The McMaster Museum of Art

    Media File
    REID, George Agnew
    Date: Canadian, 1860-1947
    Reid’s artistic training, received in Toronto 1879, the Pennsylvania Academy 1883 and the Julian and Colarossi Academies in Paris between 1888-89 provided him with the formal, academic approach that characterized the paintings and murals produced throughout his career. By the 1890s Reid was established as a successful painter of large-scale genre scenes. These pictures include an emphasis on narrative and moralistic references. Elected to the Royal Canadian Academy in 1889, Reid became the first Principal, Ontario College of Art and Design in 1912. He remained the College’s Principal until 1929. In 1942, 400 of his paintings were presented to the Province for display in the Legislative Building and Ontario Schools. Reid died in Toronto.
    Call to Dinner was the first of his large scale genre paintings. His sister Susan is depicted in the foreground beckoning to workers on what could be his father’s Wingham farm. The southern Ontario landscape, however familiarly rendered, serves essentially as a theatrical backdrop for the figure which is portrayed in the tradition of an academic studio painting.

    Art instruction did not form part of the established curriculum at McMaster until well after the 1930 relocation to Hamilton. Nevertheless, both art appreciation and practical instruction were practiced at Mouton College, the women’s prepatory school located on Bloor Street Toronto in the home of University founder Senator William McMaster. The College was supported by McMaster’s wife Susan Moulton and until 1954, was funded by the University. Mary Wrinch, the wife of George A. Reid, provided art lessons for the female students. Numerous paintings and prints were installed in the College’s rooms for the enjoyment of the residents. In 1930, contact with George Reid was strengthened when Mr and Mrs. John H.I. Patterson donated the artist’s early major work Call to Dinner to the College. (Their daughter Mrs. F. Harvie, the former Sascha Patterson, was a graduate of the College.) Transfer of the ownership occurred in 1954 when the College was closed by the University. The painting was donated to the University in 1954.

    From the catalogue, The Art Collection of McMaster University, 1987