA, WAS AN ANGLICAN MINISTER IN VANCOUVER, AND THEN ESTABLISHED THE CHURCH OF THE ASCENSION IN COALDALE IN 1945 WHERE HE SERVED UNTIL 1970. SEE RECORD P19970041001 FOR EXPANDED BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION AND PERMANENT FILE FOR FURTHER HISTORY.
Catalogue Number
P19970041341
Acquisition Date
1997-01
Collection
Museum
Less detail
Other Name
"WHEAT FIELD, ELEVATORS UNDER EASTERN SLOPES"
Date Range From
1980
Date Range To
1989
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
PAPER, CHARCOAL, CHALK
Catalogue Number
P20200016002
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
"WHEAT FIELD, ELEVATORS UNDER EASTERN SLOPES"
Date Range From
1980
Date Range To
1989
Materials
PAPER, CHARCOAL, CHALK
No. Pieces
1
Length
30.7
Width
40.7
Description
BLACK AND WHITE LANDSCAPE DRAWING OF A FARM FIELD WITH THREE GRAIN ELEVATORS ON THE RIGHT SIDE AND MOUNTAINS ON THE LEFT SIDE IN THE BACKGROUND. FOREGROUND IS TAKEN UP WITH GRASS, BARBED WIRE FENCE, AND TIED HAY BALES LEADING OUT INTO THE FIELD. UNSIGNED AND UN-DATED. 3-4 PINHOLES IN ALL FOUR CORNERS, AND TWO MORE IN CENTER TOP EDGE. SLIGHT SMUDGES ON BACK OF PAPER. SLIGHTEST OF WAVE TO THE PAPER.
Subjects
ART
Historical Association
FINE ARTS
EDUCATION
History
ON OCTOBER 8, 2020, COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN INTERVIEWED LYLE PENNINGTON REGARDING ANY MEMORIES OF HIS UNCLE “MIKE” MICHAEL PISKO (1913-1999), ABOUT THE DONATED DRAWINGS AND ART MATERIALS. ON SEEING HIS UNCLE PAINT, LYLE RECALLS, “WELL, I CAN REMEMBER MY UNCLE USING THIS WOODEN [EASEL] (P20200016007) BECAUSE WHEN I WAS ABOUT SIX YEARS OLD, HE SET THIS WOODEN EASEL UP. HE WAS BABYSITTING ME THAT ONE DAY...I WAS YOUNG AND HE SET THIS STAND UP AND HE SAID, 'WE’RE GOING TO PAINT A PAINTING TOGETHER.' HE GOT A PALETTE OUT AND HE PUT ALL THESE OIL PAINTS ON AND SHOWED ME HOW TO PUT THEM ALL ON AND THEN GOT THIS KNIFE THING OUT, IT’S A PALETTE KNIFE- IT WAS A FAIRLY BIG ONE AND IT WAS A FAIRLY BIG…PAINTING. IT WAS MAYBE 2 FEET WIDE AND 3 FEET HIGH AND I ASKED HIM WHAT HE WAS GOING TO PAINT AND HE SAID, 'I DON’T KNOW'. THEN HE STARTED SHOWING ME HOW TO MIX THE PAINTS AND PUTTING THEM ON, HE JUST SLOPPED THEM ON AND I KEPT ASKING, 'WHAT IS IT?' AND HE SAYS, 'I HAVEN’T DECIDED.' AND THERE WAS GREENS AND REDS AND YELLOWS. AND I'M WAITING AND WAITING AND I KEPT ASKING WHAT HE WAS PAINTING AND I COULDN’T MAKE HEAD OR TAILS OF IT BECAUSE HE DIDN’T START ANYWHERE. HE WAS PUTTING IT EVERYWHERE AND THEN FINALLY, JUST IN ONE MAGIC STROKE, THERE WAS A WHOLE BOUQUET OF FLOWERS AND I WAS SHOCKED. AND I SAID, 'UNCLE MIKE, THEY’RE FLOWERS.' AND THEN HE CONTINUED ON AND THEN HE SAYS, 'WHAT DO YOU THINK?' AND I SAYS, 'THEY LOOK REAL.' THEN HE SAYS, 'YEAH, I THINK THIS ONE’S GOOD.' AND THEN HE SHOWED ME HOW TO SIGN THE PAINTING- HE TOOK SOME RED PAINT AND THEN HE THINNED IT WITH SOME TURPENTINE AND HE TOOK THIS LITTLE TINY BRUSH AND HE ROLLED IT IN THE RED PAINT AND THEN HE SIGNED HIS NAME ON THE BOTTOM LEFTSIDE…I REMEMBER IT VIVIDLY BECAUSE I COULDN’T BELIEVE THE PAINTING SUDDENLY IN ONE STROKE MADE SENSE, IT WAS LIKE MAGIC. HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS PAINTING BUT I DIDN'T. I HAD NO CLUE. HE JUST GRINNED AT ME WHEN I SAID, 'IT’S FLOWERS.' YEAH, IT WAS A WHOLE BOUQUET OF FLOWERS IN A VASE.” “THAT WAS THE ONE TIME THAT I GOT TO SEE HIM ACTUALLY PAINT A PAINTING. THAT WAS THE ONLY PAINTING I SAW HIM PAINT. I DON’T THINK MANY OTHERS SAW HIM PAINT THE MANY PAINTINGS THAT HE DID. HE DID IT SORT OF PRIVATELY I THINK. I DON’T THINK MY DAD EVER SAW HIM PAINT A PAINTING. BUT HE DID COME OVER ONE TIME – WE HAD A DOOR - IT WAS A METAL DOOR LIKE A SCREEN DOOR AND IT HAD A PHEASANT ON IT AND ALL THE PAINT HAD COME OFF. HE CAME OVER AND REPAINTED THAT PHEASANT. HE PAINTED IT FREEHAND AND IT LOOKED REAL. IT WAS AMAZING. THE ONLY OTHER TIME HE CAME OVER WAS TO HELP PAINT OUR HOUSE, AND HE COULD PAINT WITH A BRUSH FASTER THAN A PERSON COULD PAINT WITH A ROLLER AND IT WAS PERFECT. THOSE ARE THE TIMES I SAW HIM ACTUALLY PAINTING OTHER THAN WHEN I WENT TO HIS SHOP.” ACCORDING TO A LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLE, DATED OCTOBER 6, 1996, BEFORE MICHAEL FINISHED HIGH SCHOOL HE HAD BEGUN WORKING PART-TIME FOR ROBERT BARROWMAN, AN EARLY CITY MAYOR AND OWNER OF CITY SIGN WORKS. 15 YEARS LATER WHEN BARROWMEN SOLD THE COMPANY, MICHAEL AND HIS FELLOW EMPLOYEE NIGEL HILL BOUGHT THE BUSINESS AND RENAMED IT CITY SIGN CO. THIS BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP LASTED UNTIL 1970. ON HIS TIME AT CITY SIGN CO. WITH HIS UNCLE, LYLE ADDED, “…I’D GO IN EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE JUST TO VISIT AND I REMEMBER CARS COMING IN AND HE WOULD DRAW WHATEVER THEY WANTED. THEN HE WOULD TAKE THIS – IT LOOKED LIKE A PIZZA CUTTER WITH A WHEEL ON IT AND HE WOULD RUN IT ALONG THE LINES AND PUNCH LITTLE HOLES IN IT. HE WOULD TAPE THE LOGO ON TO THE CAR, A BRAND NEW CAR OR TRUCK OR WHATEVER. AND THEN HE WOULD PUT CHALK ON IT AND PULL THAT PAPER OFF. THEN HE WOULD PAINT THE LOGO OR SIGN FREE HAND WITH A BRUSH AND OIL PAINTS. AND IT WAS AS GOOD AS ANY SIGN YOU SEE TODAY MADE WITH A MACHINE. YEAH, IT WAS ASTONISHING.” “AND THE ONE DAY WHEN I WAS IN THERE AND I ASKED HIM HOW HE DID THE LETTERING AND HE SAYS, “I’LL SHOW YOU.” HE HAD ALL THIS PAINT ON THE SHELF AND THIS BIG TABLE WHERE HE PUT STUFF AND HE GRABBED A PIECE OF PAPER. HE TOOK A PENCIL AND DREW TWO LINES AND THEY WERE PARALLEL. AND YOU PROBABLY COULD HAVE MEASURED THEM AND THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN EXACTLY PARALLEL, AND THEN HE TOOK HIS BRUSH AND SAYS, “OKAY, I’LL PAINT YOUR NAME, I’LL PAINT LYLE.” AND HE TOOK THIS LONG – JUST A REGULAR BRUSH THAT WAS A KIND OF FLOPPY BRUSH AND HE DIPPED IT INTO SOME OIL PAINT AND HE JUST PAINTED MY NAME JUST L-Y-L-E LIKE THAT IN BLOCK LETTERS, IN A MATTER OF SECONDS AND IT WAS PERFECT. AND HE EXPLAINED THAT WHEN YOU PUT THE LETTERS TOGETHER, SOME LETTERS ARE CLOSER THAN OTHER LETTERS TO MATCH, AND HE EXPLAINED ALL THAT TO ME, HOW YOU WOULD DO THAT. THEN HE TOOK IT AND SAID 'YOU CAN DO ITALICS' AND HE MADE THEM ALL SLOPED EVENLY. AND HE SAID, 'I CAN DO IT LIKE IN A JAPANESE STYLE WHERE THE LETTERS ARE BIG ON THE TOP.' AND HE DID THAT ALL IN OIL AND IT WAS LIKE ANY PRINTER THAT YOU SEE TODAY AND ABOUT THE SPEED OF SLOW WRITING. I WAS ASTONISHED.” “SO I USED TO GO IN ONCE IN A WHILE AND VISIT HIM IN THE SHOP AT THAT TIME AND I REMEMBER ONE TIME I – HE ACTUALLY ENCOURAGED ME TO START PAINTING. I STARTED DOING THAT AND HE GAVE ME SOME HINTS, LITTLE THINGS LIKE PERSPECTIVE, VANISHING POINTS, WHAT WERE THE OTHER THINGS, OH, HOW THICK PAINT DOESN’T STICK TO THIN PAINT AND VICE VERSA, AND WHEN YOU USE OIL PAINTS YOU PAINT FROM THE BACK TO THE FRONT. WHEN YOU USE WATERCOLORS, YOU PAINT LIGHT TO DARK, USUALLY – THAT KIND OF THING. HE HELPED ME WITH THAT KIND OF STUFF. HE WAS SHOWING ME.” REMEMBERING HIS UNCLE, LYLE STATES, ”MY UNCLE WAS A VERY NICE MAN. I NEVER SAW HIM EVER ANGRY, EVER. I NEVER HEARD ANYONE EVER SAY THAT HE WAS ANGRY. ONLY ONCE. ONLY ONE TIME THAT I EVEN HEARD THAT HE WAS ANGRY. ONE TIME HE HAD A PAINTING AND MY AUNT DIDN’T LIKE IT SO SHE TOOK OUT SOME PAINTS AND FIXED IT FOR HIM. AND THAT WAS THE ONLY TIME THAT HE WAS ANGRY, THAT I HAVE EVER KNOWN. I THINK HE FORGAVE HER BUT I DON’T THINK SHE TOUCHED HIS PAINTINGS AFTER THAT. SO BASICALLY MY AUNT AND MY UNCLE WERE NICE AND IT WAS A PLEASURE TO GO OVER AND VISIT HIM. HE WAS SO NICE. AND I’M NOT SAYING THAT BECAUSE HE’S MY UNCLE OR ANYTHING- HE JUST WAS A NICE MAN.” WHEN ASKED ABOUT WHAT HE KNEW AT THE TIME OF HIS UNCLE'S ART CAREER, LYLE ADDS, “I DIDN’T REALLY KNOW [ABOUT IT]. I HAD NO CLUE WHAT HE DID. I DIDN’T KNOW HE WAS A FRIEND OF A.Y. JACKSON AND ALL OF THAT…I GUESS HE SOLD THE PAINTINGS BUT I SAW IT MORE OF A HOBBY BECAUSE HE WOULD PAINT A PAINTING AND THEN RE-PAINT IT, LIKE, IF HE DIDN’T LIKE IT HE WOULD JUST PAINT OVER IT. AND BECAUSE HE WAS A SIGN PAINTER. HE WAS ACTUALLY AN ELECTRICIAN BY TRADE. HE WENT TO SAIT AND BECAME AN ELECTRICIAN BUT COULDN’T GET ANY WORK AND STARTED A SIGN BUSINESS AND [IT], TO ME AS A KID, IT WAS JUST A JOB, LIKE DAD’S JOB THAT KIND OF THING, SO YOU HAVE A JOB [AND] YOU GO TO WORK [AND] SO I DIDN’T THINK IT WAS ANYTHING SPECIAL…I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND, AS A KID,... I WENT OFF DOING MY OWN THING. YEAH…HE WAS CLOSE TO FINISHING [HIS CAREER], BY THE TIME I WAS AN ADULT, HE WAS JUST NEAR DONE.” IN 2014, COLLECTIONS ASSISTANT JANE EDMUNDSON CONDUCTED A SURVEY OF ART OBJECTS. THE FOLLOWING BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ON MICHAEL PISKO WAS FOUND IN A PRESS RELEASE ANNOUNCING THE 'MICHAEL PISKO MEMORIAL AWARD', WHICH WAS ESTABLISHED BY THE ARTIST'S WIDOW AND THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS IN 2000, TO BE AWARDED TO A GRADUATING BFA DEGREE PAINTER FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE: "MICHAEL PISKO WAS BORN IN LETHBRIDGE IN 1913. HE MADE HIS LIVING AS A SUCCESSFUL SIGN PAINTER THROUGH HIS BUSINESS, CITY SIGN COMPANY, BUT LANDSCAPE PAINTING WAS HIS LIFE'S FULFILLMENT. TO HONE HIS SKILLS, HE STUDIED THREE SUMMERS AT THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS AND SOUGHT INSTRUCTION FROM SENIOR VISITING ARTISTS WHO CAME TO LETHBRIDGE ON INVITATION OF THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB, OF WHICH HE, IN 1937, WAS ONE OF THE FOUNDING MEMBERS. PISKO GREATLY ADMIRED A.Y. JACKSON, THE GROUP OF SEVEN MASTER, WITH WHOM HE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SKETCH AND PAINT AROUND LETHBRIDGE WHENEVER JACKSON CAME TO TOWN TO VISIT HIS BROTHER. HE WAS ALSO DEEPLY INFLUENCED BY H.G. GLYDE, WHO TAUGHT AT THE ALBERTA COLLEGE OF ART IN CALGARY AND AT THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS AND WHO VISITED LETHBRIDGE TO TEACH ART CLASSES AT THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB. IN 1947 PISKO WAS ACCEPTED FOR MEMBERSHIP IN THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS. HE WAS A PROLIFIC PAINTER, WHO EXHIBITED REGULARLY WITH THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB AND THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS. HIS WORK IS REPRESENTED IN MANY PRIVATE, CORPORATE AND PUBLIC COLLECTIONS, AMONG THEM THE ALBERTA FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS AND THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE. MICHAEL PISKO PASSED AWAY IN 1999." THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB HELD THEIR FIRST MEETING AT THE HOME OF MISS ANNA MACKENZIE ON OCTOBER 7, 1936. EDITH FANNY KIRK WAS THE FIRST ART TEACHER IN LETHBRIDGE. SHE CAME FROM BRITAIN WITH CLASSICAL TRAINING AND IT WAS KIRK WHO SET THE STAGE FOR THE SKETCH CLUB TO COME INTO BEING. THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS ALSO PLAYED A ROLE IN THE FORMATION BY PROVIDING RECOGNITION OF ARTISTIC MERIT THROUGH DISTRICT SCHOLARSHIPS. ANNA MACKENZIE AND P.J. COLLINS CONCEIVED OF THE CLUB AFTER THEIR EXPERIENCE IN BANFF. THE GROUP WAS FORMED OUT OF AN ENTHUSIASTIC INTEREST IN ART AND SOON AFTER THE GROUP BEGAN MEETING, THERE WERE REGULAR EXHIBITIONS. THE GROUP WAS PRIVY TO THE ATTENTION OF GROUP OF SEVEN ARTIST A.Y.JACKSON WHEN HE MADE HIS FREQUENT SKETCHING TRIPS TO SOUTHERN ALBERTA. HE REGULARLY ACCOMPANIED THE SKETCH CLUB AND HIS INFLUENCE CAN BE SEEN IN MUCH OF THEIR WORK. ANOTHER GUEST OF THE GROUP WAS ANNORA BROWN WHO WAS AN ARTIST WHO HAD TRAINED IN TORONTO, BUT RESIDED IN FORT MACLEOD AND BEGAN SPENDING TIME WITH THE GROUP IN 1939. HER INTEREST IN FLOWER STUDIES IS SUSPECTED TO HAVE INSPIRED MANY OF THE WORKS BY CLUB MEMBERS. DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS, THE GROUP ORGANIZED SUMMER CLASSES TAUGHT BY OUT OF TOWN ARTISTS SUCH AS: H.G.GLYDE, WALTER J. PHILIPS AND A.C. LEIGHTON. ACCORDING TO A HISTORY OF THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB WRITTEN BY JOAN STEBBINS IN JUNE, 1985, “THE PAINTINGS OF THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB PORTRAY FAVOURITE SKETCHING AREAS IN THE REGION – THE COULEES PROVIDED ENDLESS MATERIAL, THE RIVERBOTTOM, THE OLD R.C.M.P. BARRACKS, THE WHITNEY FARM, HENDERSON LAKE, THE FELGER HUTTERITE COLONY, THE FOOTHILLS AND WATERTON LAKE WERE OFTEN REPEATED SUBJECTS.” FOR COPIES OF LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES ON PISKO AND HIS CAREER, AS WELL AS PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS FOR THE 1995 ARTWALK DEDICATED TO HIM, SEE PERMANENT FILE P19920009001-GA. FOR MORE INFORMATION, INCLUDING THE FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION AND LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES, PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE P20200016001-GA.
