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Adrien Hébert Canadian, 1890
oil on canvas 109.7 x 68 cm Purchased 1994
National Gallery of Canada (no. 37594)
Against a background of a log cabin, rolling hills and cloud-filled sky, an unidentified musician stands on a platform or deck. The music of his harmonica is linked to nature and to the rural life of farmers and loggers rather than to the city. In the 1920s Hébert's friend the musician Léo-Pol Morin and others promoted the growth of an indigenous Canadian music derived from popular or folk traditions, an ideal evoked in this superb full-length portrait.