Reid, G.A. (George Agnew), 1860-1947

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Reid, G.A. (George Agnew), 1860-1947

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1860-1947

History

George Agnew Reid (1860-1947) was a Canadian artist, architect, educator and administrator influential in the early 20th century and instrumental in the formation of a number of important Canadian art institutions. Born in Wingham Ontario to a Scottish farm family, he studied architecture and book-keeping at his father’s insistence. In 1878 he moved to Toronto to study art. He was able to extend his art education under Thomas Eakins in Philadelphia, where he met the painter Mary Heister. In 1888 the couple travelled to Europe and studied at the Julian and Colorossi Academies, returning to Toronto in 1889. The house he designed and built in Wychwood Park was his home until the end of his life. In 1890, George Reid began reaching at the Central Ontario School of Art and Design. He eventually became principal and researched new theories of art education in the United States and Europe. Under his direction, the art school became independent of the Board of Education and moved into its own building, which he designed, in 1921. He also served as its first Principal. In 1892, George and Mary Reid built two cottages from his design at the artist colony in Onteora, New York. This led to the design of other summer homes and a small church in the Catskills community. They spent summers at this location until 1917 when the war made travel to the United States difficult. In 1921 Mary Heister Reid died, and in 1923 George Reid married Mary Wrinch, a former student and close friend of his first wife. His later life was filled with accomplishments, including the painting of murals for public spaces in Toronto City Hall, Jarvis Collegiate, the Royal Ontario Museum and elsewhere. He was instrumental in obtaining permanent funding and staff for the National Gallery in Ottawa, and was a force behind the establishment of the Art Gallery of Toronto. He was a member of the RCA, serving as President 1906-1907. He influenced a generation of students, among them C.W. Jefferys, through his teaching and created a number of works that exemplify his generation, including Forbidden Fruit, Mortgaging the Homestead, and The Foreclosure of the Mortgage.

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AGOAC00358

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ON00012

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