Catalogue Number
P20200016002
Acquisition Date
2020-06
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Other Name
"WHEAT FIELD, ELEVATORS UNDER EASTERN SLOPES"
Date Range From
1980
Date Range To
1989
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
PAPER, CHARCOAL, CHALK
Catalogue Number
P20200016003
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
"WHEAT FIELD, ELEVATORS UNDER EASTERN SLOPES"
Date Range From
1980
Date Range To
1989
Materials
PAPER, CHARCOAL, CHALK
No. Pieces
1
Length
30.5
Width
40.8
Description
BLACK AND WHITE LANDSCAPE DRAWING OF A FARM FIELD WITH FOUR GRAIN ELEVATORS ON THE RIGHT SIDE AND MOUNTAINS ON THE LEFT SIDE IN THE BACKGROUND. FOREGROUND IS TAKEN UP WITH GRASS, BARBED WIRE FENCE, AND TIED HAY BALES LEADING OUT INTO THE FIELD. UNSIGNED AND UN-DATED. 3-4 PINHOLES IN ALL FOUR CORNERS, AND ONE MORE IN CENTER TOP EDGE. O.5 CM TEAR ON BOTTOM LEFT EDGE OF THE DRAWING. SLIGHTEST BENDS ON CORNERS.
Subjects
ART
Historical Association
FINE ARTS
EDUCATION
History
ON OCTOBER 8, 2020, COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN INTERVIEWED LYLE PENNINGTON REGARDING ANY MEMORIES OF HIS UNCLE “MIKE” MICHAEL PISKO (1913-1999), ABOUT THE DONATED DRAWINGS AND ART MATERIALS. ON SEEING HIS UNCLE PAINT, LYLE RECALLS, “WELL, I CAN REMEMBER MY UNCLE USING THIS WOODEN [EASEL] (P20200016007) BECAUSE WHEN I WAS ABOUT SIX YEARS OLD, HE SET THIS WOODEN EASEL UP. HE WAS BABYSITTING ME THAT ONE DAY...I WAS YOUNG AND HE SET THIS STAND UP AND HE SAID, 'WE’RE GOING TO PAINT A PAINTING TOGETHER.' HE GOT A PALETTE OUT AND HE PUT ALL THESE OIL PAINTS ON AND SHOWED ME HOW TO PUT THEM ALL ON AND THEN GOT THIS KNIFE THING OUT, IT’S A PALETTE KNIFE- IT WAS A FAIRLY BIG ONE AND IT WAS A FAIRLY BIG…PAINTING. IT WAS MAYBE 2 FEET WIDE AND 3 FEET HIGH AND I ASKED HIM WHAT HE WAS GOING TO PAINT AND HE SAID, 'I DON’T KNOW'. THEN HE STARTED SHOWING ME HOW TO MIX THE PAINTS AND PUTTING THEM ON, HE JUST SLOPPED THEM ON AND I KEPT ASKING, 'WHAT IS IT?' AND HE SAYS, 'I HAVEN’T DECIDED.' AND THERE WAS GREENS AND REDS AND YELLOWS. AND I'M WAITING AND WAITING AND I KEPT ASKING WHAT HE WAS PAINTING AND I COULDN’T MAKE HEAD OR TAILS OF IT BECAUSE HE DIDN’T START ANYWHERE. HE WAS PUTTING IT EVERYWHERE AND THEN FINALLY, JUST IN ONE MAGIC STROKE, THERE WAS A WHOLE BOUQUET OF FLOWERS AND I WAS SHOCKED. AND I SAID, 'UNCLE MIKE, THEY’RE FLOWERS.' AND THEN HE CONTINUED ON AND THEN HE SAYS, 'WHAT DO YOU THINK?' AND I SAYS, 'THEY LOOK REAL.' THEN HE SAYS, 'YEAH, I THINK THIS ONE’S GOOD.' AND THEN HE SHOWED ME HOW TO SIGN THE PAINTING- HE TOOK SOME RED PAINT AND THEN HE THINNED IT WITH SOME TURPENTINE AND HE TOOK THIS LITTLE TINY BRUSH AND HE ROLLED IT IN THE RED PAINT AND THEN HE SIGNED HIS NAME ON THE BOTTOM LEFTSIDE…I REMEMBER IT VIVIDLY BECAUSE I COULDN’T BELIEVE THE PAINTING SUDDENLY IN ONE STROKE MADE SENSE, IT WAS LIKE MAGIC. HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS PAINTING BUT I DIDN'T. I HAD NO CLUE. HE JUST GRINNED AT ME WHEN I SAID, 'IT’S FLOWERS.' YEAH, IT WAS A WHOLE BOUQUET OF FLOWERS IN A VASE.” “THAT WAS THE ONE TIME THAT I GOT TO SEE HIM ACTUALLY PAINT A PAINTING. THAT WAS THE ONLY PAINTING I SAW HIM PAINT. I DON’T THINK MANY OTHERS SAW HIM PAINT THE MANY PAINTINGS THAT HE DID. HE DID IT SORT OF PRIVATELY I THINK. I DON’T THINK MY DAD EVER SAW HIM PAINT A PAINTING. BUT HE DID COME OVER ONE TIME – WE HAD A DOOR - IT WAS A METAL DOOR LIKE A SCREEN DOOR AND IT HAD A PHEASANT ON IT AND ALL THE PAINT HAD COME OFF. HE CAME OVER AND REPAINTED THAT PHEASANT. HE PAINTED IT FREEHAND AND IT LOOKED REAL. IT WAS AMAZING. THE ONLY OTHER TIME HE CAME OVER WAS TO HELP PAINT OUR HOUSE, AND HE COULD PAINT WITH A BRUSH FASTER THAN A PERSON COULD PAINT WITH A ROLLER AND IT WAS PERFECT. THOSE ARE THE TIMES I SAW HIM ACTUALLY PAINTING OTHER THAN WHEN I WENT TO HIS SHOP.” ACCORDING TO A LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLE, DATED OCTOBER 6, 1996, BEFORE MICHAEL FINISHED HIGH SCHOOL HE HAD BEGUN WORKING PART-TIME FOR ROBERT BARROWMAN, AN EARLY CITY MAYOR AND OWNER OF CITY SIGN WORKS. 15 YEARS LATER WHEN BARROWMEN SOLD THE COMPANY, MICHAEL AND HIS FELLOW EMPLOYEE NIGEL HILL BOUGHT THE BUSINESS AND RENAMED IT CITY SIGN CO. THIS BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP LASTED UNTIL 1970. ON HIS TIME AT CITY SIGN CO. WITH HIS UNCLE, LYLE ADDED, “…I’D GO IN EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE JUST TO VISIT AND I REMEMBER CARS COMING IN AND HE WOULD DRAW WHATEVER THEY WANTED. THEN HE WOULD TAKE THIS – IT LOOKED LIKE A PIZZA CUTTER WITH A WHEEL ON IT AND HE WOULD RUN IT ALONG THE LINES AND PUNCH LITTLE HOLES IN IT. HE WOULD TAPE THE LOGO ON TO THE CAR, A BRAND NEW CAR OR TRUCK OR WHATEVER. AND THEN HE WOULD PUT CHALK ON IT AND PULL THAT PAPER OFF. THEN HE WOULD PAINT THE LOGO OR SIGN FREE HAND WITH A BRUSH AND OIL PAINTS. AND IT WAS AS GOOD AS ANY SIGN YOU SEE TODAY MADE WITH A MACHINE. YEAH, IT WAS ASTONISHING.” “AND THE ONE DAY WHEN I WAS IN THERE AND I ASKED HIM HOW HE DID THE LETTERING AND HE SAYS, “I’LL SHOW YOU.” HE HAD ALL THIS PAINT ON THE SHELF AND THIS BIG TABLE WHERE HE PUT STUFF AND HE GRABBED A PIECE OF PAPER. HE TOOK A PENCIL AND DREW TWO LINES AND THEY WERE PARALLEL. AND YOU PROBABLY COULD HAVE MEASURED THEM AND THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN EXACTLY PARALLEL, AND THEN HE TOOK HIS BRUSH AND SAYS, “OKAY, I’LL PAINT YOUR NAME, I’LL PAINT LYLE.” AND HE TOOK THIS LONG – JUST A REGULAR BRUSH THAT WAS A KIND OF FLOPPY BRUSH AND HE DIPPED IT INTO SOME OIL PAINT AND HE JUST PAINTED MY NAME JUST L-Y-L-E LIKE THAT IN BLOCK LETTERS, IN A MATTER OF SECONDS AND IT WAS PERFECT. AND HE EXPLAINED THAT WHEN YOU PUT THE LETTERS TOGETHER, SOME LETTERS ARE CLOSER THAN OTHER LETTERS TO MATCH, AND HE EXPLAINED ALL THAT TO ME, HOW YOU WOULD DO THAT. THEN HE TOOK IT AND SAID 'YOU CAN DO ITALICS' AND HE MADE THEM ALL SLOPED EVENLY. AND HE SAID, 'I CAN DO IT LIKE IN A JAPANESE STYLE WHERE THE LETTERS ARE BIG ON THE TOP.' AND HE DID THAT ALL IN OIL AND IT WAS LIKE ANY PRINTER THAT YOU SEE TODAY AND ABOUT THE SPEED OF SLOW WRITING. I WAS ASTONISHED.” “SO I USED TO GO IN ONCE IN A WHILE AND VISIT HIM IN THE SHOP AT THAT TIME AND I REMEMBER ONE TIME I – HE ACTUALLY ENCOURAGED ME TO START PAINTING. I STARTED DOING THAT AND HE GAVE ME SOME HINTS, LITTLE THINGS LIKE PERSPECTIVE, VANISHING POINTS, WHAT WERE THE OTHER THINGS, OH, HOW THICK PAINT DOESN’T STICK TO THIN PAINT AND VICE VERSA, AND WHEN YOU USE OIL PAINTS YOU PAINT FROM THE BACK TO THE FRONT. WHEN YOU USE WATERCOLORS, YOU PAINT LIGHT TO DARK, USUALLY – THAT KIND OF THING. HE HELPED ME WITH THAT KIND OF STUFF. HE WAS SHOWING ME.” REMEMBERING HIS UNCLE, LYLE STATES, ”MY UNCLE WAS A VERY NICE MAN. I NEVER SAW HIM EVER ANGRY, EVER. I NEVER HEARD ANYONE EVER SAY THAT HE WAS ANGRY. ONLY ONCE. ONLY ONE TIME THAT I EVEN HEARD THAT HE WAS ANGRY. ONE TIME HE HAD A PAINTING AND MY AUNT DIDN’T LIKE IT SO SHE TOOK OUT SOME PAINTS AND FIXED IT FOR HIM. AND THAT WAS THE ONLY TIME THAT HE WAS ANGRY, THAT I HAVE EVER KNOWN. I THINK HE FORGAVE HER BUT I DON’T THINK SHE TOUCHED HIS PAINTINGS AFTER THAT. SO BASICALLY MY AUNT AND MY UNCLE WERE NICE AND IT WAS A PLEASURE TO GO OVER AND VISIT HIM. HE WAS SO NICE. AND I’M NOT SAYING THAT BECAUSE HE’S MY UNCLE OR ANYTHING- HE JUST WAS A NICE MAN.” WHEN ASKED ABOUT WHAT HE KNEW AT THE TIME OF HIS UNCLE'S ART CAREER, LYLE ADDS, “I DIDN’T REALLY KNOW [ABOUT IT]. I HAD NO CLUE WHAT HE DID. I DIDN’T KNOW HE WAS A FRIEND OF A.Y. JACKSON AND ALL OF THAT…I GUESS HE SOLD THE PAINTINGS BUT I SAW IT MORE OF A HOBBY BECAUSE HE WOULD PAINT A PAINTING AND THEN RE-PAINT IT, LIKE, IF HE DIDN’T LIKE IT HE WOULD JUST PAINT OVER IT. AND BECAUSE HE WAS A SIGN PAINTER. HE WAS ACTUALLY AN ELECTRICIAN BY TRADE. HE WENT TO SAIT AND BECAME AN ELECTRICIAN BUT COULDN’T GET ANY WORK AND STARTED A SIGN BUSINESS AND [IT], TO ME AS A KID, IT WAS JUST A JOB, LIKE DAD’S JOB THAT KIND OF THING, SO YOU HAVE A JOB [AND] YOU GO TO WORK [AND] SO I DIDN’T THINK IT WAS ANYTHING SPECIAL…I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND, AS A KID,... I WENT OFF DOING MY OWN THING. YEAH…HE WAS CLOSE TO FINISHING [HIS CAREER], BY THE TIME I WAS AN ADULT, HE WAS JUST NEAR DONE.” IN 2014, COLLECTIONS ASSISTANT JANE EDMUNDSON CONDUCTED A SURVEY OF ART OBJECTS. THE FOLLOWING BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ON MICHAEL PISKO WAS FOUND IN A PRESS RELEASE ANNOUNCING THE 'MICHAEL PISKO MEMORIAL AWARD', WHICH WAS ESTABLISHED BY THE ARTIST'S WIDOW AND THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS IN 2000, TO BE AWARDED TO A GRADUATING BFA DEGREE PAINTER FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE: "MICHAEL PISKO WAS BORN IN LETHBRIDGE IN 1913. HE MADE HIS LIVING AS A SUCCESSFUL SIGN PAINTER THROUGH HIS BUSINESS, CITY SIGN COMPANY, BUT LANDSCAPE PAINTING WAS HIS LIFE'S FULFILLMENT. TO HONE HIS SKILLS, HE STUDIED THREE SUMMERS AT THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS AND SOUGHT INSTRUCTION FROM SENIOR VISITING ARTISTS WHO CAME TO LETHBRIDGE ON INVITATION OF THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB, OF WHICH HE, IN 1937, WAS ONE OF THE FOUNDING MEMBERS. PISKO GREATLY ADMIRED A.Y. JACKSON, THE GROUP OF SEVEN MASTER, WITH WHOM HE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SKETCH AND PAINT AROUND LETHBRIDGE WHENEVER JACKSON CAME TO TOWN TO VISIT HIS BROTHER. HE WAS ALSO DEEPLY INFLUENCED BY H.G. GLYDE, WHO TAUGHT AT THE ALBERTA COLLEGE OF ART IN CALGARY AND AT THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS AND WHO VISITED LETHBRIDGE TO TEACH ART CLASSES AT THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB. IN 1947 PISKO WAS ACCEPTED FOR MEMBERSHIP IN THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS. HE WAS A PROLIFIC PAINTER, WHO EXHIBITED REGULARLY WITH THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB AND THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS. HIS WORK IS REPRESENTED IN MANY PRIVATE, CORPORATE AND PUBLIC COLLECTIONS, AMONG THEM THE ALBERTA FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS AND THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE. MICHAEL PISKO PASSED AWAY IN 1999." THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB HELD THEIR FIRST MEETING AT THE HOME OF MISS ANNA MACKENZIE ON OCTOBER 7, 1936. EDITH FANNY KIRK WAS THE FIRST ART TEACHER IN LETHBRIDGE. SHE CAME FROM BRITAIN WITH CLASSICAL TRAINING AND IT WAS KIRK WHO SET THE STAGE FOR THE SKETCH CLUB TO COME INTO BEING. THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS ALSO PLAYED A ROLE IN THE FORMATION BY PROVIDING RECOGNITION OF ARTISTIC MERIT THROUGH DISTRICT SCHOLARSHIPS. ANNA MACKENZIE AND P.J. COLLINS CONCEIVED OF THE CLUB AFTER THEIR EXPERIENCE IN BANFF. THE GROUP WAS FORMED OUT OF AN ENTHUSIASTIC INTEREST IN ART AND SOON AFTER THE GROUP BEGAN MEETING, THERE WERE REGULAR EXHIBITIONS. THE GROUP WAS PRIVY TO THE ATTENTION OF GROUP OF SEVEN ARTIST A.Y.JACKSON WHEN HE MADE HIS FREQUENT SKETCHING TRIPS TO SOUTHERN ALBERTA. HE REGULARLY ACCOMPANIED THE SKETCH CLUB AND HIS INFLUENCE CAN BE SEEN IN MUCH OF THEIR WORK. ANOTHER GUEST OF THE GROUP WAS ANNORA BROWN WHO WAS AN ARTIST WHO HAD TRAINED IN TORONTO, BUT RESIDED IN FORT MACLEOD AND BEGAN SPENDING TIME WITH THE GROUP IN 1939. HER INTEREST IN FLOWER STUDIES IS SUSPECTED TO HAVE INSPIRED MANY OF THE WORKS BY CLUB MEMBERS. DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS, THE GROUP ORGANIZED SUMMER CLASSES TAUGHT BY OUT OF TOWN ARTISTS SUCH AS: H.G.GLYDE, WALTER J. PHILIPS AND A.C. LEIGHTON. ACCORDING TO A HISTORY OF THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB WRITTEN BY JOAN STEBBINS IN JUNE, 1985, “THE PAINTINGS OF THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB PORTRAY FAVOURITE SKETCHING AREAS IN THE REGION – THE COULEES PROVIDED ENDLESS MATERIAL, THE RIVERBOTTOM, THE OLD R.C.M.P. BARRACKS, THE WHITNEY FARM, HENDERSON LAKE, THE FELGER HUTTERITE COLONY, THE FOOTHILLS AND WATERTON LAKE WERE OFTEN REPEATED SUBJECTS.” FOR COPIES OF LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES ON PISKO AND HIS CAREER, AS WELL AS PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS FOR THE 1995 ARTWALK DEDICATED TO HIM, SEE PERMANENT FILE P19920009001-GA. FOR MORE INFORMATION, INCLUDING THE FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION AND LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES, PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE P20200016001-GA.
