signed and dated "John Russell 09, Paris" (lower right)
Provenance: The collection of George A. Morrow and Phoebe C. Morrow, Toronto; Goeorge Graham Morrow and Doris C. Morrow, Toronto; Odon Wagner Gallery, nr. 14501; Private collection , Toronto.
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John Wentworth Russell was born in Binbrook, Ontario.He showed a tremendous aptitude for drawing at a young age.After completing his studies at the Hamilton School of Art, he went to New York to study at the Art Student’s League.He worked in New York for six years, distinguishing himself at the League as the youngest student to give drawing demonstrations.
Preferring cosmopolitan city life to the Canadian wilderness, Russell moved from New York to Paris in 1904 where he began to paint and study independently.In 1906, he exhibited for the first time at the Paris Salon.The two paintings he displayed, Portrait and L’enfant au Coq were very well received.
In 1909 he became a member of the Canadian Art Club.It was through his showing with the Club, that his painting Mother and Son, was acquired by the National Gallery of Canada.He was commissioned to paint five portraits of Sir Wilfred Laurier, one of which still hangs in the House of Commons.He exhibited with the Royal Canadian Academy from 1905 to 1919, showing works that would later be acquired by the Art Gallery of Ontario and the National Gallery.Though Russell often traveled to Canada and the United States, he made Paris his permanent home.