George Ernest Fosbery R.C.A.

1874 - 1960

The Artist in his Ottawa Studio.
In the background hangs the portrait of his daughter Patricia (see Link to 'The Artist').

Born in Ottawa, Ontario, Ernest Fosbery studied painting under Franklin Brownell, 1890-7, and in Paris with Fernand Cormon 1897-8. In 1907 he was appointed Headmaster, of the Art Student's League of Buffalo, and taught at the Art Guild of Buffalo, 1910-11. Returning to Ottawa in 1911 he taught at the Ottawa Art Association.
On reviewing Canadian painting in 1915 E.F.B. Johnstone made mention of Ernest Fosbery as a convincing painter of portraits and figure compositions. His subjects were very realistically done and of the highest quality. He became a member of the Union Internationale des Beaux Artes et des Lettres, Paris, in 1911. In 1912 he was written up in 'Canadian Men and Women of the Time' which was edited by Henry James Morgan.
Also that year, he became an Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy.
During the First World War he served in the Canadian Army in France. He was wounded in the Second Battle of the Somme and afterwards was promoted to the rank of Major when he became an official war artist.
A.Y. Jackson writes in his autobiography how Captain Fosbery came to his hut at Shoreham, England, sometime after Jackson himself was wounded in France, to organise the Canadian War Records. Jackson writes, " I stood to attention and saluted him. "Forget all that stuff, Jackson ", he said, "we are just artists together."
Fosbery arranged an interview for Jackson with Lord Beaverbrook, who had no knowledge of Canadian artists and on the suggestion of Fosbery, had decided to give Canadian artists an opportunity to record the activity of their country's fighting forces.
Ernest Fosbery did paintings for the Canadian War Memorials which included portraits of Pte. M.J. O'Rourke, V.C., and Sgt. W.T. Holmes, V.C., now in the Canadian War Memorials collection at the National Gallery of Canada. Some years later he exhibited a score of portraits at James Wilson & Co. of Ottawa, which included those of Mrs. Thomas Ahearn of Ottawa; Dr. Otto Klotz; Mr Robert Gill; William Southam; Mrs. William Southam and a self portrait. He also did portraits of Viscount Byng, a former Governor General of Canada; Hon. Hewitt Bostock; Hon. P.E. Blondin, and Chief Justice Sir Lyman Duff; Dr. H.M. Tory, founder of Carleton University; Premier E.C. Manning of Alberta and Lieut.-General E.L.M. Burns distinguished Canadian soldier who in 1956 was appointed commander of the United Nations Emergency Force in the Middle East.
Ernest Fosbery was elected full member of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1929 and President from 1943 to 1946. He was Chairman of the Arts Reconstruction Committee, 1944-5; President of the Canadian Arts Council, 1945-6. He died at Cowansville, Quebec. His canvases hang in the Supreme Court of Canada, The Senate; and the Dominion Archives.

His Obituary  - from the Montreal Gazette Feb. 8th 1960 reads:
Ernest George Fosbery well-known Canadian portrait painter and a former president of the Royal Canadian Academy, died yesterday in Cowansville, Quebec. He was 85.
  Born in Ottawa on December 29th 1874 he received his education at the Model School and Collegiate Institute, Ottawa and the Ottawa Art School and under Franklin Brownell, RCA. Mr. Fosbery also studied in Paris, France under the French artist Fernand Cormon.
  He served with the Canadian Grenadier Guards during the First World War, was wounded and mentioned in dispatches. He was discharged with the rank of major.
  Mr. Fosbery became an associate of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1912, a member in 1929, and was elected the academy's president in 1943, 1944, 1945 and 1946.
  He was also chairman of the Arts Reconstruction Committee in 1944-45, and honorary president of the Canadian Arts Council, 1945-46.
  Well known as a teacher, Mr. Fosbery was on the staff of the Arts Student League, Buffalo, N.Y. and the Art Association of Ottawa for many years.
  Among his better-known portraits are Viscount Byng, while he was Governor-General of Canada, Hon. Hewitt Bostock, Hon. P. E. Blondin, and Chief Justice Sir Lyman Duff.
  His portraits hang in the National Gallery, Government House, Ottawa, the Supreme Court of Canada, the Canadian Senate, the Canadian War Memorial Collection and the Dominion Archives.
  Funeral will be held in St. Bartholomew Church, Ottawa, Wednesday, February 10th at 2.00 pm. Burial will be in Beechwood Cemetery.
  Mr. Fosbery is survived by three daughters, Mrs. Frank Newson, (Affy), of Edmonton, Alberta, Mrs. Gwynne-Burroughs, (Phyllis), of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Mrs. Grange Kingsmill, of Montreal; and two sons, Kenneth G. of Oakville, Ontario and Edward J. of Fort Alberni, B. C.
The Artist