Catalogue Number
P20200016003
Acquisition Date
2020-06
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Other Name
COAT OF ARMS (FRAMED)
Date Range From
1966
Date Range To
1985
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
GLASS, PLASTIC, PAPER
Catalogue Number
P19870034023
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
COAT OF ARMS (FRAMED)
Date Range From
1966
Date Range To
1985
Materials
GLASS, PLASTIC, PAPER
No. Pieces
1
Length
31.2
Width
24.1
Description
FRAME DIMENSIONS ABOVE. COAT OF ARMS OF THE STAFFORDSHIRE REGIMENT. 1ST BATTALLION (THE PRINCE OF WALES') SURROUNDED BY BATTLE RIBBONS 1914 TO 1944.
Subjects
ART
Historical Association
FINE ARTS
MILITARY
History
FROM FORMER MAYOR A.C. ANDERSON'S OFFICE. SEE P19870034001-GA FOR HISTORY. *UPDATE* IN 2014 COLLECTIONS ASSISTANT JANE EDMUNDSON COMPILED THE FOLLOWING BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ABOUT A. C. ANDERSON FROM GALT ARCHIVES RECORD 20061053009: "ANDREW CHARLES (ANDY) ANDERSON WAS BORN IN 1909 IN SHABBONA, ILLINOIS, THE ELDEST OF SIX CHILDREN OF CHARLES ERIC AND BERTHA ANDERSON (NEE OSTERVIG). THE ANDERSON FAMILY MOVED TO CHAMPION, ALBERTA IN 1912. ANDY ANDERSON WORKED ON THE FAMILY FARM UNTIL 1930, A YEAR AFTER HIS FATHER’S DEATH. HE THEN DECIDED TO LEAVE THE FARM AND ENTER THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA. IN 1934 MR. ANDERSON GRADUATED FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA WITH A PHM.C. (PHARMACEUTICAL CHEMIST) DEGREE. HE APPRENTICED WITH J.D. HENDERSON IN CHAMPION, AND THEN MOVED TO LETHBRIDGE WHERE HE WAS EMPLOYED BY THE R.J. KITSON PHARMACY FOR 14 YEARS. IN 1948 MR. ANDERSON ESTABLISHED ANDERSON’S MEDICAL DENTAL PHARAMCY. THE PHARMACY STILL OPERATES UNDER THE OWNERSHIP OF MR. ANDERSON’S SON MURRAY. ANDY ANDERSON MARRIED HIS WIFE RHETA IN 1938 IN CHAMPION. AS WELL AS THEIR SON MURRAY, THE ANDERSONS HAD A DAUGHTER MARILYN (MARRIED LEW HUTCHISON). ANDY ANDERSON ENTERED PUBLIC LIFE IN 1950 WHEN HE WAS ELECTED TO THE LETHBRIDGE PUBLIC SCHOOL BOARD (LPSB). HE SERVED ON THE LPSB FOR 14 YEARS AND WAS ITS CHAIRMAN IN 1954, 1958 AND 1962. IN 1964, ANDY ANDERSON WAS ELECTED TO LETHBRIDGE CITY COUNCIL AND SERVED AS AN ALDERMAN UNTIL 1968. IN MARCH 1968 MR. ANDERSON BECAME THE MAYOR OF LETHBRIDGE WHEN HE CHOSEN FOR THE POSITION BY THE OTHER MEMBERS OF CITY COUNCIL FOLLOWING MAYOR FRANK SHERRING’S RESIGNATION ON 5 MARCH 1968. ANDY ANDERSON BECAME THE LONGEST SERVING MAYOR IN LETHBRIDGE HISTORY, RETIRING FROM OFFICE IN 1986. HE WON FOUR MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS, AND WAS ACCLAIMED MAYOR TWICE AS WELL. AS WELL AS HIS POLITICAL CAREER AND PHARMACY BUSINESS, MR. ANDERSON WAS INVOLVED WITH A WIDE RANGE OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS. AMONG THEM ARE THE LETHBRIDGE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, ST. MICHAEL’S HOSPITAL ADVISORY BOARD, UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE SENATE AND BOARD OF GOVERNORS, LETHBRIDGE RECREATION COMMISSION, THE COMMUNITY CHEST, SOUTHMINSTER UNITED CHURCH, ROYAL CANADIAN SEA CADET CORPS, CANADIAN WESTERN NATURAL GAS, MASONIC LODGE NO. 39, THE KINSMEN CLUB, THE ROTARY CLUB, INDEPENDENT ORDER OF ODD FELLOWS (IOOF), CHINOOK CLUB AND THE BENEVOLENT AND PROTECTIVE ORDER OF ELKS (BPOE). HE WAS ALSO AN HONOURARY MEMBER OF THE LETHBRIDGE AND DISTRICT HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY, GENERAL STEWART BRANCH NO. 4 ROYAL CANADIAN LEGION, AND THE POLISH COMBATANTS ASSOCIATION. ANDY ANDERSON ALSO SERVED AS A MEMBER OF THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL OF THE CANADIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, THE PROVINCIAL MUNICIPAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE, THE EXECUTIVE OF THE CANADIAN FEDERATION OF MAYORS AND MUNICIPALITIES, THE ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION AUTHORITY COMMITTEE, HONOURARY PRESIDENT OF ST. JOHN AMBULANCE, AND AS THE HONOURARY COLONEL OF THE 20TH INDEPENDENT FIELD BATTERY RCA. AMONG THE AWARDS AND HONOURS ANDY ANDERSON RECEIVED DURING HIS LIFE WERE A PAUL HARRIS FELLOWSHIP FROM ROTARY INTERNATIONAL; CERTIFICATE OF MERIT FROM THE ROYAL CANADIAN LEGION; GOOD CITIZENSHIP AWARD FROM THE IOOF; CITIZEN OF THE YEAR AWARD FROM THE JAYCEES (1985); AWARD OF EXCELLENCE FROM THE ALBERTA URBAN MUNICIPALITIES ASSOCIATION (1983); MERITORIUS SERVICE AWARD FROM THE CANADIAN PHARMACEUTICAL ASSOCIATION (1977); ROBINS COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD (1963); THE QUEEN’S MEDAL (1977); BROTHER OF THE ORDER OF ST. JOHN (1983), LATER PROMOTED TO OFFICER; HONOURARY DOCTOR OF LAWS DEGREE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE (1985); AND A MEMBER OF THE ORDER OF CANADA (1985). ANDREW CHARLES ANDERSON DIED ON 23 APRIL 1996 AND IS BURIED IN MOUNTAIN VIEW CEMETERY, LETHBRIDGE. HIS WIFE RHETA DIED IN 2011 AND IS BURIED IN MOUNTAIN VIEW CEMETERY AS WELL. [SOURCE: ARCHIVES VERTICAL FILE, "PEOPLE, IDENTIFIED - A"] IT IS NOT KNOWN WHY ANDERSON HAD THIS COAT OF ARMS IN HIS OFFICE, AS HE DID NOT SERVE IN THE STAFFORDSHIRE REGIMENT. THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION ABOUT THE PRINCE OF WALES' NORTH STAFFORDSHIRE REGIMENT WAS FOUND ON THE WEBISTE OF THE UNITED KINGDOM'S NATIONAL ARMY MUSEUM. THE REGIMENT FORMED DURING THE 1881 BRITISH ARMY REFORMS BY MERGING THE 64TH AND 98TH REGIMENTS OF FOOT, THE 64TH BECOMING THE NEW UNIT'S 1ST BATTALION AND THE 98TH, THE 2ND. THE 1ST SERVED IN SOUTH AFRICA, MAURITIUS, MALTA, EGYPT, SUDAN, AND INDIA. THE 2ND SERVED IN THE BOER WAR AND INDIA. BOTH BATTALIONS STAYED IN THE SAME THEATRE THROUGHOUT WORLD WAR ONE, AND IN 1919 THE 1ST WAS SENT TO IRELAND FOR THE IRISH WAR OF INDEPENDENCE, AND THEN TO INDIA FOR GARRISON DUTIES UNTIL ACTION IN BURMA DURING WORLD WAR TWO. IN 1948 THE TWO BATTLIONS MERGED AND WERE STATIONED IN EGYPT. IN 1959 THE REGIMENT WAS COMBINED WITH THE SOUTH STAFFORDSHIRE REGIMENT. SEE PERMANENT FILE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Catalogue Number
P19870034023
Acquisition Date
1987-11
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Other Name
COALMINER'S SYMPHONY
Date Range From
1970
Date Range To
1980
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
ACRYLIC ON MASONITE
Catalogue Number
P19770039000
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
COALMINER'S SYMPHONY
Date Range From
1970
Date Range To
1980
Materials
ACRYLIC ON MASONITE
No. Pieces
1
Length
68.0
Width
50.8
Description
PAINTING IS COMPOSED OF SHAPES RESEMBLING THE TOOLS USED BY COAL MINERS BEFOR MECHANIZATION. PICK, SHOVEL, DYNAMITE STICKS, FUSES, TAMPING BAR, CHAIN, CARBIDE LAMP, LUNCH BUCKET, AUGER, COAL CARS, MINE TIPPLE & UNDERGROUND WORKINGS. TITLED: "COALMINER'S SYMPHONY" A VARIETY OF COLORS USED.
Subjects
ART
Historical Association
FINE ARTS
COAL MINING
History
LOCAL ARTIST, A STRONG SUPPORTER OF THE WORKING MAN ORIGINS OF CITY. DELIBERATE CLASHING OF COLOURS INDICATES THE DIRTY, UNHEALTHY & DANGEROUS CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH MINERS TOILED. STRONG LIGHT EMANATING FROM THE LAMP SYMBOLIZES THE ENERGY HE EXERTED IN ORDER TO EKE OUT A BARE EXISTENCE. ARTIST IS MICHAEL PISKO OF LETHBRIDGE WHO HAD HIS OWN SIGN PAINTING/COMMERCIAL ART BUSINESS IN THE CITY. NOW RETIRED. *UPDATE* IN 2014 COLLECTIONS ASSISTANT JANE EDMUNDSON CONDUCTED A SURVEY OF ART OBJECTS. THE FOLLOWING BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ON MICHAEL PISKO WAS FOUND IN A PRESS RELEASE ANNOUNCING THE 'MICHAEL PISKO MEMORIAL AWARD', WHICH WAS ESTABLISHED BY THE ARTIST'S WIDOW AND THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS IN 2000, TO BE AWARDED TO A GRADUATING BFA DEGREE PAINTER FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE: "MICHAEL PISKO WAS BORN IN LETHBRIDGE IN 1913. HE MADE HIS LIVING AS A SUCCESSFUL SIGN PAINTER THROUGH HIS BUSINESS, CITY SIGN COMPANY, BUT LANDSCAPE PAINTING WAS HIS LIFE'S FULFILLMENT. TO HONE HIS SKILLS, HE STUDIED THREE SUMMERS AT THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS AND SOUGHT INSTRUCTION FROM SENIOR VISITING ARTISTS WHO CAME TO LETHBRIDGE ON INVITATION OF THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB, OF WHICH HE, IN 1937, WAS ONE OF THE FOUNDING MEMBERS. PISKO GREATLY ADMIRED A.Y. JACKSON, THE GROUP OF SEVEN MASTER, WITH WHOM HE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SKETCH AND PAINT AROUND LETHBRIDGE WHENEVER JACKSON CAME TO TOWN TO VISIT HIS BROTHER. HE WAS ALSO DEEPLY INFLUENCED BY H.G. GLYDE, WHO TAUGHT AT THE ALBERTA COLLEGE OF ART IN CALGARY AND AT THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS AND WHO VISITED LETHBRIDGE TO TEACH ART CLASSES AT THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB. IN 1947 PISKO WAS ACCEPTED FOR MEMBERSHIP IN THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS. HE WAS A PROLIFIC PAINTER, WHO EXHIBITED REGULARLY WITH THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB AND THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS. HIS WORK IS REPRESENTED IN MANY PRIVATE, CORPORATE AND PUBLIC COLLECTIONS, AMONG THEM THE ALBERTA FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS AND THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE. MICHAEL PISKO PASSED AWAY IN 1999." THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB HELD THEIR FIRST MEETING AT THE HOME OF MISS ANNA MACKENZIE ON OCTOBER 7, 1936. EDITH FANNY KIRK WAS THE FIRST ART TEACHER IN LETHBRIDGE. SHE CAME FROM BRITAIN WITH CLASSICAL TRAINING AND IT WAS KIRK WHO SET THE STAGE FOR THE SKETCH CLUB TO COME INTO BEING. THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS ALSO PLAYED A ROLE IN THE FORMATION BY PROVIDING RECOGNITION OF ARTISTIC MERIT THROUGH DISTRICT SCHOLARSHIPS. ANNA MACKENZIE AND P.J. COLLINS CONCEIVED OF THE CLUB AFTER THEIR EXPERIENCE IN BANFF. THE GROUP WAS FORMED OUT OF AN ENTHUSIASTIC INTEREST IN ART AND SOON AFTER THE GROUP BEGAN MEETING, THERE WERE REGULAR EXHIBITIONS. THE GROUP WAS PRIVY TO THE ATTENTION OF GROUP OF SEVEN ARTIST A.Y.JACKSON WHEN HE MADE HIS FREQUENT SKETCHING TRIPS TO SOUTHERN ALBERTA. HE REGULARLY ACCOMPANIED THE SKETCH CLUB AND HIS INFLUENCE CAN BE SEEN IN MUCH OF THEIR WORK. ANOTHER GUEST OF THE GROUP WAS ANNORA BROWN WHO WAS AN ARTIST WHO HAD TRAINED IN TORONTO, BUT RESIDED IN FORT MACLEOD AND BEGAN SPENDING TIME WITH THE GROUP IN 1939. HER INTEREST IN FLOWER STUDIES IS SUSPECTED TO HAVE INSPIRED MANY OF THE WORKS BY CLUB MEMBERS. DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS, THE GROUP ORGANIZED SUMMER CLASSES TAUGHT BY OUT OF TOWN ARTISTS SUCH AS: H.G.GLYDE, WALTER J. PHILIPS AND A.C. LEIGHTON. ACCORDING TO A HISTORY OF THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB WRITTEN BY JOAN STEBBINS IN JUNE, 1985, “THE PAINTINGS OF THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB PORTRAY FAVOURITE SKETCHING AREAS IN THE REGION – THE COULEES PROVIDED ENDLESS MATERIAL, THE RIVERBOTTOM, THE OLD R.C.M.P. BARRACKS, THE WHITNEY FARM, HENDERSON LAKE, THE FELGER HUTTERITE COLONY, THE FOOTHILLS AND WATERTON LAKE WERE OFTEN REPEATED SUBJECTS.” FOR COPIES OF LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES ON PISKO AND HIS CAREER, AS WELL AS PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS FOR THE 1995 ARTWALK DEDICATED TO HIM, SEE PERMANENT FILE P19920009001.
Catalogue Number
P19770039000
Acquisition Date
1977-04
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Other Name
SKETCH
Date Range From
1970
Date Range To
1980
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
WOOD, GLASS, PAPER
Catalogue Number
P19960054001
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
SKETCH
Date Range From
1970
Date Range To
1980
Materials
WOOD, GLASS, PAPER
No. Pieces
1
Height
2.9
Length
72.5
Width
62.2
Description
HAND DRAWN INK SKETCH OF 1913 POST OFFICE IN WOOD FRAME. FRAME IS FANCY BEVELED PIECES WITH DOVE TAIL JOINTS. WOOD HAS SCROLL WORK CARVED INTO ITS SURFACE WITH GOLD PAINTING OVER WHITE. FRAME HAS BLACK MATTING AND FLAT GLASS PANE. SKETCH IS OF 1913 POST OFFICE IN LETHBRIDGE. HAS MAPLE LEAF CANADIAN FLAG. IN BOTTOM LEFT HAND CORNER IS ARTIST'S SIGNATURE "JERRY ARNOLD". EDGES AND CORNERS OF FRAME ARE WORN.
Subjects
DOCUMENTARY ARTIFACT
ART
Historical Association
FINE ARTS
History
SKETCH WAS DRAWN FOR USE BY THE CITY OF LETHBRIDGE. *UPDATE* IN 2014 COLLECTIONS ASSISTANT JANE EDMUNDSON CONDUCTED A SURVEY OF ART OBJECTS. THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION ON THE ARTIST, JERRY ARNOLD, WAS COMPILED FROM WEB SOURCES INCLUDING DOWNTOWNLETHBRIDGE.COM AND SOUTHERNALBERTA.COM. JERRY ARNOLD HAS WORKED AS A PROFESSIONAL ARTIST FOR MUCH OF HIS ADULT LIFE. IN 1994 HE OPENED THE JERRY ARNOLD GALLERY AND CUSTOM FRAMING BUSINESS ON 3RD AVENUE SOUTH. THE GALLERY SHOWCASES A VARIETY OF CONTEMPORARY CANADIAN LANDSCAPE AND WILDLIFE ART, AS WELL AS A COLLECTION OF INUIT SCULPTURE. ARNOLD WORKS FROM HIS STUDIO, LOCATED IN THE GALLERY.
Catalogue Number
P19960054001
Acquisition Date
1996-05
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Other Name
“THEY SHALL BEAT THEIR SWORDS INTO PLOWSHARES…”
Date Range From
1975
Date Range To
1980
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
BRONZE
Catalogue Number
P20140028000
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
“THEY SHALL BEAT THEIR SWORDS INTO PLOWSHARES…”
Date Range From
1975
Date Range To
1980
Materials
BRONZE
No. Pieces
1
Height
38.25
Length
92
Width
1.5
Description
RECTANGULAR PLAQUE MADE OF CAST BRONZE. IMAGE IN LOW RELIEF DEPICTS A FARMER SITTING BEHIND A PLOW BEING PULLED BY SIX HORSES. TEXT RUNNING ALONG THE BOTTOM EDGE READS “THEY SHALL BEAT THEIR SWORDS INTO PLOWSHARES… ISA. 2:4”. VERY GOOD CONDITION OVERALL.
