Thanks to the efforts of Robert Amos, a certain amount of local attention is currently being paid to the life and works of Harold Mortimer Lamb. A biography entitled “The Art Lover” written by Amos was published last fall, and an accompanying exhibition (curated by Amos) is currently on at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.
The book does recount a lot of Lamb’s life, but it leaves out a lot too. I’d sort of consider it the “good parts version”, assuming one’s interest tends more toward the history of Canadian painting and less toward the history of Canadian mining, which was where Lamb spent his professional career and from which he derived most of his income. This is entirely appropriate, given that Amos’ stated goal is to provide context for the large-ish and impressive collection of art works that formed the Harold and Vera Lamb Bequest to the AGGV, not to write Lamb’s official biography.
It’s not really my intention here to review either the book or the exhibition, though I’d say anyone at all interested in Canadian art from the first half of the 20th century should make a point of checking out both. Instead I’m just going to note some thoughts that spun off from my reading of the book.