William Raphael R.C.A. 1833-1914
Sharon Rose Goelman
This thesis examines the biography and
professional life of the artist William Raphael, who immigrated to Canada in 1857.
Equipped with an academic education from the Royal Academy of Berlin, Raphael engaged in
painting portraits, landscapes, genre scenes and still life from the time of his arrival.
Initially, he worked in photography with William Notman and others. Aside from the art he
produced, one of his greatest contributions lay in the field of art education, both in
public institutions and in his own school. Raphael helped build important new l9th century
Canadian art organizations and institutions. He was a charter member of the Royal Canadian
Academy, a founder of the Society of Canadian Artists and the National Art Gallery of
Canada. He was an original member of the Pen and Pencil Club of Montreal as well as a
participant in the Ontario Society of Artists, the Art Association of Montreal and the
Council of Arts and Manufacturers of Quebec. The vicissitudes surrounding the artist's
association within these societies is covered in detail. Emphasis has been placed upon an
assessment of his style and the spectrum of his work, particularly the witty genre scenes.
These depict what were to him the more exotic aspects of Canadian life. An attempt was
made to examine the artist's work within the context of the German Biedermeier realist
tradition and its adaptation to the Canadian scene.
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