Subjects
ART
PERSONAL SYMBOL
Historical Association
FINE ARTS
COMMEMORATIVE
RELIGION
History
THIS PLAQUE BELONGED TO JACOB AND KATHERINE KLASSEN, PARENTS OF THE DONOR, BEV HALL. IT WAS CREATED BY THE ARTIST JOHN PETER KLASSEN, JACOB'S UNCLE. ON JULY 22, 2014, COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN INTERVIEWED BEV HALL AND HER UNCLE, JOHN KLASSEN, ABOUT THEIR FAMILY HISTORY AND ASSOCIATION WITH THIS PLAQUE. KLASSEN SAID: “[OUR FAMILY] HAD TREMENDOUS PROSPERITY [IN THE UKRAINE] UP UNTIL THE FIRST WORLD WAR, AND THAT’S WHEN THINGS STARTED TO GET BAD. AND IN 1917, THE COMMUNIST REVOLUTION TOOK ON, AND THE AREA THAT THESE PEOPLE LIVED IN, THEY LIVED IN VILLAGE, AND THERE WAS REVOLUTION. THEY HAD THE RED ARMY WHO SUPPORTED THE TSAR OF RUSSIA, AND THEN, OF COURSE, THE COMMUNIST GROUP, UNDER LENIN, THEY WERE THE WHITE ARMY, THEY CALLED IT. AND WHERE THESE PEOPLE LIVED, THEY WERE IN KIND OF A TRANSITION AREA. IT’S THE SAME AREA NOW THAT’S IN TROUBLE IN THE UKRAINE. THE RED ARMY WOULD COME THROUGH, AND WHEN THEY CAME THROUGH THE VILLAGES, THEY WOULD TAKE THEIR HORSES, THEIR LIVESTOCK, MURDER AND RAPE. IT WAS TERRIBLE. WHEN THEY GOT DRIVEN BACK, THEN THE WHITE ARMY DID THE SAME THING, AND, SO THEY WERE RUNNING FOR THEIR LIVES. AND, AS IF THAT WASN’T BAD ENOUGH THEY HAD A TYPHUS EPIDEMIC DURING THAT TIME, AND THEN IN 1920, THEY HAD A DROUGHT, A FAMINE, AND, BECAUSE IT WAS WARFARE, THEY WEREN’T ALLOWED, NOBODY COULD GO OUT IN A FIELD. YOU’D GET SHOT IF YOU DID, AND SO NOBODY WAS GROWING FOOD, JUST HORRIBLE CONDITIONS. SO THIS IS WHAT ENCOURAGED THEM TO LEAVE, TO MIGRATE.” KLASSEN CONTINUED: “[IMMIGRANTS] CAME PENNILESS. IN FACT, THEY CAME IN DEBT. IT WAS THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILROAD THAT FUNDED THEIR PASSAGE, AND, AFTER THEY WERE HERE SEVERAL YEARS, THEY REPAID THE PASSAGE. AND THE AGREEMENT WAS, THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA WANTED TO SETTLE WESTERN CANADA, AND THEY’D HEARD THAT MENNONITES ARE GOOD FARMERS AND THEY HAD BEEN VERY PROSPEROUS IN THE UKRAINE, AND SO THEY BROUGHT THEM OVER… AND THE CPR NEEDED TO GET FREIGHT FOR THEIR TRAINS, SO THEY WANTED TO SETTLE THE WEST WITH FARMERS [TOO]… AND THAT WAS THE CONDITION OF THEIR IMMIGRATION, WAS THAT THEY WOULD BE FARMERS… LAND WAS PRETTY WELL FREE. OR YOU COULD GET IT ON A CROP SHARE BASIS… I THINK THAT’S HOW [MY FATHER HENRY] GOT THE FIRST LAND. AND THEN THEY WOULD GIVE A QUARTER OF THEIR CROP FOR PAYMENT EACH YEAR. SO THERE WAS SO MUCH LAND HERE, SO THE COUNTRY WAS SHORT OF LABOUR, SHORT OF FARMERS. AND IT WAS BACK BREAKING WORK. IT WAS REALLY DIFFICULT. AND THE WOMEN AND THE KIDS WERE OUT IN THE FIELDS HOEING BEETS, AND DOING FARM WORK… MY DAD WAS THE FIRST MENNONITE IN VAUXHALL. THEN THERE WERE OTHERS CAME IN THAT SAME FALL, AND NEXT YEAR, AND SO IT GOT TO BE A FAIRLY PROSPEROUS COMMUNITY AND THERE ARE ACTUALLY TWO MENNONITE CHURCHES THERE [NOW].” WHEN ASKED ABOUT HIS UNCLE JOHN PETER KLASSEN, THE ARTIST OF THIS PLAQUE, KLASSEN SAID “HE WAS AN ART INSTRUCTOR [AT BLUFFTON COLLEGE]… [BEFORE IMMIGRATING] HE STUDIED ART IN SWITZERLAND AND IN GERMANY, [FOR] NINE YEARS. AND IT WAS IN 1914 WHEN THE FIRST WORLD WAR BROKE OUT AND HE WAS WITHIN ONE YEAR OF HIS PHD IN ART, WHEN ALL THE RUSSIAN CITIZENS FROM THE UKRAINE AND RUSSIA WERE CALLED BACK BECAUSE OF THE WAR, SO THAT ENDED HIS INTELLECTUAL TRAINING… BECAUSE OF THE REVOLUTION THAT FOLLOWED AFTER 1917 IN RUSSIA, THEY LOST ALL THEIR PROPERTY… [THE KLASSEN FAMILY] IMMIGRATED TO CANADA IN 1923… HE GOT A JOB IN EDMONTON AS A BRICKLAYER, [BUT SIX MONTHS LATER] GOT THIS OFFER IN BLUFFTON. THEY WANTED TO START AN ART DEPARTMENT. THEY’D HEARD ABOUT HIM, AND SO HE MIGRATED TO THE UNITED STATES… HE WAS AN ART PROFESSOR FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE, FOR 34 YEARS, I BELIEVE… THIS [EDITION OF PLAQUES] WAS KIND OF HIS MAJOR WORK THAT HE DID THERE, AND [THERE ARE PLAQUES] IN BLUFFTON COLLEGE [AND] ALSO IN THE MUSEUM IN GRETNA, MANITOBA.” ACCORDING TO JOHN KLASSEN, PAUL KLASSEN, SON OF THE ARTIST, HAD A SECOND EDITION OF PLAQUES MADE FROM HIS FATHER’S ORIGINAL MOULD IN 1980, TO BE DISTRIBUTED TO KLASSEN FAMILY MEMBERS. KLASSEN SAID: “HE HAD THESE MADE, CONTRACTED IN A FOUNDRY, TO POUR THEM FOR THEM. SO HE HAD TO HAVE FIRM ORDERS TO HAVE THIS DONE… THAT’S AS MANY AS THEY MADE AT THAT TIME… [PAUL] ASKED WHETHER WE’D WANT IT, AND WE SIGNED UP FOR IT [AT A FAMILY REUNION], AND, I THINK, AT THAT TIME THEY WERE CLOSE TO $300.00 APIECE… MY BROTHER LIVED IN GLASGOW, MONTANA, AND [THE PLAQUE WAS] SHIPPED THERE, AND THEN WE PUT IT IN THE BACK OF THE CAR, AND THE CAR KIND OF WENT DOWN WHEN WE PUT THIS HUNDRED POUND PLAQUE IN THE BACK…” BEV HALL DESCRIBED HER PARENTS’ RELATIONSHIP TO THE PLAQUE, SAYING: “DAD AND MUM WOULD’VE ATTENDED THAT FAMILY REUNION, AND DAD WOULD’VE PUT IN AN ORDER FOR THE PLAQUE. I JUST REMEMBER A STORY OF SOMETHING ABOUT WHEN THEY BROUGHT [THE PLAQUES] ACROSS THE LINE; THEY HAD DIFFICULTY GOING THROUGH CUSTOMS BECAUSE CUSTOMS DIDN’T REALLY KNOW WHAT CATEGORY TO PUT IT UNDER. SO THE STORY I HEARD WAS THAT THEY DECIDED JUST TO CALL IT ‘SCRAP METAL’, TO BRING IT ACROSS… [THE PLAQUE REPRESENTS] THE HISTORY NOT ONLY OF THE FAMILY BUT THE FAITH THAT BROUGHT THE FAMILY ACROSS TO CANADA. SO, IT’S THE FOUNDATION… THE BUILDING BLOCK… I JUST THINK THAT IT SHOULD BE HONORED, NOT ONLY AS A PIECE OF ART, BUT ALSO FOR EVERYTHING IT SIGNIFIES TO US AS A FAMILY… IT’S OUR HISTORY: THE AGRICULTURE AND THE FAITH, TOGETHER.” WHEN ASKED ABOUT THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE BIBLICAL PASSAGE REFERENCED ON THE PLAQUE, JOHN KLASSEN SAID: “PART OF OUR FAITH IS TO LEARN TO DO GOOD, SEEK JUSTICE, RESCUE THE OPPRESSED, DEFEND THE ORPHAN; PLEAD THE CAUSE OF THE WIDOW, AND THIS IS KIND OF AN EXPRESSION OF OUR FAITH IN THAT, THAT’S WHAT OUR FAITH STANDS FOR. THE QUOTATION ON THE BOTTOM THERE IS FROM THE BOOK OF ISAIAH THE PROPHET. IT SAYS THAT, “THEY SHALL BEAT THEIR SWORDS INTO PLOUGHSHARES; THEIR SPEARS INTO PRUNING HOOKS. NATIONS SHALL NOT LIFT UP SWORD AGAINST NATION; NEITHER SHALL THEY LEARN WAR ANYMORE.” AND, THE MENNONITES ARE PACIFISTS… WE WILL DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO WORK FOR PEACE BUT WE WILL NOT BE INVOLVED IN WAR.” THE FOLLOWING BIOGRAPHY OF THE ARTIST, JOHN PETER KLASSEN, WAS DEVELOPED WITH INFORMATION FROM THE BOOK ‘ARTIST AS PEACEMAKER’, PUBLISHED BY BLUFFTON COLLEGE (OHIO), 1989. KLASSEN WAS BORN IN 1888 IN CHORTITZA, UKRAINE, A MENNONITE SETTLEMENT. HE STUDIED ART IN SWITZERLAND AND GERMANY BEFORE THE OUTBREAK OF WORLD WAR I, WHEN HE WAS CALLED BACK TO RUSSIA FOR MANDATORY SERVICE. KLASSEN AND OTHER MENNONITES SERVED WITH THE RED CROSS AS A PACIFIST ALTERNATIVE TO BEARING ARMS. IN 1921 HE MARRIED ANNA DYCK, AND THEY IMMIGRATED TO CANADA WITH THEIR YOUNG SON THE FOLLOWING YEAR. DURING THE FAMILY’S FIRST YEAR IN CANADA, KLASSEN RECEIVED AN OFFER TO JOIN THE NEW BLUFFTON COLLEGE ART FACULTY IN BLUFFTON, OHIO, WHERE THE FAMILY SETTLED IN 1924. IN 1931 KLASSEN’S APPLICATION FOR AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP WAS DENIED DUE TO HIS REFUSAL TO PLEDGE TO BEAR ARMS IN DEFENSE OF THE UNITED STATES. TWO YEARS LATER THE DECISION WAS OVERTURNED, AND LED TO A CHANGE IN THE OATH TAKEN BE APPLICANTS FOR CITIZENSHIP OF THE UNITED STATES. KLASSEN RETIRED FROM BLUFFTON COLLEGE IN 1959, AND DIED IN 1975. SEE PERMANENT FILE FOR HARDCOPIES OF THE FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT AND SOURCE MATERIALS.
Catalogue Number
P20140028000
Acquisition Date
2014-07
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Date Range From
1940
Date Range To
1999
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
WOOD, METAL, BRSTLES
Catalogue Number
P20200016017
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Date Range From
1940
Date Range To
1999
Materials
WOOD, METAL, BRSTLES
No. Pieces
1
Length
27.8
Diameter
0.5
Description
BLACK HANDLED PAINT BRUSH, WITH PALE BLONDE BRISTLES IN A FLAT FORMATION, HELD WITH A NICKEL COLOURED METAL BAND. IN FADED SILVER TEXT DOWN THE SIDE OF THE HANDLE, THE BRUSH READS, “2 UNIVERSITY ART CENTER SERIES 267-F”. PALE RESIDUE WRAPS AROUND BRUSH HANDLE BETWEEN “2” AND “UNIVERSITY”. THE HANDLE HAS SMALL DENTS IN ITS SURFACE, ESPECIALLY THE END OF IT WHERE THERE IS ALSO A 0.5 CM GOUGE AT ITS VERY TIP, EXPOSING WOOD. BRISTLES HAVE A BIT OF RED STAINING.
Subjects
PAINTING T&E
Historical Association
FINE ARTS
History
ON OCTOBER 8, 2020, COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN INTERVIEWED LYLE PENNINGTON REGARDING ANY MEMORIES OF HIS UNCLE “MIKE” MICHAEL PISKO (1913-1999), ABOUT THE DONATED DRAWINGS AND ART MATERIALS. ON SEEING HIS UNCLE PAINT, LYLE RECALLS, “WELL, I CAN REMEMBER MY UNCLE USING THIS WOODEN [EASEL] (P20200016007) BECAUSE WHEN I WAS ABOUT SIX YEARS OLD, HE SET THIS WOODEN EASEL UP. HE WAS BABYSITTING ME THAT ONE DAY...I WAS YOUNG AND HE SET THIS STAND UP AND HE SAID, 'WE’RE GOING TO PAINT A PAINTING TOGETHER.' HE GOT A PALETTE OUT AND HE PUT ALL THESE OIL PAINTS ON AND SHOWED ME HOW TO PUT THEM ALL ON AND THEN GOT THIS KNIFE THING OUT, IT’S A PALETTE KNIFE- IT WAS A FAIRLY BIG ONE AND IT WAS A FAIRLY BIG…PAINTING. IT WAS MAYBE 2 FEET WIDE AND 3 FEET HIGH AND I ASKED HIM WHAT HE WAS GOING TO PAINT AND HE SAID, 'I DON’T KNOW'. THEN HE STARTED SHOWING ME HOW TO MIX THE PAINTS AND PUTTING THEM ON, HE JUST SLOPPED THEM ON AND I KEPT ASKING, 'WHAT IS IT?' AND HE SAYS, 'I HAVEN’T DECIDED.' AND THERE WAS GREENS AND REDS AND YELLOWS. AND I'M WAITING AND WAITING AND I KEPT ASKING WHAT HE WAS PAINTING AND I COULDN’T MAKE HEAD OR TAILS OF IT BECAUSE HE DIDN’T START ANYWHERE. HE WAS PUTTING IT EVERYWHERE AND THEN FINALLY, JUST IN ONE MAGIC STROKE, THERE WAS A WHOLE BOUQUET OF FLOWERS AND I WAS SHOCKED. AND I SAID, 'UNCLE MIKE, THEY’RE FLOWERS.' AND THEN HE CONTINUED ON AND THEN HE SAYS, 'WHAT DO YOU THINK?' AND I SAYS, 'THEY LOOK REAL.' THEN HE SAYS, 'YEAH, I THINK THIS ONE’S GOOD.' AND THEN HE SHOWED ME HOW TO SIGN THE PAINTING- HE TOOK SOME RED PAINT AND THEN HE THINNED IT WITH SOME TURPENTINE AND HE TOOK THIS LITTLE TINY BRUSH AND HE ROLLED IT IN THE RED PAINT AND THEN HE SIGNED HIS NAME ON THE BOTTOM LEFTSIDE…I REMEMBER IT VIVIDLY BECAUSE I COULDN’T BELIEVE THE PAINTING SUDDENLY IN ONE STROKE MADE SENSE, IT WAS LIKE MAGIC. HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS PAINTING BUT I DIDN'T. I HAD NO CLUE. HE JUST GRINNED AT ME WHEN I SAID, 'IT’S FLOWERS.' YEAH, IT WAS A WHOLE BOUQUET OF FLOWERS IN A VASE.” “THAT WAS THE ONE TIME THAT I GOT TO SEE HIM ACTUALLY PAINT A PAINTING. THAT WAS THE ONLY PAINTING I SAW HIM PAINT. I DON’T THINK MANY OTHERS SAW HIM PAINT THE MANY PAINTINGS THAT HE DID. HE DID IT SORT OF PRIVATELY I THINK. I DON’T THINK MY DAD EVER SAW HIM PAINT A PAINTING. BUT HE DID COME OVER ONE TIME – WE HAD A DOOR - IT WAS A METAL DOOR LIKE A SCREEN DOOR AND IT HAD A PHEASANT ON IT AND ALL THE PAINT HAD COME OFF. HE CAME OVER AND REPAINTED THAT PHEASANT. HE PAINTED IT FREEHAND AND IT LOOKED REAL. IT WAS AMAZING. THE ONLY OTHER TIME HE CAME OVER WAS TO HELP PAINT OUR HOUSE, AND HE COULD PAINT WITH A BRUSH FASTER THAN A PERSON COULD PAINT WITH A ROLLER AND IT WAS PERFECT. THOSE ARE THE TIMES I SAW HIM ACTUALLY PAINTING OTHER THAN WHEN I WENT TO HIS SHOP.” ACCORDING TO A LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLE, DATED OCTOBER 6, 1996, BEFORE MICHAEL FINISHED HIGH SCHOOL HE HAD BEGUN WORKING PART-TIME FOR ROBERT BARROWMAN, AN EARLY CITY MAYOR AND OWNER OF CITY SIGN WORKS. 