Works by several painters were used to enliven the Black Horse ads. The biographical notes for these artists appear below, in descending order of importance in the Musée’s Dawes Black Horse collection.
Robert Wakeham Pilot (1898, St. John’s, Newfoundland – 1967, Montréal, Quebec)
Landscape painter and etcher Robert Pilot was introduced to painting and life as an artist by his stepfather, the artist Maurice Cullen. He began drawing in Montréal, where he trained under William Brymner. After serving in the Canadian Army from 1916 to 1918, he pursued further art studies in Canada and in France.
Returning to Quebec, he spent time in the Laurentian Mountains, the Baie Saint-Paul area, Quebec City and the Maritime provinces to paint landscapes. In 1920, he was invited to exhibit with the Group of Seven. In 1925, he exhibited Quebec from Lévis at the National Gallery of Canada, which purchased the painting. He became a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1935 and served as president from 1952 to 1954.
Watson Art Galleries gave him his first solo show, in Montréal, in 1927. From 1938 to 1940, he taught engraving at École des beaux-arts de Montréal. In 1940, shortly after marrying Patricia Dawes, he re-enlisted in the Army to serve in World War II. After the war, he returned to painting and held his first Toronto solo show in 1948. Not long after his death, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts held a major retrospective of his work, which was also shown at the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Hamilton, in Ontario. Pilot’s work is represented in prominent collections, including those of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.
Franklin Arbuckle (1909, Toronto, Ontario - 2001, Toronto, Ontario).
Franklin Arbuckle studied at the Ontario College of Art from 1927 to 1930 under such painters as J.E.H. MacDonald. In 1930, he opened his own studio and earned a living selling his paintings and teaching art classes. During the war, he worked for the engraving firm Bomac, in Toronto in 1940 and 1941 and in Montréal from 1941 to 1944. His reputation as an illustrator was based on the knowledge of historical subjects that he depicted in series for Hudson’s Bay Company and commissions for Labatt Brewery, Distillers Corporation and Dow Chemicals.
Arbuckle’s landscape paintings and busy cityscapes were reproduced on the covers of Maclean’s magazine, and he showed his work in important exhibitions in Canada and abroad. He also produced murals and tapestries for clients, including the Château Champlain Hotel, in Montréal. He was elected a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1943, and his paintings, etchings and other works are found in collections, including those of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.
Frederick Simpson Coburn (1871, Upper Melbourne, Quebec - 1960, Upper Melbourne, Quebec)
Frederick Coburn studied art in Montréal and New York before pursuing his training in Europe, beginning in 1890. He found abundant work as an illustrator while abroad, having earned a solid reputation with his illustrations for a book by the Canadian poet W. H. Drummond. He went on to illustrate many collections of poems and books by well-known writers.
In Canada, Coburn’s reputation as a painter was built on his winter landscapes with horses pulling sleighs or hauling logs, a subject that had fascinated him since childhood. He painted these scenes in the Laurentian Mountains and the Eastern Townships after returning to Quebec in 1916. His paintings with horses were highly popular and are found in numerous collections in Canada, Europe, Japan and the United States.
Richard Jack (1866, Sunderland, England - 1952, Montréal, Quebec)
Richard Jack studied art in Europe, where he became known for his portraits of prominent figures. After winning a silver medal at the 1914 Carnegie International, in Pittsburgh, he was hired by the Canadian government, in 1916, to serve as Canada’s first official war artist. Made a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1920, he was known for his distinctive style and rapid execution. He made many trips to Toronto and Montréal to paint portraits and later did landscapes and still lifes, as well. He exhibited in Toronto and in Montréal, where he settled in 1931.