Celebrating Homer Watson’s 159th birthday bash

The Homer Watson House and Gallery, named after the famous landscape artist who combined romanticism and realism, celebrated his 159th birthday on Jan. 14. Watson is best known for his landscape paintings of the countryside of Doon, which is now Kitchener.

The self-taught artist was born in Kitchener, and travelled to places such as France and England to shadow highly acclaimed painters like George Inness. Watson’s career took to the international stage after the Governor General of Canada purchased one of his landscapes for Queen Victoria. His paintings received numerous distinctions, such as a number of awards at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, London’s Colonial and Indian Exhibition, and Toronto’s Industrial Exhibition. Watson also gave a great deal to the art community by becoming a founding member and president of the Canadian Art Club in 1907.

Watson was designated as a person of national historic significance and his former house in Doon became a national historic site in 1980. He and his sister Phoebe spent most of their lives in what is now the Homer Watson House and Gallery, which was converted after the stock market crash of 1929 to sell some of his works. The gallery is a must-see for any art enthusiast as it is an elegant place showcasing the works of not only Watson, but also many other great artists.

During his birthday celebration, the executive director and curator of the gallery, Faith Hieblinger, reflected upon Watson’s life and his paintings. The house still possesses many original paintings by Watson, and quite a few of these masterpieces can be found at the AGO in Toronto. The gallery has managed to preserve Watson’s legacy and also provides an opportunity for others in the community to witness it.

In the upcoming days and weeks, the gallery will be hosting a variety of exhibitions, featuring both internationally acclaimed artists and newcomers. The house also offers a number of workshops to the public, such as painting, pottery, and even mixed media.

After his death in 1936, the Homer Watson House and Gallery has continued to celebrate Watson and his works.


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