John A. Hammond

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John A. Hammond

1843 - 1939
OSA RCA

John A. Hammond was a painter, photographer and printmaker, and he is best known for his landscapes of the Bay of Fundy in the Maritimes.
Hammond was born in Montreal, and by the age of eleven he had decided to become an artist. He led an adventurous life, and at 23 he joined an army regiment to supress a suspected Fenian raid. In the 1860s, Hammond traveled with his brother to New Zealand to search for gold. It is unclear if he did any drawing during this period, but in 1870 he joined the Transcontinental Survey party to create preliminary studies for building a railway. In 1871, through his work with the survey party, Hammond found employment with Wm. Notman Photographers in Montreal, Quebec. While at Notman, he worked with artists J.A. Fraser, Henry Sandham, Otto Jacobi and W.P. Weston. During his time with Notman, he began working towards the goal of becoming a full-time artist, and by 1873 he accomplished it when he was elected a member of the Ontario Society of Artists. He traveled to Saint John in 1880, where he painted portraits and worked as the principal of the Owens Art Institute, which was founded by John Owens, a shipbuilder and merchant in Saint John. Hammond ran the school between his travels until the early 1890s, when local interest in the Institute trailed off.
In 1885, he set sail for Europe once again. While in Holland, he spent time with James Whistler and likely learned about etching from the artist. He also painted with Jean-Franšois Millet at Barbizon, France, and in 1886, Hammond won two painting awards in the Paris Salon. In 1887, he exhibited at the National Gallery in New York, where he received honours. Hammond was elected a full member of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1893 and exhibited regularly at the RCA between 1891 and 1935. In 1901, he showed at the Pan-American Exhibition in Buffalo, where he received a silver medal. In 1904, Hammond was awarded a bronze medal at the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition. Sir William Van Horne, founder of the CPR, commissioned Hammond to create a number of large murals and paintings depicting Western Canada and the CPRĺs role in opening up the West.
Hammond was appointed Director of the School of Art at Mount Allison from 1907 to 1919, and the institution awarded him an LL.D. in 1930. In 1920, Hammond held a solo exhibition at Jenkins Gallery. In 1967, a retrospective exhibition of his work was held at Owens Art Gallery, Mount Allison University. His work is included in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada and the Winnipeg Art Gallery, among others.