Shore Line, Six Mile Lake David Milne, Shore Line, Six Mile Lake, 1936.

David Milne


Chosen by: Susanne Lloyd, Gallery Volunteer


“Back in the late 70′s, I took a course in the history of Canadian art at UBC. There were, of course, lots of examples from the Group of Seven, which I duly appreciated, but my eye and attention were drawn to the distinctive work of one of their central Canadian contemporaries, David Milne. He was doing something quite different in the landscape examples we were shown.

His pictures are not conventionally beautiful, but many of them are very beautiful. He accomplished so much with such a deliberately limited colour palette and spare means. The asymmetries appeal to me. He was not afraid to have densely monochrome spaces taking up much of the canvas, with the rest of the colour and content compressed near an edge. The way he used black and weighted dark against light is, as far as I know, unique.

As I came to know more of his work, I understood more of its relationship to the work of other artists. But the landscapes from the 20′s and 30′s seem wholly original. Courageously idiosyncratic in the context of their times, in their vision and their lack of compromise.

 The 1992 show of Milne’s work was my favourite of the exhibitions I’ve seen at the Vancouver Art Gallery. It hadn’t occurred to me to wonder if the Gallery owned any Milne paintings, so I was pleased to discover Shore Line, Six Mile Lake among the works on display. Not the most beautiful of his paintings, perhaps, but so distinctively Milne.”

David Milne, Shore Line, Six Mile Lake, 1936. Oil on canvas. Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Gift of Douglas M. Duncan Collection.

Susanne Lloyd is a retired librarian and amateur musician. She has been a volunteer in the Gallery library since 2008.

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