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Vincent MasseyEnlarge image

Vincent Massey, 1938

Augustus John
British, 1878 - 1961
oil on canvas
61.8 x 51.6 cm
Purchased 1951
National Gallery of Canada (no. 5774)

Before serving as Canada's Governor General, Vincent Massey (1887B1968) was first a trustee and then chairman of the board of the National Gallery of Canada. Massey was serving as High Commissioner for Canada in Great Britain when this portrait was painted. In 1946, Vincent and Alice Massey donated the paintings they collected while in London to the Gallery - just one example of their philanthropy and interest in the arts. The Massey Collection of English Painting is the source of most of the paintings in the current exhibition. John was a sought-after painter of celebrities, and William Butler Yeats, Lawrence of Arabia, and the Queen of England can be counted among his subjects. At the same time, he had a reputation as a bohemian, painting scenes of Romany life while spending time with his wife and children in gypsy caravans throughout Wales and England.

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