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HUMANITIES 277 wonder. The distinction is fine. How does one convince the student who asserts the correspondence between advertising and poetry that there is more to the latter, something evasive, fugitive/ and intangible? Pacing Garry Leonard's 'denaturalization' of Stephen's rhetoric and the social construction of beauty, I feel like Borges at the end of T16n: I have only an outmoded je ne sais quoi to offer/ yet must feebly protest that there remains a difference that makes all the difference. (CHRIS ACKERLEY) David Milne, Jr, and David P. Silcox. David B. Milne: Catalogue Raisonne oj the Paintings 2 vals. University of Toronto Press. Volume 1: xl, 48 pp colour iUus, 450 b&w/text; volume 2: xvi, 48 pp colour illus, 720 b&w/text. $500.00 This catalogue raisonne - 'raisonne' meaning 'explained' in French - is the second of a four-part project on the life and work of Canadian artist David Brown Milne (1882-1953). First to appear was David Silcox's superb biography, Painting Place (University of Toronto Press, 1996); after the catalogue raisonne will appear a CD ROM containing all of Milne's paintings in colour; and finally, a volume of Milne's enormous writing output, to be edited by David Milne, Jr. A key element of this monumental Milne project, the catalogue raiso11ne, begun in 1969, was itself a prodigious task, and the result is a fitting testament to the authors' and their dozens of assistants' careful diligence. It is the most comprehensive catalogue raisonne yet done for a Canadian artist. As a scholarly undertaking, the catalogue raison11e is a model work, using for sources of information a huge, international range of archives, museums, galleries, and libraries, and a network of 'expert/ willing, and generous people.' It builds on a number of prior efforts to keep track of Milne's production, among them Douglas Duncan's incomplete photographic catalogues, begun in 1938, and Rosemarie L lovell's even briefer cataloguesfor the National Gallery (1976, 1980). Milne himselfwrote in 1934 ofhis wish to catalogue his work, so in a sense this catalogue raisonne is the fulfilment of that urge too. Milne, Jr, and Silcox state that the purpose of the catalogue raisonne is 'to provide an accurate and detailed authentication of each of David Milne's paintings' in oil and watercolours. In chronologicalorder, all 2725paintings are reproduced in black and white photographs, of which 193 are also gorgeously reproduced in colour. The authors state that they are leaving for an unspecified future volume Milne's nearly 3000 drypoints, etcrungs, prints, and drawings. Although the decision to exclude these latter works is entirely understandable from a practical perspective, I do hope that the 'other-than-paintings' project will indeed be accomplished. Studying the pictures and reading the annotations in this catalogue raisonne enable a good understanding of Milne's development as a painter: his methods in oil and 278 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 watercolouc his experiments, how he would push a line of thought regarding themes, devices/ and even changes of season. At the end of the second volume are reproduced thirty-two of his pencil and pen-and-ink drawings from New York, 1915-16. Unlike his contemporaries, the Group of Seven, who studied in Europe, but like Tom Thomson, Milne went to the United States for his art education. From examining the drawings of the time, one realizes just how closely related they are to the paintings. One of the lessons he learned in New York was to work quickly in order to make an immediate impact on the viewer; in fact, he later defined painting as I a drawing made readable.' For Milne, drawing, the lines of shape, conveys the ideas of a painting, while colour conveys the emotional content. In comparison to realistworks, Milne's drawing and colours are both simplified, and the resulting paintings nearly always achieve a palpable 'rightness' in their impact. This characteristic sense of rightness about Millie's paintings is not itself necessarily simple, however. Milne's merest line-stroke and hint of colour trigger intellectual and emotional associations in the viewer, and one's attention inevitably returns to the painting with a renewed sense of the power of Milne's art...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 277-278
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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