Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Art and Antiques -- The Uno Langmann Gallery

One of the very active groups of the Faculty Women's Club is the Art Appreciation Group. I have belonged to it for quite a few years however it meets on a Thursday and since I became the co-convener of the Thursday Walking Group my obligations lie there. However this past Thursday I opted for Art Appreciation which was to be held at the Uno Langmann Gallery on Gallery Row in South Granville area, home to more than twenty art and antique dealers.

Uno Langmann, originally from Denmark, has been a gallery owner in various locations in the city since the latter half of the sixties. In the current location since 1977, Mr Langman has a fine collection of paintings, antiques and objets d'art in his elegant but crowded gallery, which is housed in a very distinctive building called Langmann House.

This very gracious man, who now operates the gallery with his daughter Jeanette, had agreed to speak to the 25 plus people of the group on the topic of their current exhibition, Reflecting the Scandinavian Landscape, mid 19th to early 20th century realist landscapes on canvas from Scandinavian countries, placing an emphasis on the Scandinavian influence on Canada's famous Group of Seven, who painted Canadian landscapes in the 1920s and were strongly influenced by the European Impressionists of the late nineteenth century.

Mr Langmann explained that every painter is influenced by other painters and the Canadians and American painters of the late 1800s flocked to the various schools of painting which flourished in Europe. In those days the cities were quite poluted and the paintings they saw in galleries were dirty and everyone seemed to paint with a brownish palette. But about that time painters began to venture outside and paint en plein air as it is called, especially the French Impressionists and those who followed the School of Barbizon. So too did the Canadian painters and besides painting with a clean palette they began to paint small canvases, around 8 x 10 or so, which were easy to transport as they travelled around on their bicycles to paint outdoors.

The Scandinavian painters too were influenced by the Impressionism and they developed an this style and also painted with a clean palette. Since the latitude is similar to Canada so too is the light and the Canadians painted in a similar fashion. When they returned to Canada they painted the landscape here in that manner and there is a distinct group of Canadian Impressionists as well as a group of American Impressionists painters.

Mr Langmann speaks in detail about a painting called Eskimo Camp
by Thomas Harold Beament

He also spoke about other Canadian painters, some lesser known than the Group of Seven but some of whom he considers to have painted better works, especially William Blair Bruce, who spent time in the Barbizon School and after his marriage to a Swedish sculptor spent his summers in Sweden. He also talked about prices of art since he began as a gallery owner and how taste in paintings change such that some paintings no longer fetch the prices they once did. The above is written based on my hastily scribbled notes and is in no way comprehensive and randomly highlights but a few of the interesting things said.

Regulator clock by John Bennett, inscribed on face "BENNETT 64 & 65 Cheapside, London, MAKER TO THE ROYAL OBSERVATORY", with label on case "THIS CLOCK WAS MADE FOR THE GREAT EXHIBITION OF 1862. BOUGHT DECr 1863 BY HENRY TAYLOR AND WAS THE GIFT OF HIS MOTHER.", fine burl wood case with key for double lock, mercury pendulum
Size in inches h-75.00 x w-20.50 x d-11.00

He then spoke in particular about each of a half dozen paintings in the gallery and afterwards we wandered around looking at what interested us. My eye was taken by the half dozen beautiful grandfather clocks around the gallery. I asked Mr Langmann about them and he said he was very interested in these clocks and he had several regulator clocks. He also said that these grandfather clocks could go on forever, even the one on display which was made around 1700, since they were so precisely manufactured.

Inlaid Georgian Tallcase Clock
British circa 1700

Inlaid Georgian tallcase clock, maker Andrew Dunlop (London worked 1701-1733), circa 1700; height 7'2", with key
Size in inches h-86.00 x w-17.50 x l-9.50

His daughter presented to each of us a beautiful small calendar with reproductions of paintings which had passed through the gallery and a packet of similar art notecards. When I thanked her and said I would send them to a friend overseas, she generously gave me another set to keep for myself.

Although as a group we have visited many galleries and artists' studios in Vancouver over the years I think I have to say that this was one of the most memorable as this quiet charming man shared with us his extensive knowledge and his passion for art.


Moggs Tigerpaw said...

I would swear I have seen that Clock on the table or something just like it before.

Can't be that one though, I have never been to that museum.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Sounds a fascinating gallery. Love the grandfather clocks - and that chandelier!

Crushed said...

You seem to have a lot of Galleries in Vancouver...
I only know of one in Birmingham...

Grandfather clocks seem somehow to belong to late nineteenth century North America, I don't know why.

Dr.John said...

And now I thank you for taking me on a tour I couldgo on in no other way. Thank you for the pictures and the comments.

Gledwood said...

Last time I went to an art gallery it was to see a friend's exhibition (how on earth he convinced anyone to takt this on I'll never know) revolving around very amateurish photos taken on a disposable camera (digital did not exist back then) of him digging his own grave, complete with VHS video film running on a cheap tv set of the same

oh by the way and we was stark naked

"we had to pin up bedsheets so the neighbours couldn't see. and we did it at 3 in the morning," said his boyfriend's mother, who once got a job in a brothel "by mistake" (she thought it involved aromatherapy and jumped at the words "no experience required")

i have to say that last opening was very successful. when i told the girls there was free drinks, free nibbles and a naked man involved ~ boy! ~ they flocked on down!!!

Liz said...

The people who had this house before us had a grandfather clock in the corner of the hall. Ever since then I have longed for one. That's nearly 20 years. One day, one day.

I'm glad you made the right choice between walking and art on this occasion.

CherryPie said...

It sounds like a wonderful day out :-)

Janice Thomson said...

Thanks for that tour JMB - this is a place to put on my list - I could spend hours looking at the paintings.

jmb said...

Well Moggs I'm sure it is not the only one of those clocks around.

So many beautiful things there Welshcakes. It was a pleasure to visit.

We do seem to have a lot Crushed fortunately. I think of the grandfather clocks of more English funnily enough.

I'm glad you enjoyed it Dr John.

Interesting story Gleds. But was it art?

Liz I hope you get one some day. I would like one too but no suitable place in this house but my son has a beauty which I bought from an estate sale.

Indeed it was Cherie and 22 went for lunch afterwards.

I am sure you would enjoy this gallery Janice. It was more like a museum in many ways.

Thanks to everyone for visiting and commenting.

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casperboost said...

Thanks so much for posting this article! I really enjoyed it! I hope someday I can go to that museum... the painting you had there looked so amazing! Where is the museum located again?