15 YEARS LATER WHEN BARROWMEN SOLD THE COMPANY, MICHAEL AND HIS FELLOW EMPLOYEE NIGEL HILL BOUGHT THE BUSINESS AND RENAMED IT CITY SIGN CO. THIS BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP LASTED UNTIL 1970. ON HIS TIME AT CITY SIGN CO. WITH HIS UNCLE, LYLE ADDED, “…I’D GO IN EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE JUST TO VISIT AND I REMEMBER CARS COMING IN AND HE WOULD DRAW WHATEVER THEY WANTED. THEN HE WOULD TAKE THIS – IT LOOKED LIKE A PIZZA CUTTER WITH A WHEEL ON IT AND HE WOULD RUN IT ALONG THE LINES AND PUNCH LITTLE HOLES IN IT. HE WOULD TAPE THE LOGO ON TO THE CAR, A BRAND NEW CAR OR TRUCK OR WHATEVER. AND THEN HE WOULD PUT CHALK ON IT AND PULL THAT PAPER OFF. THEN HE WOULD PAINT THE LOGO OR SIGN FREE HAND WITH A BRUSH AND OIL PAINTS. AND IT WAS AS GOOD AS ANY SIGN YOU SEE TODAY MADE WITH A MACHINE. YEAH, IT WAS ASTONISHING.” “AND THE ONE DAY WHEN I WAS IN THERE AND I ASKED HIM HOW HE DID THE LETTERING AND HE SAYS, “I’LL SHOW YOU.” HE HAD ALL THIS PAINT ON THE SHELF AND THIS BIG TABLE WHERE HE PUT STUFF AND HE GRABBED A PIECE OF PAPER. HE TOOK A PENCIL AND DREW TWO LINES AND THEY WERE PARALLEL. AND YOU PROBABLY COULD HAVE MEASURED THEM AND THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN EXACTLY PARALLEL, AND THEN HE TOOK HIS BRUSH AND SAYS, “OKAY, I’LL PAINT YOUR NAME, I’LL PAINT LYLE.” AND HE TOOK THIS LONG – JUST A REGULAR BRUSH THAT WAS A KIND OF FLOPPY BRUSH AND HE DIPPED IT INTO SOME OIL PAINT AND HE JUST PAINTED MY NAME JUST L-Y-L-E LIKE THAT IN BLOCK LETTERS, IN A MATTER OF SECONDS AND IT WAS PERFECT. AND HE EXPLAINED THAT WHEN YOU PUT THE LETTERS TOGETHER, SOME LETTERS ARE CLOSER THAN OTHER LETTERS TO MATCH, AND HE EXPLAINED ALL THAT TO ME, HOW YOU WOULD DO THAT. THEN HE TOOK IT AND SAID 'YOU CAN DO ITALICS' AND HE MADE THEM ALL SLOPED EVENLY. AND HE SAID, 'I CAN DO IT LIKE IN A JAPANESE STYLE WHERE THE LETTERS ARE BIG ON THE TOP.' AND HE DID THAT ALL IN OIL AND IT WAS LIKE ANY PRINTER THAT YOU SEE TODAY AND ABOUT THE SPEED OF SLOW WRITING. I WAS ASTONISHED.” “SO I USED TO GO IN ONCE IN A WHILE AND VISIT HIM IN THE SHOP AT THAT TIME AND I REMEMBER ONE TIME I – HE ACTUALLY ENCOURAGED ME TO START PAINTING. I STARTED DOING THAT AND HE GAVE ME SOME HINTS, LITTLE THINGS LIKE PERSPECTIVE, VANISHING POINTS, WHAT WERE THE OTHER THINGS, OH, HOW THICK PAINT DOESN’T STICK TO THIN PAINT AND VICE VERSA, AND WHEN YOU USE OIL PAINTS YOU PAINT FROM THE BACK TO THE FRONT. WHEN YOU USE WATERCOLORS, YOU PAINT LIGHT TO DARK, USUALLY – THAT KIND OF THING. HE HELPED ME WITH THAT KIND OF STUFF. HE WAS SHOWING ME.” REMEMBERING HIS UNCLE, LYLE STATES, ”MY UNCLE WAS A VERY NICE MAN. I NEVER SAW HIM EVER ANGRY, EVER. I NEVER HEARD ANYONE EVER SAY THAT HE WAS ANGRY. ONLY ONCE. ONLY ONE TIME THAT I EVEN HEARD THAT HE WAS ANGRY. ONE TIME HE HAD A PAINTING AND MY AUNT DIDN’T LIKE IT SO SHE TOOK OUT SOME PAINTS AND FIXED IT FOR HIM. AND THAT WAS THE ONLY TIME THAT HE WAS ANGRY, THAT I HAVE EVER KNOWN. I THINK HE FORGAVE HER BUT I DON’T THINK SHE TOUCHED HIS PAINTINGS AFTER THAT. SO BASICALLY MY AUNT AND MY UNCLE WERE NICE AND IT WAS A PLEASURE TO GO OVER AND VISIT HIM. HE WAS SO NICE. AND I’M NOT SAYING THAT BECAUSE HE’S MY UNCLE OR ANYTHING- HE JUST WAS A NICE MAN.” WHEN ASKED ABOUT WHAT HE KNEW AT THE TIME OF HIS UNCLE'S ART CAREER, LYLE ADDS, “I DIDN’T REALLY KNOW [ABOUT IT]. I HAD NO CLUE WHAT HE DID. I DIDN’T KNOW HE WAS A FRIEND OF A.Y. JACKSON AND ALL OF THAT…I GUESS HE SOLD THE PAINTINGS BUT I SAW IT MORE OF A HOBBY BECAUSE HE WOULD PAINT A PAINTING AND THEN RE-PAINT IT, LIKE, IF HE DIDN’T LIKE IT HE WOULD JUST PAINT OVER IT. AND BECAUSE HE WAS A SIGN PAINTER. HE WAS ACTUALLY AN ELECTRICIAN BY TRADE. HE WENT TO SAIT AND BECAME AN ELECTRICIAN BUT COULDN’T GET ANY WORK AND STARTED A SIGN BUSINESS AND [IT], TO ME AS A KID, IT WAS JUST A JOB, LIKE DAD’S JOB THAT KIND OF THING, SO YOU HAVE A JOB [AND] YOU GO TO WORK [AND] SO I DIDN’T THINK IT WAS ANYTHING SPECIAL…I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND, AS A KID,... I WENT OFF DOING MY OWN THING. YEAH…HE WAS CLOSE TO FINISHING [HIS CAREER], BY THE TIME I WAS AN ADULT, HE WAS JUST NEAR DONE.” IN 2014, COLLECTIONS ASSISTANT JANE EDMUNDSON CONDUCTED A SURVEY OF ART OBJECTS. THE FOLLOWING BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ON MICHAEL PISKO WAS FOUND IN A PRESS RELEASE ANNOUNCING THE 'MICHAEL PISKO MEMORIAL AWARD', WHICH WAS ESTABLISHED BY THE ARTIST'S WIDOW AND THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS IN 2000, TO BE AWARDED TO A GRADUATING BFA DEGREE PAINTER FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE: "MICHAEL PISKO WAS BORN IN LETHBRIDGE IN 1913. HE MADE HIS LIVING AS A SUCCESSFUL SIGN PAINTER THROUGH HIS BUSINESS, CITY SIGN COMPANY, BUT LANDSCAPE PAINTING WAS HIS LIFE'S FULFILLMENT. TO HONE HIS SKILLS, HE STUDIED THREE SUMMERS AT THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS AND SOUGHT INSTRUCTION FROM SENIOR VISITING ARTISTS WHO CAME TO LETHBRIDGE ON INVITATION OF THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB, OF WHICH HE, IN 1937, WAS ONE OF THE FOUNDING MEMBERS. PISKO GREATLY ADMIRED A.Y. JACKSON, THE GROUP OF SEVEN MASTER, WITH WHOM HE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SKETCH AND PAINT AROUND LETHBRIDGE WHENEVER JACKSON CAME TO TOWN TO VISIT HIS BROTHER. HE WAS ALSO DEEPLY INFLUENCED BY H.G. GLYDE, WHO TAUGHT AT THE ALBERTA COLLEGE OF ART IN CALGARY AND AT THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS AND WHO VISITED LETHBRIDGE TO TEACH ART CLASSES AT THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB. IN 1947 PISKO WAS ACCEPTED FOR MEMBERSHIP IN THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS. HE WAS A PROLIFIC PAINTER, WHO EXHIBITED REGULARLY WITH THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB AND THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS. HIS WORK IS REPRESENTED IN MANY PRIVATE, CORPORATE AND PUBLIC COLLECTIONS, AMONG THEM THE ALBERTA FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS AND THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE. MICHAEL PISKO PASSED AWAY IN 1999." FOR COPIES OF LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES ON PISKO AND HIS CAREER, AS WELL AS PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS FOR THE 1995 ARTWALK DEDICATED TO HIM, SEE PERMANENT FILE P19920009001-GA. FOR MORE INFORMATION, INCLUDING THE FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION AND LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES, PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE P20200016001-GA.
Catalogue Number
P20200016017
Acquisition Date
2020-06
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Other Name
WEBLEY MK 1, SN '27'
Date Range From
1970
Date Range To
1990
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
STEEL, BRONZE
Catalogue Number
P20070016000
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
WEBLEY MK 1, SN '27'
Date Range From
1970
Date Range To
1990
Materials
STEEL, BRONZE
No. Pieces
1
Height
17.0
Length
26.3
Width
4.5
Description
REVOLVER, 6 SHOT, .455 CALIBRE, SILVER FINISH ON STEEL (?), BRONZE GRIPS CAST IN A LEAF PATTERN, MARKED, “…1972” CYLINDER MARKED, “27” RIGHT SIDE OF GUN MARKED WITH A CROWN OVER “R, O” IN FRONT OF CYLINDER, METAL LANYARD LOOP AT BOTTOM OF GRIP. GRIPS NOT ORIGINAL TO REVOLVER.
Subjects
ARMAMENT-FIREARM
Historical Association
FINE ARTS
LEISURE
History
BARBARA MARTENS CONSULTED WITH HER HUSBAND, DONOR CORNIE MARTENS (WHO WAS THEN IN THE HOSPITAL) AT TIME OF DONATION. THE DONOR PURCHASED THE REVOLVER TO USE AS AN EXAMPLE FOR WESTERN SCULPTURES. HE PURCHASED IT FROM A GUN SHOP IN VANCOUVER IN THE EARLY 1970S. CORNIE MARTENS, A BRONZE SCULPTOR, COLLECTED ABOUT FIVE OR SIX GUNS IN ORDER TO USE THEM AS MODELS FOR HIS WESTERN SCULPTURES. WHILE HE HAD A SMALL COLLECTION OF FIREARMS, THIS WEBLEY MK1 REVOLVER WAS THE ONLY ONE HE EVER ALTERED. HE REPLACED THE GRIPS WITH ONES HE HAD SCULPTED SOME TIME IN THE LATE 1970S. ACCORDING TO HIS WIFE, HE SCULPTED THE GRIPS "JUST FOR INTEREST." THE DONOR WAS BORN IN THE UKRAINE AND MOVED TO SASKATCHEWAN AT A YOUNG AGE. NOT LONG AFTER THAT, HIS FAMILY RELOCATED TO COALDALE, WHERE MARTENS RESIDED FOR THE REMAINDER OF HIS LIFE. THE DONOR BECAME INTERESTED IN ART WHEN HE WAS A BOY. ALTHOUGH HE HAD NO FORMAL TRAINING, MUCH OF HIS ARTWORK WAS SCULPTURAL. HE WORKED IN BRONZE, WAX, PLASTICINE, ALUMINUM, TIN, CLAY, FIBREGLASS AND MORE. WESTERN MOTIFS AND THE RODEO WERE THEMES FOUND THROUGHOUT HIS ARTWORK. SOME OF HIS WORKS INCLUDE, A BRONZE MINER STATUE FOR THE "MINER'S LIBRARY", A STATUE OF JERRY POTTS (AWARDED TO OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTORS TO SOUTHERN ALBERTA TOURISM) AND MORE. CORNIE MARTENS PASSED AWAY ON JULY 29, 2009. FOR MORE INFORMATION SEE PERMANENT FILE.
Catalogue Number
P20070016000
Acquisition Date
2009-03
Collection
Museum
Less detail
Date Range From
1950
Date Range To
1999
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
WOOD, METAL, HOG BRISTLES
Catalogue Number
P20200016016
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Date Range From
1950
Date Range To
1999
Materials
WOOD, METAL, HOG BRISTLES
No. Pieces
1
Length
30.5
Diameter
0.7
Description
GREEN HANDLED PAINT BRUSH, WITH PALE BLONDE HOG BRISTLES IN A FLAT FORMATION, HELD WITH A NICKEL COLOURED METAL BAND. IN FADED WHITE TEXT DOWN THE SIDE OF THE HANDLE, THE BRUSH READS, “3 M.GRUMBACHER GAINSBOROUGH SERIES 1271F”. PAINT RESIDUE, GREY, RED, AND GREEN, IS SPECKLED ACROSS THE BRUSH, WITH A LARGE GREEN SMUDGE ON THE METAL BAND. BRISTLES ARE STAINED GREEN.
