Will Ogilvie

Study for Hart House Chapel Mural: Virgin and Child, Adoring Figures, and Angels

1935
This is a study for a mural commissioned by the Massey Foundation for Hart House Chapel, University of Toronto. The finished oil on canvas mural was installed along the south chapel wall in 1936. Painter and graphic artist, Will Ogilvie was trained at the Arts Students League of New York (1927-30); was a partner with Charles Comfort and Harold Ayre in a Toronto commercial studio (from c.1931) and a founding member of the Canadian Group of Painters (1933). This generalized representation of a traditional sacred subject suits the nondenominational function of the chapel and reflects in its simplified, decorative formal rendering Ogilvie's knowledge of modernist artistic principals shaped by Cubism and Art Deco. The models for the Virgin and child are said to be Charles Comfort's wife, Louise, and baby daughter. The composition incorporates contempory references to the Canadian and university environment in stylized representations of northern shield country, deer, trillium field, male student with books and modern Ontario mother (holding trillium) with young girl. This panel is the main element in an overall decorative scheme including four smaller north window panels of angels (see Study Angels 15543) and an east altar mural of Adam (see Study Adam 15544).
Artist
Title
Study for Hart House Chapel Mural: Virgin and Child, Adoring Figures, and Angels
Date
1935
Medium
Painting
Materials
oil on canvas
Dimensions
61.2 x 198.4 cm irregular
Nationality
Canadian
Credit line
Vincent Massey Bequest, 1968
Accession number
15542