John Howard Willis and Alexandre Vattemare: An Artist Meets a Collector
Lecture presented online on March 17, 2021
During the winter of 1841, the inhabitants of Quebec City received an extraordinary visitor from France: Alexandre Vattemare, known at the time for an intriguing multiplicity of identities as a ventriloquist, a wealthy philanthropist, and a cultural ambassador. Vattemare acquired works of art during his stay, including four watercolour sketches of Indigenous people, now in the McCord Museum collection, by artist and writer John Howard Willis. This presentation investigates these watercolours, and, through the work of Willis, further probes the wider context of the depiction of Indigenous Peoples by settlers, both in image and text, in early nineteenth century North America.
Lecture presented as part of a virtual lecture series: McCord Discoveries.
- Anne MacKay, Head, Conservation, McCord Museum