Subjects
PAINTING T&E
Historical Association
FINE ARTS
History
ON OCTOBER 8, 2020, COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN INTERVIEWED LYLE PENNINGTON REGARDING ANY MEMORIES OF HIS UNCLE “MIKE” MICHAEL PISKO (1913-1999), ABOUT THE DONATED DRAWINGS AND ART MATERIALS. ON SEEING HIS UNCLE PAINT, LYLE RECALLS, “WELL, I CAN REMEMBER MY UNCLE USING THIS WOODEN [EASEL] (P20200016007) BECAUSE WHEN I WAS ABOUT SIX YEARS OLD, HE SET THIS WOODEN EASEL UP. HE WAS BABYSITTING ME THAT ONE DAY...I WAS YOUNG AND HE SET THIS STAND UP AND HE SAID, 'WE’RE GOING TO PAINT A PAINTING TOGETHER.' HE GOT A PALETTE OUT AND HE PUT ALL THESE OIL PAINTS ON AND SHOWED ME HOW TO PUT THEM ALL ON AND THEN GOT THIS KNIFE THING OUT, IT’S A PALETTE KNIFE- IT WAS A FAIRLY BIG ONE AND IT WAS A FAIRLY BIG…PAINTING. IT WAS MAYBE 2 FEET WIDE AND 3 FEET HIGH AND I ASKED HIM WHAT HE WAS GOING TO PAINT AND HE SAID, 'I DON’T KNOW'. THEN HE STARTED SHOWING ME HOW TO MIX THE PAINTS AND PUTTING THEM ON, HE JUST SLOPPED THEM ON AND I KEPT ASKING, 'WHAT IS IT?' AND HE SAYS, 'I HAVEN’T DECIDED.' AND THERE WAS GREENS AND REDS AND YELLOWS. AND I'M WAITING AND WAITING AND I KEPT ASKING WHAT HE WAS PAINTING AND I COULDN’T MAKE HEAD OR TAILS OF IT BECAUSE HE DIDN’T START ANYWHERE. HE WAS PUTTING IT EVERYWHERE AND THEN FINALLY, JUST IN ONE MAGIC STROKE, THERE WAS A WHOLE BOUQUET OF FLOWERS AND I WAS SHOCKED. AND I SAID, 'UNCLE MIKE, THEY’RE FLOWERS.' AND THEN HE CONTINUED ON AND THEN HE SAYS, 'WHAT DO YOU THINK?' AND I SAYS, 'THEY LOOK REAL.' THEN HE SAYS, 'YEAH, I THINK THIS ONE’S GOOD.' AND THEN HE SHOWED ME HOW TO SIGN THE PAINTING- HE TOOK SOME RED PAINT AND THEN HE THINNED IT WITH SOME TURPENTINE AND HE TOOK THIS LITTLE TINY BRUSH AND HE ROLLED IT IN THE RED PAINT AND THEN HE SIGNED HIS NAME ON THE BOTTOM LEFTSIDE…I REMEMBER IT VIVIDLY BECAUSE I COULDN’T BELIEVE THE PAINTING SUDDENLY IN ONE STROKE MADE SENSE, IT WAS LIKE MAGIC. HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS PAINTING BUT I DIDN'T. I HAD NO CLUE. HE JUST GRINNED AT ME WHEN I SAID, 'IT’S FLOWERS.' YEAH, IT WAS A WHOLE BOUQUET OF FLOWERS IN A VASE.” “THAT WAS THE ONE TIME THAT I GOT TO SEE HIM ACTUALLY PAINT A PAINTING. THAT WAS THE ONLY PAINTING I SAW HIM PAINT. I DON’T THINK MANY OTHERS SAW HIM PAINT THE MANY PAINTINGS THAT HE DID. HE DID IT SORT OF PRIVATELY I THINK. I DON’T THINK MY DAD EVER SAW HIM PAINT A PAINTING. BUT HE DID COME OVER ONE TIME – WE HAD A DOOR - IT WAS A METAL DOOR LIKE A SCREEN DOOR AND IT HAD A PHEASANT ON IT AND ALL THE PAINT HAD COME OFF. HE CAME OVER AND REPAINTED THAT PHEASANT. HE PAINTED IT FREEHAND AND IT LOOKED REAL. IT WAS AMAZING. THE ONLY OTHER TIME HE CAME OVER WAS TO HELP PAINT OUR HOUSE, AND HE COULD PAINT WITH A BRUSH FASTER THAN A PERSON COULD PAINT WITH A ROLLER AND IT WAS PERFECT. THOSE ARE THE TIMES I SAW HIM ACTUALLY PAINTING OTHER THAN WHEN I WENT TO HIS SHOP.” ACCORDING TO A LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLE, DATED OCTOBER 6, 1996, BEFORE MICHAEL FINISHED HIGH SCHOOL HE HAD BEGUN WORKING PART-TIME FOR ROBERT BARROWMAN, AN EARLY CITY MAYOR AND OWNER OF CITY SIGN WORKS. 15 YEARS LATER WHEN BARROWMEN SOLD THE COMPANY, MICHAEL AND HIS FELLOW EMPLOYEE NIGEL HILL BOUGHT THE BUSINESS AND RENAMED IT CITY SIGN CO. THIS BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP LASTED UNTIL 1970. ON HIS TIME AT CITY SIGN CO. WITH HIS UNCLE, LYLE ADDED, “…I’D GO IN EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE JUST TO VISIT AND I REMEMBER CARS COMING IN AND HE WOULD DRAW WHATEVER THEY WANTED. THEN HE WOULD TAKE THIS – IT LOOKED LIKE A PIZZA CUTTER WITH A WHEEL ON IT AND HE WOULD RUN IT ALONG THE LINES AND PUNCH LITTLE HOLES IN IT. HE WOULD TAPE THE LOGO ON TO THE CAR, A BRAND NEW CAR OR TRUCK OR WHATEVER. AND THEN HE WOULD PUT CHALK ON IT AND PULL THAT PAPER OFF. THEN HE WOULD PAINT THE LOGO OR SIGN FREE HAND WITH A BRUSH AND OIL PAINTS. AND IT WAS AS GOOD AS ANY SIGN YOU SEE TODAY MADE WITH A MACHINE. YEAH, IT WAS ASTONISHING.” “AND THE ONE DAY WHEN I WAS IN THERE AND I ASKED HIM HOW HE DID THE LETTERING AND HE SAYS, “I’LL SHOW YOU.” HE HAD ALL THIS PAINT ON THE SHELF AND THIS BIG TABLE WHERE HE PUT STUFF AND HE GRABBED A PIECE OF PAPER. HE TOOK A PENCIL AND DREW TWO LINES AND THEY WERE PARALLEL. AND YOU PROBABLY COULD HAVE MEASURED THEM AND THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN EXACTLY PARALLEL, AND THEN HE TOOK HIS BRUSH AND SAYS, “OKAY, I’LL PAINT YOUR NAME, I’LL PAINT LYLE.” AND HE TOOK THIS LONG – JUST A REGULAR BRUSH THAT WAS A KIND OF FLOPPY BRUSH AND HE DIPPED IT INTO SOME OIL PAINT AND HE JUST PAINTED MY NAME JUST L-Y-L-E LIKE THAT IN BLOCK LETTERS, IN A MATTER OF SECONDS AND IT WAS PERFECT. AND HE EXPLAINED THAT WHEN YOU PUT THE LETTERS TOGETHER, SOME LETTERS ARE CLOSER THAN OTHER LETTERS TO MATCH, AND HE EXPLAINED ALL THAT TO ME, HOW YOU WOULD DO THAT. THEN HE TOOK IT AND SAID 'YOU CAN DO ITALICS' AND HE MADE THEM ALL SLOPED EVENLY. AND HE SAID, 'I CAN DO IT LIKE IN A JAPANESE STYLE WHERE THE LETTERS ARE BIG ON THE TOP.' AND HE DID THAT ALL IN OIL AND IT WAS LIKE ANY PRINTER THAT YOU SEE TODAY AND ABOUT THE SPEED OF SLOW WRITING. I WAS ASTONISHED.” “SO I USED TO GO IN ONCE IN A WHILE AND VISIT HIM IN THE SHOP AT THAT TIME AND I REMEMBER ONE TIME I – HE ACTUALLY ENCOURAGED ME TO START PAINTING. I STARTED DOING THAT AND HE GAVE ME SOME HINTS, LITTLE THINGS LIKE PERSPECTIVE, VANISHING POINTS, WHAT WERE THE OTHER THINGS, OH, HOW THICK PAINT DOESN’T STICK TO THIN PAINT AND VICE VERSA, AND WHEN YOU USE OIL PAINTS YOU PAINT FROM THE BACK TO THE FRONT. WHEN YOU USE WATERCOLORS, YOU PAINT LIGHT TO DARK, USUALLY – THAT KIND OF THING. HE HELPED ME WITH THAT KIND OF STUFF. HE WAS SHOWING ME.” REMEMBERING HIS UNCLE, LYLE STATES, ”MY UNCLE WAS A VERY NICE MAN. I NEVER SAW HIM EVER ANGRY, EVER. I NEVER HEARD ANYONE EVER SAY THAT HE WAS ANGRY. ONLY ONCE. ONLY ONE TIME THAT I EVEN HEARD THAT HE WAS ANGRY. ONE TIME HE HAD A PAINTING AND MY AUNT DIDN’T LIKE IT SO SHE TOOK OUT SOME PAINTS AND FIXED IT FOR HIM. AND THAT WAS THE ONLY TIME THAT HE WAS ANGRY, THAT I HAVE EVER KNOWN. I THINK HE FORGAVE HER BUT I DON’T THINK SHE TOUCHED HIS PAINTINGS AFTER THAT. SO BASICALLY MY AUNT AND MY UNCLE WERE NICE AND IT WAS A PLEASURE TO GO OVER AND VISIT HIM. HE WAS SO NICE. AND I’M NOT SAYING THAT BECAUSE HE’S MY UNCLE OR ANYTHING- HE JUST WAS A NICE MAN.” WHEN ASKED ABOUT WHAT HE KNEW AT THE TIME OF HIS UNCLE'S ART CAREER, LYLE ADDS, “I DIDN’T REALLY KNOW [ABOUT IT]. I HAD NO CLUE WHAT HE DID. I DIDN’T KNOW HE WAS A FRIEND OF A.Y. JACKSON AND ALL OF THAT…I GUESS HE SOLD THE PAINTINGS BUT I SAW IT MORE OF A HOBBY BECAUSE HE WOULD PAINT A PAINTING AND THEN RE-PAINT IT, LIKE, IF HE DIDN’T LIKE IT HE WOULD JUST PAINT OVER IT. AND BECAUSE HE WAS A SIGN PAINTER. HE WAS ACTUALLY AN ELECTRICIAN BY TRADE. HE WENT TO SAIT AND BECAME AN ELECTRICIAN BUT COULDN’T GET ANY WORK AND STARTED A SIGN BUSINESS AND [IT], TO ME AS A KID, IT WAS JUST A JOB, LIKE DAD’S JOB THAT KIND OF THING, SO YOU HAVE A JOB [AND] YOU GO TO WORK [AND] SO I DIDN’T THINK IT WAS ANYTHING SPECIAL…I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND, AS A KID,... I WENT OFF DOING MY OWN THING. YEAH…HE WAS CLOSE TO FINISHING [HIS CAREER], BY THE TIME I WAS AN ADULT, HE WAS JUST NEAR DONE.” IN 2014, COLLECTIONS ASSISTANT JANE EDMUNDSON CONDUCTED A SURVEY OF ART OBJECTS. THE FOLLOWING BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ON MICHAEL PISKO WAS FOUND IN A PRESS RELEASE ANNOUNCING THE 'MICHAEL PISKO MEMORIAL AWARD', WHICH WAS ESTABLISHED BY THE ARTIST'S WIDOW AND THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS IN 2000, TO BE AWARDED TO A GRADUATING BFA DEGREE PAINTER FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE: "MICHAEL PISKO WAS BORN IN LETHBRIDGE IN 1913. HE MADE HIS LIVING AS A SUCCESSFUL SIGN PAINTER THROUGH HIS BUSINESS, CITY SIGN COMPANY, BUT LANDSCAPE PAINTING WAS HIS LIFE'S FULFILLMENT. TO HONE HIS SKILLS, HE STUDIED THREE SUMMERS AT THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS AND SOUGHT INSTRUCTION FROM SENIOR VISITING ARTISTS WHO CAME TO LETHBRIDGE ON INVITATION OF THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB, OF WHICH HE, IN 1937, WAS ONE OF THE FOUNDING MEMBERS. PISKO GREATLY ADMIRED A.Y. JACKSON, THE GROUP OF SEVEN MASTER, WITH WHOM HE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SKETCH AND PAINT AROUND LETHBRIDGE WHENEVER JACKSON CAME TO TOWN TO VISIT HIS BROTHER. HE WAS ALSO DEEPLY INFLUENCED BY H.G. GLYDE, WHO TAUGHT AT THE ALBERTA COLLEGE OF ART IN CALGARY AND AT THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS AND WHO VISITED LETHBRIDGE TO TEACH ART CLASSES AT THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB. IN 1947 PISKO WAS ACCEPTED FOR MEMBERSHIP IN THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS. HE WAS A PROLIFIC PAINTER, WHO EXHIBITED REGULARLY WITH THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB AND THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS. HIS WORK IS REPRESENTED IN MANY PRIVATE, CORPORATE AND PUBLIC COLLECTIONS, AMONG THEM THE ALBERTA FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS AND THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE. MICHAEL PISKO PASSED AWAY IN 1999." FOR COPIES OF LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES ON PISKO AND HIS CAREER, AS WELL AS PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS FOR THE 1995 ARTWALK DEDICATED TO HIM, SEE PERMANENT FILE P19920009001-GA. FOR MORE INFORMATION, INCLUDING THE FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION AND LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES, PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE P20200016001-GA.
Catalogue Number
P20200016016
Acquisition Date
2020-06
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Date Range From
1940
Date Range To
1999
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
WOOD, METAL
Catalogue Number
P20200016009
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Date Range From
1940
Date Range To
1999
Materials
WOOD, METAL
No. Pieces
1
Length
17.3
Width
1.6
Description
PALETTE KNIFE WITH LONG, ROUND TIPPED BLADE ON BROWN, ROUNDED WOOD HANDLE. THE BLADE IS STRAIGHT. TEXT ETCHED INTO THE TOP OF BLADE READS, “SUPERIOR”. PAINT COATS THE BLADE AND HANDLE, YELLOW, RED, BROWN AND GREY. OBSCURES MOST OF THE HANDLE.
Subjects
PAINTING T&E
Historical Association
FINE ARTS
History
ON OCTOBER 8, 2020, COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN INTERVIEWED LYLE PENNINGTON REGARDING ANY MEMORIES OF HIS UNCLE “MIKE” MICHAEL PISKO (1913-1999), ABOUT THE DONATED DRAWINGS AND ART MATERIALS. ON SEEING HIS UNCLE PAINT, LYLE RECALLS, “WELL, I CAN REMEMBER MY UNCLE USING THIS WOODEN [EASEL] (P20200016007) BECAUSE WHEN I WAS ABOUT SIX YEARS OLD, HE SET THIS WOODEN EASEL UP. HE WAS BABYSITTING ME THAT ONE DAY...I WAS YOUNG AND HE SET THIS STAND UP AND HE SAID, 'WE’RE GOING TO PAINT A PAINTING TOGETHER.' HE GOT A PALETTE OUT AND HE PUT ALL THESE OIL PAINTS ON AND SHOWED ME HOW TO PUT THEM ALL ON AND THEN GOT THIS KNIFE THING OUT, IT’S A PALETTE KNIFE- IT WAS A FAIRLY BIG ONE AND IT WAS A FAIRLY BIG…PAINTING. IT WAS MAYBE 2 FEET WIDE AND 3 FEET HIGH AND I ASKED HIM WHAT HE WAS GOING TO PAINT AND HE SAID, 'I DON’T KNOW'. THEN HE STARTED SHOWING ME HOW TO MIX THE PAINTS AND PUTTING THEM ON, HE JUST SLOPPED THEM ON AND I KEPT ASKING, 'WHAT IS IT?' AND HE SAYS, 'I HAVEN’T DECIDED.' AND THERE WAS GREENS AND REDS AND YELLOWS. AND I'M WAITING AND WAITING AND I KEPT ASKING WHAT HE WAS PAINTING AND I COULDN’T MAKE HEAD OR TAILS OF IT BECAUSE HE DIDN’T START ANYWHERE. HE WAS PUTTING IT EVERYWHERE AND THEN FINALLY, JUST IN ONE MAGIC STROKE, THERE WAS A WHOLE BOUQUET OF FLOWERS AND I WAS SHOCKED. AND I SAID, 'UNCLE MIKE, THEY’RE FLOWERS.' AND THEN HE CONTINUED ON AND THEN HE SAYS, 'WHAT DO YOU THINK?' AND I SAYS, 'THEY LOOK REAL.' THEN HE SAYS, 'YEAH, I THINK THIS ONE’S GOOD.' AND THEN HE SHOWED ME HOW TO SIGN THE PAINTING- HE TOOK SOME RED PAINT AND THEN HE THINNED IT WITH SOME TURPENTINE AND HE TOOK THIS LITTLE TINY BRUSH AND HE ROLLED IT IN THE RED PAINT AND THEN HE SIGNED HIS NAME ON THE BOTTOM LEFTSIDE…I REMEMBER IT VIVIDLY BECAUSE I COULDN’T BELIEVE THE PAINTING SUDDENLY IN ONE STROKE MADE SENSE, IT WAS LIKE MAGIC. HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS PAINTING BUT I DIDN'T. I HAD NO CLUE. HE JUST GRINNED AT ME WHEN I SAID, 'IT’S FLOWERS.' YEAH, IT WAS A WHOLE BOUQUET OF FLOWERS IN A VASE...[A PALETTE KNIFE] WAS ALL HE USED TO PAINT THAT PAINTING, JUST ONE KNIFE, PAINTED THE WHOLE PAINTING, THOSE FLOWERS, THEY LOOKED REAL.” “THAT WAS THE ONE TIME THAT I GOT TO SEE HIM ACTUALLY PAINT A PAINTING. THAT WAS THE ONLY PAINTING I SAW HIM PAINT. I DON’T THINK MANY OTHERS SAW HIM PAINT THE MANY PAINTINGS THAT HE DID. HE DID IT SORT OF PRIVATELY I THINK. I DON’T THINK MY DAD EVER SAW HIM PAINT A PAINTING. BUT HE DID COME OVER ONE TIME – WE HAD A DOOR - IT WAS A METAL DOOR LIKE A SCREEN DOOR AND IT HAD A PHEASANT ON IT AND ALL THE PAINT HAD COME OFF. HE CAME OVER AND REPAINTED THAT PHEASANT. HE PAINTED IT FREEHAND AND IT LOOKED REAL. IT WAS AMAZING. THE ONLY OTHER TIME HE CAME OVER WAS TO HELP PAINT OUR HOUSE, AND HE COULD PAINT WITH A BRUSH FASTER THAN A PERSON COULD PAINT WITH A ROLLER AND IT WAS PERFECT. THOSE ARE THE TIMES I SAW HIM ACTUALLY PAINTING OTHER THAN WHEN I WENT TO HIS SHOP.” ACCORDING TO A LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLE, DATED OCTOBER 6, 1996, BEFORE MICHAEL FINISHED HIGH SCHOOL HE HAD BEGUN WORKING PART-TIME FOR ROBERT BARROWMAN, AN EARLY CITY MAYOR AND OWNER OF CITY SIGN WORKS. 15 YEARS LATER WHEN BARROWMEN SOLD THE COMPANY, MICHAEL AND HIS FELLOW EMPLOYEE NIGEL HILL BOUGHT THE BUSINESS AND RENAMED IT CITY SIGN CO. THIS BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP LASTED UNTIL 1970. ON HIS TIME AT CITY SIGN CO. WITH HIS UNCLE, LYLE ADDED, “…I’D GO IN EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE JUST TO VISIT AND I REMEMBER CARS COMING IN AND HE WOULD DRAW WHATEVER THEY WANTED. THEN HE WOULD TAKE THIS – IT LOOKED LIKE A PIZZA CUTTER WITH A WHEEL ON IT AND HE WOULD RUN IT ALONG THE LINES AND PUNCH LITTLE HOLES IN IT. HE WOULD TAPE THE LOGO ON TO THE CAR, A BRAND NEW CAR OR TRUCK OR WHATEVER. AND THEN HE WOULD PUT CHALK ON IT AND PULL THAT PAPER OFF. THEN HE WOULD PAINT THE LOGO OR SIGN FREE HAND WITH A BRUSH AND OIL PAINTS. AND IT WAS AS GOOD AS ANY SIGN YOU SEE TODAY MADE WITH A MACHINE. YEAH, IT WAS ASTONISHING.” “AND THE ONE DAY WHEN I WAS IN THERE AND I ASKED HIM HOW HE DID THE LETTERING AND HE SAYS, “I’LL SHOW YOU.” HE HAD ALL THIS PAINT ON THE SHELF AND THIS BIG TABLE WHERE HE PUT STUFF AND HE GRABBED A PIECE OF PAPER. HE TOOK A PENCIL AND DREW TWO LINES AND THEY WERE PARALLEL. AND YOU PROBABLY COULD HAVE MEASURED THEM AND THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN EXACTLY PARALLEL, AND THEN HE TOOK HIS BRUSH AND SAYS, “OKAY, I’LL PAINT YOUR NAME, I’LL PAINT LYLE.” AND HE TOOK THIS LONG – JUST A REGULAR BRUSH THAT WAS A KIND OF FLOPPY BRUSH AND HE DIPPED IT INTO SOME OIL PAINT AND HE JUST PAINTED MY NAME JUST L-Y-L-E LIKE THAT IN BLOCK LETTERS, IN A MATTER OF SECONDS AND IT WAS PERFECT. AND HE EXPLAINED THAT WHEN YOU PUT THE LETTERS TOGETHER, SOME LETTERS ARE CLOSER THAN OTHER LETTERS TO MATCH, AND HE EXPLAINED ALL THAT TO ME, HOW YOU WOULD DO THAT. THEN HE TOOK IT AND SAID 'YOU CAN DO ITALICS' AND HE MADE THEM ALL SLOPED EVENLY. AND HE SAID, 'I CAN DO IT LIKE IN A JAPANESE STYLE WHERE THE LETTERS ARE BIG ON THE TOP.' AND HE DID THAT ALL IN OIL AND IT WAS LIKE ANY PRINTER THAT YOU SEE TODAY AND ABOUT THE SPEED OF SLOW WRITING. I WAS ASTONISHED.” “SO I USED TO GO IN ONCE IN A WHILE AND VISIT HIM IN THE SHOP AT THAT TIME AND I REMEMBER ONE TIME I – HE ACTUALLY ENCOURAGED ME TO START PAINTING. I STARTED DOING THAT AND HE GAVE ME SOME HINTS, LITTLE THINGS LIKE PERSPECTIVE, VANISHING POINTS, WHAT WERE THE OTHER THINGS, OH, HOW THICK PAINT DOESN’T STICK TO THIN PAINT AND VICE VERSA, AND WHEN YOU USE OIL PAINTS YOU PAINT FROM THE BACK TO THE FRONT. WHEN YOU USE WATERCOLORS, YOU PAINT LIGHT TO DARK, USUALLY – THAT KIND OF THING. HE HELPED ME WITH THAT KIND OF STUFF. HE WAS SHOWING ME.” REMEMBERING HIS UNCLE, LYLE STATES, ”MY UNCLE WAS A VERY NICE MAN. I NEVER SAW HIM EVER ANGRY, EVER. I NEVER HEARD ANYONE EVER SAY THAT HE WAS ANGRY. ONLY ONCE. ONLY ONE TIME THAT I EVEN HEARD THAT HE WAS ANGRY. ONE TIME HE HAD A PAINTING AND MY AUNT DIDN’T LIKE IT SO SHE TOOK OUT SOME PAINTS AND FIXED IT FOR HIM. AND THAT WAS THE ONLY TIME THAT HE WAS ANGRY, THAT I HAVE EVER KNOWN. I THINK HE FORGAVE HER BUT I DON’T THINK SHE TOUCHED HIS PAINTINGS AFTER THAT. SO BASICALLY MY AUNT AND MY UNCLE WERE NICE AND IT WAS A PLEASURE TO GO OVER AND VISIT HIM. HE WAS SO NICE. AND I’M NOT SAYING THAT BECAUSE HE’S MY UNCLE OR ANYTHING- HE JUST WAS A NICE MAN.” WHEN ASKED ABOUT WHAT HE KNEW AT THE TIME OF HIS UNCLE'S ART CAREER, LYLE ADDS, “I DIDN’T REALLY KNOW [ABOUT IT]. I HAD NO CLUE WHAT HE DID. I DIDN’T KNOW HE WAS A FRIEND OF A.Y. JACKSON AND ALL OF THAT…I GUESS HE SOLD THE PAINTINGS BUT I SAW IT MORE OF A HOBBY BECAUSE HE WOULD PAINT A PAINTING AND THEN RE-PAINT IT, LIKE, IF HE DIDN’T LIKE IT HE WOULD JUST PAINT OVER IT. AND BECAUSE HE WAS A SIGN PAINTER. HE WAS ACTUALLY AN ELECTRICIAN BY TRADE. HE WENT TO SAIT AND BECAME AN ELECTRICIAN BUT COULDN’T GET ANY WORK AND STARTED A SIGN BUSINESS AND [IT], TO ME AS A KID, IT WAS JUST A JOB, LIKE DAD’S JOB THAT KIND OF THING, SO YOU HAVE A JOB [AND] YOU GO TO WORK [AND] SO I DIDN’T THINK IT WAS ANYTHING SPECIAL…I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND, AS A KID,... I WENT OFF DOING MY OWN THING. YEAH…HE WAS CLOSE TO FINISHING [HIS CAREER], BY THE TIME I WAS AN ADULT, HE WAS JUST NEAR DONE.” IN 2014, COLLECTIONS ASSISTANT JANE EDMUNDSON CONDUCTED A SURVEY OF ART OBJECTS. THE FOLLOWING BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ON MICHAEL PISKO WAS FOUND IN A PRESS RELEASE ANNOUNCING THE 'MICHAEL PISKO MEMORIAL AWARD', WHICH WAS ESTABLISHED BY THE ARTIST'S WIDOW AND THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS IN 2000, TO BE AWARDED TO A GRADUATING BFA DEGREE PAINTER FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE: "MICHAEL PISKO WAS BORN IN LETHBRIDGE IN 1913. HE MADE HIS LIVING AS A SUCCESSFUL SIGN PAINTER THROUGH HIS BUSINESS, CITY SIGN COMPANY, BUT LANDSCAPE PAINTING WAS HIS LIFE'S FULFILLMENT. TO HONE HIS SKILLS, HE STUDIED THREE SUMMERS AT THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS AND SOUGHT INSTRUCTION FROM SENIOR VISITING ARTISTS WHO CAME TO LETHBRIDGE ON INVITATION OF THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB, OF WHICH HE, IN 1937, WAS ONE OF THE FOUNDING MEMBERS. PISKO GREATLY ADMIRED A.Y. JACKSON, THE GROUP OF SEVEN MASTER, WITH WHOM HE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SKETCH AND PAINT AROUND LETHBRIDGE WHENEVER JACKSON CAME TO TOWN TO VISIT HIS BROTHER. HE WAS ALSO DEEPLY INFLUENCED BY H.G. GLYDE, WHO TAUGHT AT THE ALBERTA COLLEGE OF ART IN CALGARY AND AT THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS AND WHO VISITED LETHBRIDGE TO TEACH ART CLASSES AT THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB. IN 1947 PISKO WAS ACCEPTED FOR MEMBERSHIP IN THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS. HE WAS A PROLIFIC PAINTER, WHO EXHIBITED REGULARLY WITH THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB AND THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS. HIS WORK IS REPRESENTED IN MANY PRIVATE, CORPORATE AND PUBLIC COLLECTIONS, AMONG THEM THE ALBERTA FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS AND THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE. MICHAEL PISKO PASSED AWAY IN 1999." FOR COPIES OF LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES ON PISKO AND HIS CAREER, AS WELL AS PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS FOR THE 1995 ARTWALK DEDICATED TO HIM, SEE PERMANENT FILE P19920009001-GA. FOR MORE INFORMATION, INCLUDING THE FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION AND LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES, PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE P20200016001-GA.
