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Artists J. Frederic McCulloch focus of talk

The life of a young Pictou County artist whose short life was full of talent and achievements will be the focus of a presentation Tuesday, Nov. 14.

A talk and presentation on J. Frederic McCulloch (1905-1932) will take place at the New Glasgow Regional Library’s community room at 7:30 p.m. following the Pictou County Roots Society meeting.

McCulloch was born in Pictou County but died at the young age of 27 from the blood disorder haemophilia. He was a graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and later moved to London and later Paris to continue his studies.

The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia called for his inclusion as “among the best Canadian painters” of the early 20th century. His biography states “his works convey the assurity and confidence few others achieve in a lifetime.”

He died in Paris, France, but relatives of McCulloch still live in the Pictou County area.

Local historian John Ashton describes McCulloch as an unknown icon.

“I’ve had a look at his work and it’s fantastic,” he said. “To die so young and to be so talented – just think of the potential if he had lived a full life.”

Ashton said Anne Cook is the person responsible for raising awareness of McCulloch’s art and she will be speaking at Tuesday’s event in a question and answer format with Ashton.

Cook said McCulloch has been an artist who has interested her for decades and she was fortunate enough to meet with his wife, Alice, who had saved all his work. Those paintings were bequeathed to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

In addition to the quality of his work, Cook said one of the qualities about McCulloch that stood out to her was, despite the fact that he had haemophilia, he didn’t let it stop him.

“He persevered. He studied. He became an accomplished artist,” she said.

She hopes that as people learn about McCulloch, they’ll take pride in the fact that an artist of his skill hailed from here.

“It’s one of these stories that is unique to our county and to our province,” she said.

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