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“Sculpture is harmony of mass as music is harmony of sound…Both must be vitalized by emotion, controlled by reason.” 1950
Florence Wyle was a champion of Canadian sculpture who was influenced by the principles of Classical Greek art. She is known for her portrait busts, small figurative sculptures and public monuments. Much of her work was cast in bronze, but she also carved stone, marble and wood.
Though she originally intended to become a physician, Wyle took to sculpture and enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago where she met her lifelong friend and artistic companion, Frances Loring. In 1909, the pair moved to New York City’s Greenwich Village to share a studio before settling in Toronto in 1913. Immersed in the city’s art scene, Wyle was friends with the Group of Seven and sculpted busts of A.Y. Jackson and F.H. Varley.
Wyle produced several small bronze statues depicting factory workers for the Canadian War Memorial board and received other commissions for architectural pieces in Toronto buildings. The Sun Worshiper and Torso display her appreciation of the power and grace of the female form, while the simplified form of The Cellistdemonstrates the influence of modernism in some of her work. Wyle was a founding member of the Sculptors’ Society of Canada. She received the Coronation Medal in 1953 for her role in Canadian Art societies.
Photography: M.O. Hammond Collection, National Gallery of Canada Archives