LAPINE, Andreas Christian Gottfried (André Lapine)
Born in Shujen, Province of Riga, Russia, he studied there under Professor Rosé of the Imperial Academy of Petrograd. He then was reported to have travelled with Rosé to London and Paris. In France he spent two years then went on to Belgium and Holland. He studied under Prof. Allebé at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam, Holland, and was married in that country. He came to Canada with his wife in 1907 and farmed for a time in the west and about a year later settled in Toronto. Among the many subjects he painted were horses and he did them exceptionally well. His work was reproduced in magazines like the Canadian Magazine and Saturday Night, and others. By 1919 he was an associate of the Royal Canadian Academy, and, shortly after its founding in 1925 he became a member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour. In 1934 he was struck by an automobile and the Mail & Empire carried the following account of the accident, “The rather small painter, who excels in the delineation of horses, was crossing the highway near his home two weeks ago. He saw an auto coming from one direction, stepped backward and was knocked down by another car travelling in the opposite direction.” The article also mentioned that his friends were appealing for money to aid the artist in meeting his medical expenses. The Star Weekly almost a month later announced that a committee had been formed headed by Sir Wyly Grier who was then President of the Royal Canadian Academy, to organize a sale of paintings contributed by artists in Ontario to help pay for Lapine’s medical bills. Actually, L.A.C. Panton, President of the Ontario Society of Artists, was a co-organizer of the benefit exhibition. The showing took place at the T. Eaton Fine Art Galleries and the Robert Simpson Co. under the patronage of His Honour, the Lieutenant-Governor and Mrs. Bruce and forty-one other distinguished families including Lady Baillie, Lady Eaton, Hon. Vincent and Mrs. Massey, Mrs. Lawren Harris, Col. and Mrs. J.B. MacLean, Mr. & Mrs. A.H. Robson, Dr. and Mrs. Sigmund Samuel. Lapine who was in serious condition recovered and returned to his easel. In 1939 a second serious accident almost took his life. The Toronto Star related his own story of what happened at his South Lake farm near Minden, Haliburton country, as follows, “I was digging a hole to bury a boulder that was too large for the horses to drag out of the field . . . . It was six feet high, five wide and three feet thick, and I thought we could easily tumble it into a hole dug alongside of it. I had the hole about two feet deep when I struck a large slab of rock about three feet long and three inches thick. I had lifted this up and was talking to Mrs. W. Hamilton, at whose farm I live, when I felt something moving against my back. Immediately I realized the big stone was moving on top of me and there was no chance of getting out of the hole before it would crush me. Somehow I managed to shove the slab I held in my hands against the big stone as it fell, and by a chance it propped the big stone up while I crawled out from under the arch they formed.” The story appeared in other papers. It was in 1944 that he held his next one man show after a period of eight years. The showing took place at the Malloney Gallery and was reviewed by The Toronto Star as follows, “Andre’s current show is a revel in the luminous pageantry of nature: red foxes at play in a Haliburton forest; colonnades of gray larches etched against splashes of cloud-colors; a sandy high-road among rich blazes of maple foliage; a Whistleresque gray-poplar gleam of ice-cutters; a misty symphony of grays; cattle-herds as naturalistic as his horses used to be . . . for touches of portraiture, a luminous figure of his mother and a vivid cheerio of Pearce, naturalist in a glorious ensemble of clothes-colors even to the glistening rubber of his overshoes.” He held subsequent solo shows at Malloney’s. At the age of 84 he died at his home in Minden, Ontario, and his passing was noted by The Telegram as follows, “Few of his paintings ever changed hands after they were bought. Adversities which befell him from time to time had no effect on his mood of painting. It remained gallant. Prior to his 80th birthday, he did a series of pictures of an old Ontario village following the scene through spring and summer.” Lapine is represented in the National Gallery of Canada, The Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Queen’s University, Kingston) and elsewhere, also in many important private collections.
Colin S. MacDonald
A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, volumes 1-8 by Colin S. MacDonald, and volume 9 (online only), by Anne Newlands and Judith Parker
National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts du Canada