Dewitt Drake [Canadian, 1884-1978] Path Though Woods Oil Painting

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Dewitt Drake [Canadian, 1884-1978]

[Path Though Woods]. 

9 x 10 5/8 inches (22.6 x 27 cm)

oil on ply-wood panel.

unsigned [bearing estate signature].

circa 1950s

Framed. Frame measures: 16 1/4 x 18 (41.2 x 45.8 cm)

Provenance: The Estate of the Artist.

(Edgar Frank) Dewitt Drake [1884-1978] was born in Dunnville, Ontario, to a family of tradesmen. His Parents were very involved in the local Methodist Church and one of his sisters eventually became a Missionary in Japan. In early life Drake traveled to northern Ontario, lived in Fort William (Thunder Bay), and visited Buffalo, New York where he had family. In documents from the period Drake listed his occupation as “Printer”. In 1914 he married his wife Edith, and a daughter named Stella was born in 1919. Drake resided in Toronto for most of his life but was later committed to Whitby Hospital because of declining health. He worked for the Toronto Telegram newspaper for many years as a type-setter and illustrator (in 1963 he received a 50 year medal from the Typographical Union. No. 91). He had extensive contacts with artists active in the Toronto area and was a friend of J.E.H. and Thoreau MacDonald (a work in the estate bears a presentation inscription from the artists). Drake studied at the Buffalo School of Art, New York, and may have studied at the Art Students League, and at the Boston School of Art. It is also believed that he studied at the Ontario College of Art (Carmichael, JEH. MacDonald, & Beatty would have been teachers). He painted in Toronto, the greater Toronto area, and southern Ontario (his earliest work dates from the 1920’s). Some extant paintings and drawings have exhibition labels from the Ontario Society of Artists Annual Exhibitions in 1920 and 1921. Dewitt Drake was also an accomplished etcher and showed prints with the Canadian Painters-Etchers in 1957, 59, 60, and 62. His graphic work was influenced by Modernist trends of the twentieth century and his paintings by the Post-Impressionism of the Group of Seven.