Famous Paintings

Orillia museum acquires ‘significant’ sketches by famed sculptor

Orillia museum acquires 'significant' sketches by famed sculptor
Written by Noah Roy

The museum buys one of Aurelia-born artist Elizabeth Wayne Wood’s drawings; The family donates again

The Aurelia Museum of Art and History (OMAH) has acquired two works from a highly respected local artist.

During a virtual event Thursday evening, OMAH announced that it is adding two sketches of Elizabeth Wayne Wood to its collection.

Wayne Wood, born in Aurelia in 1903 and died in 1966, was best known as a sculptor, but she was also prolific with drawings, some of which inspired her sculptures.

OMAH Executive Director Ninette Gyorody and Artistic Programming Coordinator Tanya Cannington had the opportunity to check out the exhibition Uninvited: Canadian Women Artists at Modern Moment at McMichael Canadian Art Collection last year, where some of Wyn Wood’s drawings and sculptures were on display.

They were also looking to boost OMAH’s group with work from a “underrepresented local artist” there.

After consulting with museum members, the staff contacted Wyn Wood’s descendants with an offer to purchase a sketch. It’s an untitled landscape piece completed in litho-crayon crayon on woven paper.

The family then offered to donate a second landscape sketch titled First Flight, Honey Harbor, also crayon on woven paper.

“I’m not a very emotional person, but I got very thoughtful when I read this email,” Giroudi said.

The late Kennifer Brown, daughter of Wayne Wood and fellow sculptor Emmanuel Hahn, was a staunch supporter of OMAH, along with husband Robert. Her daughter, Sylvie Brown, was present at Thursday’s event to present her grandmother’s history.

She said she enjoyed the stories her mother shared with her about her grandmother of 56 years.

“For me, Elizabeth Wayne Wood was my grandmother that I knew when I was a little girl,” she said.

Wyn Wood was in art school when she met Hahn, who taught modeling and casting.

Han was impressed that she was the first woman he had ever met and she always carried a sharp knife.

After graduation, Wyn Wood attempted to establish herself as a professional artist in Toronto. She wanted to create memorials, but Orillia had already commissioned one, Samuel de Champlain, by Vernon March.

She went on to secure many commissions, including the Welland Crowland War Memorial and the John Graves Simcoe Memorial.

She was also known for her landscape sculptures and often painted scenes while camping and kayaking.

Sylvie Brown hopes her grandmother’s drawings will become better known and said her family is looking forward to working with OMAH to raise this awareness.

Qennefer Browne has donated some of her mother’s dresses to the museum, but the two sketches are Wyn Wood’s first artwork to be included in the OMAH collection.

Giroudi said the daughters of Kennifer and Robert Brown “see how we see their parents – and now, in turn, their grandparents – and are happy to support a small museum through the work of Elizabeth Wayne Wood”.

“It is significant,” she said of the acquisition of the drawings she created, “a female who has been recognized in the art world not only in modern art but in modern sculpture. We can learn about this art and history at the same time.”

The goal is to host an exhibition of Wyn Wood’s work at OMAH. The family has offered to lend more pieces.

“We would definitely benefit from that. I would like to have an exhibition. I was amazed by her drawings,” Cannington said.

About the author

Noah Roy

Leave a Comment