Peter Ewart
Canadian
1918-2001

Born in Kisbey, Saskatchewan, Ewart’s family moved to Montreal where he spent his formative years. His parents were both teachers in the Montreal school system and had a strong interest in visual arts. His father was an enthusiastic amateur painter and photographer and encouraged his son’s interest in both art and the outdoors. Ewart completed high school in the mid 1930’s and by then had decided to become an artist. His initial studies were taken at home and supplemented by life classes at Sir George Williams College. In 1938 a small inheritance permitted Ewart to spend a year in NYC at the Commercial Illustration Studio. He had chosen commercial art for practical purposes during the Depression but his greater interest was in the fine arts. He attended exhibitions of artists he admired which included Frederick Waugh, Carl Rungius and Celmore Browne. During this period he decided to focus on landscape painting.

 Ewart returned to Montreal where he worked as a freelance commercial artist for various advertising companies including the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Canadian Pacific Airlines for whom he did 24 travel posters, a selection of which were included in Canadian Pacific Posters 1883-1963 (1990). During the early 1940’s he was employed as a draftsman for an aeronautical engineering school operated by the RCAF, then enlisted as a wireless operator. During his postings at Calgary and the West Coast of B.C., he took advantage of his free time to sketch the landscape of Banff and the B.C. coastline.

 Following his discharge in 1946 Ewart returned to Montreal and did more commercial art for the CPR. He became an artist of the Stevens Art Gallery (later Continental Galleries). His first paintings were mountain landscapes and seascapes, two of which were accepted and hung in the Spring Shows of Art Association of Montreal. In 1948 he moved to B.C. and shortly thereafter married. He was first employed by O’Brian Advertising after settling in Vancouver and he was encouraged by the O’Brians to take his work to the Alex Fraser Galleries who became his dealer. In 1950 he worked for Smith Lithograph and during this period he introduced figures into his work, especially single riders. In 1952 he held his first highly-successful solo show of work done mainly in Cariboo country, and held annual shows at Fraser’s through to 1977. He held solo shows as well at the Downstairs Gallery, Edmonton; Gainsborough Gallery, Calgary; Hambleton Gallery, Kelowna and Oak Bay Beach Hotel, Victoria.

 In 1978 he began to visit remote areas of the Rocky Mountains, backpacking to the more rugged and spectacular natural settings. Writing on the artist for a solo show at the Gainsborough Galleries the author noted, “Travelling in his open Jeep, sleeping under the stars beside a campfire at night, he has traveled over much of the province he now calls home, and wherever he has gone, he has observed and recorded the country around him in his paintings.” 

 Commissions
Canadian Pacific Railway, Canadian Pacific Airlines, Bank of Montreal, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Toronto Dominion Bank, Imperial Oil Company, Home Oil Company, Shell Canada, Laing Construction (London, England), Westcoast Transmission, B.C. Telephone Company, B.C. Hydro, Kelly Douglas, Burns Fry Ltd., Expo '86, Calgary Olympic Winter Games, Ocean Cement, Douglas Lake Ranch (C.N. Woodward), Fletcher Challenge

 Exhibitions
Alex Fraser Galleries, Royal Academy (London, England), Royal Canadian Academy, Canadian National Exhibition (Toronto), Mid-Century Expo of Canadian Painting, Calgary Stampede (1967), Alwin Galleries (London, England 1972)

 Museum Collections
Quebec Provincial Museum, Glenbow Foundation, Charles M. Russell Museum (Montana), Peter Whyte Collection

 Source: Macdonald, Colin S., A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Vol. 1 (A-F), Canadian Paperbacks (Ottawa, 1997), pp.693a-694a