Trove of discovered paintings on display at Cranbrook Arts Council

Imagine finding a storage locker full of boxes of paintings.

The influence of the Group of Seven can be seen in the art of Victorine Kierstead.

The influence of the Group of Seven can be seen in the art of Victorine Kierstead.

We all hear of finding a painting in the attic or some far and forgotten corner but imagine finding a storage locker full of boxes of paintings.

This is what happened to Tracie Truscott’s mother when she attended a sale of the contents of a storage locker in Creston.  In the boxes she purchased were over one hundred drawings and paintings by Victorine Kierstead.

After Tracie approached Cranbrook and District Arts Council with the possibility of an exhibit and sale, we became interested in the history of these paintings.

Local genealogist David Humphrey took on the task of tracing the origins of this collection of paintings.

It was known that the paintings had belonged to Ron Brown, also known as “The Bead Man of Crawford Bay.” Ron Brown died on Feb. 10, 2006, in Creston.  Before obtaining his obituary and with clues from accession forms in the collection of paintings, it was determined that Victorine Kierstead had lived in Toronto during the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s.

Kierstead was an aunt to Ron Brown and had left no recorded family when she died. She was listed as a teacher by profession, living on Howard Street, Toronto in the voters’ list of 1972. On previous voters’ lists she was listed as an artist and then an art teacher.

In the collection of work by Kierstead was an accession form to the Ontario Museum of Art at a time when the Group of Seven were frequently showing. Their influence can easily be recognised in her work.

Victorine was actually Alice Victorine Kierstead, born to Victorine Pelland and William Henry Kierstead on August 20, 1913, in Heron Street, Deer Park, Toronto.  Her nephew was Ron Brown of Creston, whose mother was Mildred Kierstead, sister to William and  married to Russell Brown.

It appears Victorine was an artist most of her life for along with her extensive collection of work, submission forms for the Toronto Museum of Art, it has also been determined she was a member of the Watercolour Society of Canada.

The collection of paintings, watercolours, acrylics, silk and block prints is extensive and on loan from owner, Tracie Truscott.  Many of the paintings are also for sale. Please see our administrator   Marisa Philips if interested in purchasing any of those works listed ‘For Sale.’

The Opening Reception for this exhibit is Thursda,y July 3, and is open to the public.

Opening hours for the Gallery located at 135, Tenth Ave. S. Cranbrook are Tuesday to Friday 11 am – 5 pm and Saturday 10 am to 2 pm Visit our webpage at www.cranbrookanddistrictartscouncil.com.

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