Catalogue Number
P20200016009
Acquisition Date
2020-06
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Date Range From
1940
Date Range To
1999
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
WOOD, METAL, SABLE HAIR
Catalogue Number
P20200016013
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Date Range From
1940
Date Range To
1999
Materials
WOOD, METAL, SABLE HAIR
No. Pieces
1
Length
18.0
Diameter
0.6
Description
BLACK HANDLED PAINT BRUSH, WITH BROWN SABLE FUR BRISTLES IN A ROUND FORMATION, HELD WITH A NICKEL COLOURED METAL BAND. IN GOLD TEXT DOWN THE SIDE OF THE HANDLE, THE BRUSH READS, “3 ROWNEY CANADA 34 PURE SABLE ENGLAND”. THE BLACK COATING OF THE HANDLE IS FLAKING OFF IN SMALL SPOTS ALL ALONG THE HANDLE, THE LARGEST OF THESE 1.3 CM LONG, DISRUPTING THE “E” AT THE END OF “SABLE” AND THE “ENGLA” OF “ENGLAND”. “3” IS ALSO CHIPPED AWAY, WITH “CANADA” AND “34” SLIGHTLY WORN AWAY. CHIP AT THE WIDEST POINT OF THE HANDLE REACHES THE WOOD. SINGLE SPOT OF SILVER PAINT AT TIP OF HANDLE.
Subjects
PAINTING T&E
Historical Association
FINE ARTS
History
ON OCTOBER 8, 2020, COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN INTERVIEWED LYLE PENNINGTON REGARDING ANY MEMORIES OF HIS UNCLE “MIKE” MICHAEL PISKO (1913-1999), ABOUT THE DONATED DRAWINGS AND ART MATERIALS. ON SEEING HIS UNCLE PAINT, LYLE RECALLS, “WELL, I CAN REMEMBER MY UNCLE USING THIS WOODEN [EASEL] (P20200016007) BECAUSE WHEN I WAS ABOUT SIX YEARS OLD, HE SET THIS WOODEN EASEL UP. HE WAS BABYSITTING ME THAT ONE DAY...I WAS YOUNG AND HE SET THIS STAND UP AND HE SAID, 'WE’RE GOING TO PAINT A PAINTING TOGETHER.' HE GOT A PALETTE OUT AND HE PUT ALL THESE OIL PAINTS ON AND SHOWED ME HOW TO PUT THEM ALL ON AND THEN GOT THIS KNIFE THING OUT, IT’S A PALETTE KNIFE- IT WAS A FAIRLY BIG ONE AND IT WAS A FAIRLY BIG…PAINTING. IT WAS MAYBE 2 FEET WIDE AND 3 FEET HIGH AND I ASKED HIM WHAT HE WAS GOING TO PAINT AND HE SAID, 'I DON’T KNOW'. THEN HE STARTED SHOWING ME HOW TO MIX THE PAINTS AND PUTTING THEM ON, HE JUST SLOPPED THEM ON AND I KEPT ASKING, 'WHAT IS IT?' AND HE SAYS, 'I HAVEN’T DECIDED.' AND THERE WAS GREENS AND REDS AND YELLOWS. AND I'M WAITING AND WAITING AND I KEPT ASKING WHAT HE WAS PAINTING AND I COULDN’T MAKE HEAD OR TAILS OF IT BECAUSE HE DIDN’T START ANYWHERE. HE WAS PUTTING IT EVERYWHERE AND THEN FINALLY, JUST IN ONE MAGIC STROKE, THERE WAS A WHOLE BOUQUET OF FLOWERS AND I WAS SHOCKED. AND I SAID, 'UNCLE MIKE, THEY’RE FLOWERS.' AND THEN HE CONTINUED ON AND THEN HE SAYS, 'WHAT DO YOU THINK?' AND I SAYS, 'THEY LOOK REAL.' THEN HE SAYS, 'YEAH, I THINK THIS ONE’S GOOD.' AND THEN HE SHOWED ME HOW TO SIGN THE PAINTING- HE TOOK SOME RED PAINT AND THEN HE THINNED IT WITH SOME TURPENTINE AND HE TOOK THIS LITTLE TINY BRUSH AND HE ROLLED IT IN THE RED PAINT AND THEN HE SIGNED HIS NAME ON THE BOTTOM LEFTSIDE…I REMEMBER IT VIVIDLY BECAUSE I COULDN’T BELIEVE THE PAINTING SUDDENLY IN ONE STROKE MADE SENSE, IT WAS LIKE MAGIC. HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS PAINTING BUT I DIDN'T. I HAD NO CLUE. HE JUST GRINNED AT ME WHEN I SAID, 'IT’S FLOWERS.' YEAH, IT WAS A WHOLE BOUQUET OF FLOWERS IN A VASE.” “THAT WAS THE ONE TIME THAT I GOT TO SEE HIM ACTUALLY PAINT A PAINTING. THAT WAS THE ONLY PAINTING I SAW HIM PAINT. I DON’T THINK MANY OTHERS SAW HIM PAINT THE MANY PAINTINGS THAT HE DID. HE DID IT SORT OF PRIVATELY I THINK. I DON’T THINK MY DAD EVER SAW HIM PAINT A PAINTING. BUT HE DID COME OVER ONE TIME – WE HAD A DOOR - IT WAS A METAL DOOR LIKE A SCREEN DOOR AND IT HAD A PHEASANT ON IT AND ALL THE PAINT HAD COME OFF. HE CAME OVER AND REPAINTED THAT PHEASANT. HE PAINTED IT FREEHAND AND IT LOOKED REAL. IT WAS AMAZING. THE ONLY OTHER TIME HE CAME OVER WAS TO HELP PAINT OUR HOUSE, AND HE COULD PAINT WITH A BRUSH FASTER THAN A PERSON COULD PAINT WITH A ROLLER AND IT WAS PERFECT. THOSE ARE THE TIMES I SAW HIM ACTUALLY PAINTING OTHER THAN WHEN I WENT TO HIS SHOP.” ACCORDING TO A LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLE, DATED OCTOBER 6, 1996, BEFORE MICHAEL FINISHED HIGH SCHOOL HE HAD BEGUN WORKING PART-TIME FOR ROBERT BARROWMAN, AN EARLY CITY MAYOR AND OWNER OF CITY SIGN WORKS. 15 YEARS LATER WHEN BARROWMEN SOLD THE COMPANY, MICHAEL AND HIS FELLOW EMPLOYEE NIGEL HILL BOUGHT THE BUSINESS AND RENAMED IT CITY SIGN CO. THIS BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP LASTED UNTIL 1970. ON HIS TIME AT CITY SIGN CO. WITH HIS UNCLE, LYLE ADDED, “…I’D GO IN EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE JUST TO VISIT AND I REMEMBER CARS COMING IN AND HE WOULD DRAW WHATEVER THEY WANTED. THEN HE WOULD TAKE THIS – IT LOOKED LIKE A PIZZA CUTTER WITH A WHEEL ON IT AND HE WOULD RUN IT ALONG THE LINES AND PUNCH LITTLE HOLES IN IT. HE WOULD TAPE THE LOGO ON TO THE CAR, A BRAND NEW CAR OR TRUCK OR WHATEVER. AND THEN HE WOULD PUT CHALK ON IT AND PULL THAT PAPER OFF. THEN HE WOULD PAINT THE LOGO OR SIGN FREE HAND WITH A BRUSH AND OIL PAINTS. AND IT WAS AS GOOD AS ANY SIGN YOU SEE TODAY MADE WITH A MACHINE. YEAH, IT WAS ASTONISHING.” “AND THE ONE DAY WHEN I WAS IN THERE AND I ASKED HIM HOW HE DID THE LETTERING AND HE SAYS, “I’LL SHOW YOU.” HE HAD ALL THIS PAINT ON THE SHELF AND THIS BIG TABLE WHERE HE PUT STUFF AND HE GRABBED A PIECE OF PAPER. HE TOOK A PENCIL AND DREW TWO LINES AND THEY WERE PARALLEL. AND YOU PROBABLY COULD HAVE MEASURED THEM AND THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN EXACTLY PARALLEL, AND THEN HE TOOK HIS BRUSH AND SAYS, “OKAY, I’LL PAINT YOUR NAME, I’LL PAINT LYLE.” AND HE TOOK THIS LONG – JUST A REGULAR BRUSH THAT WAS A KIND OF FLOPPY BRUSH AND HE DIPPED IT INTO SOME OIL PAINT AND HE JUST PAINTED MY NAME JUST L-Y-L-E LIKE THAT IN BLOCK LETTERS, IN A MATTER OF SECONDS AND IT WAS PERFECT. AND HE EXPLAINED THAT WHEN YOU PUT THE LETTERS TOGETHER, SOME LETTERS ARE CLOSER THAN OTHER LETTERS TO MATCH, AND HE EXPLAINED ALL THAT TO ME, HOW YOU WOULD DO THAT. THEN HE TOOK IT AND SAID 'YOU CAN DO ITALICS' AND HE MADE THEM ALL SLOPED EVENLY. AND HE SAID, 'I CAN DO IT LIKE IN A JAPANESE STYLE WHERE THE LETTERS ARE BIG ON THE TOP.' AND HE DID THAT ALL IN OIL AND IT WAS LIKE ANY PRINTER THAT YOU SEE TODAY AND ABOUT THE SPEED OF SLOW WRITING. I WAS ASTONISHED.” “SO I USED TO GO IN ONCE IN A WHILE AND VISIT HIM IN THE SHOP AT THAT TIME AND I REMEMBER ONE TIME I – HE ACTUALLY ENCOURAGED ME TO START PAINTING. I STARTED DOING THAT AND HE GAVE ME SOME HINTS, LITTLE THINGS LIKE PERSPECTIVE, VANISHING POINTS, WHAT WERE THE OTHER THINGS, OH, HOW THICK PAINT DOESN’T STICK TO THIN PAINT AND VICE VERSA, AND WHEN YOU USE OIL PAINTS YOU PAINT FROM THE BACK TO THE FRONT. WHEN YOU USE WATERCOLORS, YOU PAINT LIGHT TO DARK, USUALLY – THAT KIND OF THING. HE HELPED ME WITH THAT KIND OF STUFF. HE WAS SHOWING ME.” REMEMBERING HIS UNCLE, LYLE STATES, ”MY UNCLE WAS A VERY NICE MAN. I NEVER SAW HIM EVER ANGRY, EVER. I NEVER HEARD ANYONE EVER SAY THAT HE WAS ANGRY. ONLY ONCE. ONLY ONE TIME THAT I EVEN HEARD THAT HE WAS ANGRY. ONE TIME HE HAD A PAINTING AND MY AUNT DIDN’T LIKE IT SO SHE TOOK OUT SOME PAINTS AND FIXED IT FOR HIM. AND THAT WAS THE ONLY TIME THAT HE WAS ANGRY, THAT I HAVE EVER KNOWN. I THINK HE FORGAVE HER BUT I DON’T THINK SHE TOUCHED HIS PAINTINGS AFTER THAT. SO BASICALLY MY AUNT AND MY UNCLE WERE NICE AND IT WAS A PLEASURE TO GO OVER AND VISIT HIM. HE WAS SO NICE. AND I’M NOT SAYING THAT BECAUSE HE’S MY UNCLE OR ANYTHING- HE JUST WAS A NICE MAN.” WHEN ASKED ABOUT WHAT HE KNEW AT THE TIME OF HIS UNCLE'S ART CAREER, LYLE ADDS, “I DIDN’T REALLY KNOW [ABOUT IT]. I HAD NO CLUE WHAT HE DID. I DIDN’T KNOW HE WAS A FRIEND OF A.Y. JACKSON AND ALL OF THAT…I GUESS HE SOLD THE PAINTINGS BUT I SAW IT MORE OF A HOBBY BECAUSE HE WOULD PAINT A PAINTING AND THEN RE-PAINT IT, LIKE, IF HE DIDN’T LIKE IT HE WOULD JUST PAINT OVER IT. AND BECAUSE HE WAS A SIGN PAINTER. HE WAS ACTUALLY AN ELECTRICIAN BY TRADE. HE WENT TO SAIT AND BECAME AN ELECTRICIAN BUT COULDN’T GET ANY WORK AND STARTED A SIGN BUSINESS AND [IT], TO ME AS A KID, IT WAS JUST A JOB, LIKE DAD’S JOB THAT KIND OF THING, SO YOU HAVE A JOB [AND] YOU GO TO WORK [AND] SO I DIDN’T THINK IT WAS ANYTHING SPECIAL…I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND, AS A KID,... I WENT OFF DOING MY OWN THING. YEAH…HE WAS CLOSE TO FINISHING [HIS CAREER], BY THE TIME I WAS AN ADULT, HE WAS JUST NEAR DONE.” IN 2014, COLLECTIONS ASSISTANT JANE EDMUNDSON CONDUCTED A SURVEY OF ART OBJECTS. THE FOLLOWING BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ON MICHAEL PISKO WAS FOUND IN A PRESS RELEASE ANNOUNCING THE 'MICHAEL PISKO MEMORIAL AWARD', WHICH WAS ESTABLISHED BY THE ARTIST'S WIDOW AND THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS IN 2000, TO BE AWARDED TO A GRADUATING BFA DEGREE PAINTER FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE: "MICHAEL PISKO WAS BORN IN LETHBRIDGE IN 1913. HE MADE HIS LIVING AS A SUCCESSFUL SIGN PAINTER THROUGH HIS BUSINESS, CITY SIGN COMPANY, BUT LANDSCAPE PAINTING WAS HIS LIFE'S FULFILLMENT. TO HONE HIS SKILLS, HE STUDIED THREE SUMMERS AT THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS AND SOUGHT INSTRUCTION FROM SENIOR VISITING ARTISTS WHO CAME TO LETHBRIDGE ON INVITATION OF THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB, OF WHICH HE, IN 1937, WAS ONE OF THE FOUNDING MEMBERS. PISKO GREATLY ADMIRED A.Y. JACKSON, THE GROUP OF SEVEN MASTER, WITH WHOM HE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SKETCH AND PAINT AROUND LETHBRIDGE WHENEVER JACKSON CAME TO TOWN TO VISIT HIS BROTHER. HE WAS ALSO DEEPLY INFLUENCED BY H.G. GLYDE, WHO TAUGHT AT THE ALBERTA COLLEGE OF ART IN CALGARY AND AT THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS AND WHO VISITED LETHBRIDGE TO TEACH ART CLASSES AT THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB. IN 1947 PISKO WAS ACCEPTED FOR MEMBERSHIP IN THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS. HE WAS A PROLIFIC PAINTER, WHO EXHIBITED REGULARLY WITH THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB AND THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS. HIS WORK IS REPRESENTED IN MANY PRIVATE, CORPORATE AND PUBLIC COLLECTIONS, AMONG THEM THE ALBERTA FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS AND THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE. MICHAEL PISKO PASSED AWAY IN 1999." FOR COPIES OF LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES ON PISKO AND HIS CAREER, AS WELL AS PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS FOR THE 1995 ARTWALK DEDICATED TO HIM, SEE PERMANENT FILE P19920009001-GA. FOR MORE INFORMATION, INCLUDING THE FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION AND LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES, PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE P20200016001-GA.
