Robert W. Pilot

Canadian, RCA, MBE

Robert W. Pilot

Robert Wakeham Pilot is a Canadian painter born in 1898 in St-John's, Newfoundland. In 1910, his widowed mother of Mr. Edward Frederick Pilot, father of Robert, married the famous artist Maurice Cullen. From an early age, Robert Pilot assisted his father-in-law in his studio in Montreal. He took evening classes at the Council of Arts and Manufactures at the Monument National under the teachings of Edmond Dyonnet. In 1914, two works by the 16-year-old painter were exhibited at the spring exhibition at the Art Association of Montreal.

William Brymner recognizes the talent of the young artist and accepts him in his courses at the prestigious Art Association where he is the director. Knowing that he could not pay the course fees, Brynmer offered to reimburse him over a period of 10 years. His artistic education was however interrupted by the First World War. He was sent to the front in 1916.

The painter resumed his art lessons in 1920, at the Académie Julian in Paris. He travels to France and goes in the summer, with Edwin Holgate, to the Concarneau region to paint sketches and sketches. Two years later, he was elected a member of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts and exhibited his works at the Paris Salon. His work is strongly influenced by the Impressionist currents of the time.

On his return to Canada, he was appointed as an associate of the famous Royal Academy of Canada to become its president a few years later.

Robert Pilot's first solo exhibition in Canada took place in 1927 at the Watson Art Galleries in Montreal. Many exhibitions for the artist will follow. The Jessie Dow Prize was awarded to him in 1934.

He enlisted again in the army in 1941 as Captain for the Black Watch. He received the Order of the British Empire for his service in 1944. His years of service over, he returned to Montreal and settled into a quieter life.

In 1953, Pilot was honored by his election as a member of the U.S National Academy of Design. Then, one of his works is given to Winston Churchill for his 80th birthday. Finally, in 1957, the Canadian government presented a work by the master to Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip during their stay in the country.

He painted landscapes both at home and abroad such as France, Great Britain, Spain or Morocco. He will have been able to paint landscapes with a precise and timeless vision. It masters the time of dusk, giving the light hues of mauve blue and gray.

Robert Pilot died in 1967 in Montreal.

source: A.PRAKASH, Impressionism in Canada, a journey of rediscovery, Arnoldsche Art Publishers, 2015.

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