Catalogue Number
P20200016013
Acquisition Date
2020-06
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Date Range From
1950
Date Range To
1999
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
WOOD, METAL, HOG BRISTLES
Catalogue Number
P20200016014
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Date Range From
1950
Date Range To
1999
Materials
WOOD, METAL, HOG BRISTLES
No. Pieces
1
Length
29.0
Diameter
0.6
Description
GREEN WITH WHITE TIP HANDLED PAINT BRUSH, WITH BLONDE HOG BRISTLES IN A FLAT FORMATION, HELD WITH A NICKEL COLOURED METAL BAND. IN WHITE TEXT DOWN THE SIDE OF THE HANDLE, THE BRUSH READS, “3 M.GRUMBACHER “GAINSBOROUGH”R 1271-B IRELAND” PALE RESIDUE WRAPS AROUND BRUSH HANDLE ABOVE THE “3”. THERE ARE THREE GREY AND BLACK PAINT SPLATTERS ABOVE THE RESIDUE, ONE OF THEM ON THE METAL BAND. JUST BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF WHITE TIP IS A DENT IN THE HANDLE, WITH A HAIRLINE CRACK THROUGH THE HANDLE COATING EMERGING FROM IT AND WRAPPING AROUND THE BRUSH. COATING HAS ALSO BEEN CHIPPED OFF THE TIP OF THE HANDLE, 0.2 CM WIDE. BRISTLES ARE STAINED GREEN.
Subjects
PAINTING T&E
Historical Association
FINE ARTS
History
ON OCTOBER 8, 2020, COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN INTERVIEWED LYLE PENNINGTON REGARDING ANY MEMORIES OF HIS UNCLE “MIKE” MICHAEL PISKO (1913-1999), ABOUT THE DONATED DRAWINGS AND ART MATERIALS. ON SEEING HIS UNCLE PAINT, LYLE RECALLS, “WELL, I CAN REMEMBER MY UNCLE USING THIS WOODEN [EASEL] (P20200016007) BECAUSE WHEN I WAS ABOUT SIX YEARS OLD, HE SET THIS WOODEN EASEL UP. HE WAS BABYSITTING ME THAT ONE DAY...I WAS YOUNG AND HE SET THIS STAND UP AND HE SAID, 'WE’RE GOING TO PAINT A PAINTING TOGETHER.' HE GOT A PALETTE OUT AND HE PUT ALL THESE OIL PAINTS ON AND SHOWED ME HOW TO PUT THEM ALL ON AND THEN GOT THIS KNIFE THING OUT, IT’S A PALETTE KNIFE- IT WAS A FAIRLY BIG ONE AND IT WAS A FAIRLY BIG…PAINTING. IT WAS MAYBE 2 FEET WIDE AND 3 FEET HIGH AND I ASKED HIM WHAT HE WAS GOING TO PAINT AND HE SAID, 'I DON’T KNOW'. THEN HE STARTED SHOWING ME HOW TO MIX THE PAINTS AND PUTTING THEM ON, HE JUST SLOPPED THEM ON AND I KEPT ASKING, 'WHAT IS IT?' AND HE SAYS, 'I HAVEN’T DECIDED.' AND THERE WAS GREENS AND REDS AND YELLOWS. AND I'M WAITING AND WAITING AND I KEPT ASKING WHAT HE WAS PAINTING AND I COULDN’T MAKE HEAD OR TAILS OF IT BECAUSE HE DIDN’T START ANYWHERE. HE WAS PUTTING IT EVERYWHERE AND THEN FINALLY, JUST IN ONE MAGIC STROKE, THERE WAS A WHOLE BOUQUET OF FLOWERS AND I WAS SHOCKED. AND I SAID, 'UNCLE MIKE, THEY’RE FLOWERS.' AND THEN HE CONTINUED ON AND THEN HE SAYS, 'WHAT DO YOU THINK?' AND I SAYS, 'THEY LOOK REAL.' THEN HE SAYS, 'YEAH, I THINK THIS ONE’S GOOD.' AND THEN HE SHOWED ME HOW TO SIGN THE PAINTING- HE TOOK SOME RED PAINT AND THEN HE THINNED IT WITH SOME TURPENTINE AND HE TOOK THIS LITTLE TINY BRUSH AND HE ROLLED IT IN THE RED PAINT AND THEN HE SIGNED HIS NAME ON THE BOTTOM LEFTSIDE…I REMEMBER IT VIVIDLY BECAUSE I COULDN’T BELIEVE THE PAINTING SUDDENLY IN ONE STROKE MADE SENSE, IT WAS LIKE MAGIC. HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS PAINTING BUT I DIDN'T. I HAD NO CLUE. HE JUST GRINNED AT ME WHEN I SAID, 'IT’S FLOWERS.' YEAH, IT WAS A WHOLE BOUQUET OF FLOWERS IN A VASE.” “THAT WAS THE ONE TIME THAT I GOT TO SEE HIM ACTUALLY PAINT A PAINTING. THAT WAS THE ONLY PAINTING I SAW HIM PAINT. I DON’T THINK MANY OTHERS SAW HIM PAINT THE MANY PAINTINGS THAT HE DID. HE DID IT SORT OF PRIVATELY I THINK. I DON’T THINK MY DAD EVER SAW HIM PAINT A PAINTING. BUT HE DID COME OVER ONE TIME – WE HAD A DOOR - IT WAS A METAL DOOR LIKE A SCREEN DOOR AND IT HAD A PHEASANT ON IT AND ALL THE PAINT HAD COME OFF. HE CAME OVER AND REPAINTED THAT PHEASANT. HE PAINTED IT FREEHAND AND IT LOOKED REAL. IT WAS AMAZING. THE ONLY OTHER TIME HE CAME OVER WAS TO HELP PAINT OUR HOUSE, AND HE COULD PAINT WITH A BRUSH FASTER THAN A PERSON COULD PAINT WITH A ROLLER AND IT WAS PERFECT. THOSE ARE THE TIMES I SAW HIM ACTUALLY PAINTING OTHER THAN WHEN I WENT TO HIS SHOP.” ACCORDING TO A LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLE, DATED OCTOBER 6, 1996, BEFORE MICHAEL FINISHED HIGH SCHOOL HE HAD BEGUN WORKING PART-TIME FOR ROBERT BARROWMAN, AN EARLY CITY MAYOR AND OWNER OF CITY SIGN WORKS. 15 YEARS LATER WHEN BARROWMEN SOLD THE COMPANY, MICHAEL AND HIS FELLOW EMPLOYEE NIGEL HILL BOUGHT THE BUSINESS AND RENAMED IT CITY SIGN CO. THIS BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP LASTED UNTIL 1970. ON HIS TIME AT CITY SIGN CO. WITH HIS UNCLE, LYLE ADDED, “…I’D GO IN EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE JUST TO VISIT AND I REMEMBER CARS COMING IN AND HE WOULD DRAW WHATEVER THEY WANTED. THEN HE WOULD TAKE THIS – IT LOOKED LIKE A PIZZA CUTTER WITH A WHEEL ON IT AND HE WOULD RUN IT ALONG THE LINES AND PUNCH LITTLE HOLES IN IT. HE WOULD TAPE THE LOGO ON TO THE CAR, A BRAND NEW CAR OR TRUCK OR WHATEVER. AND THEN HE WOULD PUT CHALK ON IT AND PULL THAT PAPER OFF. THEN HE WOULD PAINT THE LOGO OR SIGN FREE HAND WITH A BRUSH AND OIL PAINTS. AND IT WAS AS GOOD AS ANY SIGN YOU SEE TODAY MADE WITH A MACHINE. YEAH, IT WAS ASTONISHING.” “AND THE ONE DAY WHEN I WAS IN THERE AND I ASKED HIM HOW HE DID THE LETTERING AND HE SAYS, “I’LL SHOW YOU.” HE HAD ALL THIS PAINT ON THE SHELF AND THIS BIG TABLE WHERE HE PUT STUFF AND HE GRABBED A PIECE OF PAPER. HE TOOK A PENCIL AND DREW TWO LINES AND THEY WERE PARALLEL. AND YOU PROBABLY COULD HAVE MEASURED THEM AND THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN EXACTLY PARALLEL, AND THEN HE TOOK HIS BRUSH AND SAYS, “OKAY, I’LL PAINT YOUR NAME, I’LL PAINT LYLE.” AND HE TOOK THIS LONG – JUST A REGULAR BRUSH THAT WAS A KIND OF FLOPPY BRUSH AND HE DIPPED IT INTO SOME OIL PAINT AND HE JUST PAINTED MY NAME JUST L-Y-L-E LIKE THAT IN BLOCK LETTERS, IN A MATTER OF SECONDS AND IT WAS PERFECT. AND HE EXPLAINED THAT WHEN YOU PUT THE LETTERS TOGETHER, SOME LETTERS ARE CLOSER THAN OTHER LETTERS TO MATCH, AND HE EXPLAINED ALL THAT TO ME, HOW YOU WOULD DO THAT. THEN HE TOOK IT AND SAID 'YOU CAN DO ITALICS' AND HE MADE THEM ALL SLOPED EVENLY. AND HE SAID, 'I CAN DO IT LIKE IN A JAPANESE STYLE WHERE THE LETTERS ARE BIG ON THE TOP.' AND HE DID THAT ALL IN OIL AND IT WAS LIKE ANY PRINTER THAT YOU SEE TODAY AND ABOUT THE SPEED OF SLOW WRITING. I WAS ASTONISHED.” “SO I USED TO GO IN ONCE IN A WHILE AND VISIT HIM IN THE SHOP AT THAT TIME AND I REMEMBER ONE TIME I – HE ACTUALLY ENCOURAGED ME TO START PAINTING. I STARTED DOING THAT AND HE GAVE ME SOME HINTS, LITTLE THINGS LIKE PERSPECTIVE, VANISHING POINTS, WHAT WERE THE OTHER THINGS, OH, HOW THICK PAINT DOESN’T STICK TO THIN PAINT AND VICE VERSA, AND WHEN YOU USE OIL PAINTS YOU PAINT FROM THE BACK TO THE FRONT. WHEN YOU USE WATERCOLORS, YOU PAINT LIGHT TO DARK, USUALLY – THAT KIND OF THING. HE HELPED ME WITH THAT KIND OF STUFF. HE WAS SHOWING ME.” REMEMBERING HIS UNCLE, LYLE STATES, ”MY UNCLE WAS A VERY NICE MAN. I NEVER SAW HIM EVER ANGRY, EVER. I NEVER HEARD ANYONE EVER SAY THAT HE WAS ANGRY. ONLY ONCE. ONLY ONE TIME THAT I EVEN HEARD THAT HE WAS ANGRY. ONE TIME HE HAD A PAINTING AND MY AUNT DIDN’T LIKE IT SO SHE TOOK OUT SOME PAINTS AND FIXED IT FOR HIM. AND THAT WAS THE ONLY TIME THAT HE WAS ANGRY, THAT I HAVE EVER KNOWN. I THINK HE FORGAVE HER BUT I DON’T THINK SHE TOUCHED HIS PAINTINGS AFTER THAT. SO BASICALLY MY AUNT AND MY UNCLE WERE NICE AND IT WAS A PLEASURE TO GO OVER AND VISIT HIM. HE WAS SO NICE. AND I’M NOT SAYING THAT BECAUSE HE’S MY UNCLE OR ANYTHING- HE JUST WAS A NICE MAN.” WHEN ASKED ABOUT WHAT HE KNEW AT THE TIME OF HIS UNCLE'S ART CAREER, LYLE ADDS, “I DIDN’T REALLY KNOW [ABOUT IT]. I HAD NO CLUE WHAT HE DID. I DIDN’T KNOW HE WAS A FRIEND OF A.Y. JACKSON AND ALL OF THAT…I GUESS HE SOLD THE PAINTINGS BUT I SAW IT MORE OF A HOBBY BECAUSE HE WOULD PAINT A PAINTING AND THEN RE-PAINT IT, LIKE, IF HE DIDN’T LIKE IT HE WOULD JUST PAINT OVER IT. AND BECAUSE HE WAS A SIGN PAINTER. HE WAS ACTUALLY AN ELECTRICIAN BY TRADE. HE WENT TO SAIT AND BECAME AN ELECTRICIAN BUT COULDN’T GET ANY WORK AND STARTED A SIGN BUSINESS AND [IT], TO ME AS A KID, IT WAS JUST A JOB, LIKE DAD’S JOB THAT KIND OF THING, SO YOU HAVE A JOB [AND] YOU GO TO WORK [AND] SO I DIDN’T THINK IT WAS ANYTHING SPECIAL…I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND, AS A KID,... I WENT OFF DOING MY OWN THING. YEAH…HE WAS CLOSE TO FINISHING [HIS CAREER], BY THE TIME I WAS AN ADULT, HE WAS JUST NEAR DONE.” IN 2014, COLLECTIONS ASSISTANT JANE EDMUNDSON CONDUCTED A SURVEY OF ART OBJECTS. THE FOLLOWING BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ON MICHAEL PISKO WAS FOUND IN A PRESS RELEASE ANNOUNCING THE 'MICHAEL PISKO MEMORIAL AWARD', WHICH WAS ESTABLISHED BY THE ARTIST'S WIDOW AND THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS IN 2000, TO BE AWARDED TO A GRADUATING BFA DEGREE PAINTER FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE: "MICHAEL PISKO WAS BORN IN LETHBRIDGE IN 1913. HE MADE HIS LIVING AS A SUCCESSFUL SIGN PAINTER THROUGH HIS BUSINESS, CITY SIGN COMPANY, BUT LANDSCAPE PAINTING WAS HIS LIFE'S FULFILLMENT. TO HONE HIS SKILLS, HE STUDIED THREE SUMMERS AT THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS AND SOUGHT INSTRUCTION FROM SENIOR VISITING ARTISTS WHO CAME TO LETHBRIDGE ON INVITATION OF THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB, OF WHICH HE, IN 1937, WAS ONE OF THE FOUNDING MEMBERS. PISKO GREATLY ADMIRED A.Y. JACKSON, THE GROUP OF SEVEN MASTER, WITH WHOM HE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SKETCH AND PAINT AROUND LETHBRIDGE WHENEVER JACKSON CAME TO TOWN TO VISIT HIS BROTHER. HE WAS ALSO DEEPLY INFLUENCED BY H.G. GLYDE, WHO TAUGHT AT THE ALBERTA COLLEGE OF ART IN CALGARY AND AT THE BANFF SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS AND WHO VISITED LETHBRIDGE TO TEACH ART CLASSES AT THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB. IN 1947 PISKO WAS ACCEPTED FOR MEMBERSHIP IN THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS. HE WAS A PROLIFIC PAINTER, WHO EXHIBITED REGULARLY WITH THE LETHBRIDGE SKETCH CLUB AND THE ALBERTA SOCIETY OF ARTISTS. HIS WORK IS REPRESENTED IN MANY PRIVATE, CORPORATE AND PUBLIC COLLECTIONS, AMONG THEM THE ALBERTA FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS AND THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE. MICHAEL PISKO PASSED AWAY IN 1999." FOR COPIES OF LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES ON PISKO AND HIS CAREER, AS WELL AS PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS FOR THE 1995 ARTWALK DEDICATED TO HIM, SEE PERMANENT FILE P19920009001-GA. FOR MORE INFORMATION, INCLUDING THE FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION AND LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES, PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE P20200016001-GA.
Catalogue Number
P20200016014
Acquisition Date
2020-06
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail

26 records – page 1 of 2.