Bertram Brooker


Oil on board, titled and the estate stamp on the reverse
61 x 43.2 centimeters, 24 x 17 inches

Private Collection, Toronto.

B.R. Brooker, The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1972 and travelling to other galleries, no.1.
The Logic of Ecstasy: Canadian Mystical Painting 1920-1940, London Regional Art and Historical Museums, March 10-April 22, 1990, travelling to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Edmonton Art Gallery, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Beaverbrook Art Gallery and Dalhousie Art Gallery.

Bertram Brooker (1888-1955), Dennis Reid, , National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1979, catalogue no. 1, reproduced  p. 21.
The Logic of Ecstasy: Canadian Mystical Painting 1920-1940, Ann Davis, Toronto, 1992, reproduced  p. 71.
Subconscious Selling: Bertram Brooker and the Visual Culture of Couéism, Adam Lauder, The Journal of Canadian Art History, Vol. 36, No. 2, 2015, reproduced front cover and  p. 107 plt. 5.


Born in Croydon, England, 1888. Bertram Brooker came to Canada with his family in 1905 and they settled in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. Became the Editor of the Portage Review. He then worked for the Winnipeg Telegram, the Regina Leader, the Winnipeg Free Press and then moved east to Toronto in 1921 where he joined the staff of Marketing, becoming its editor and publisher 1924-26. He had read the writings of Kandinsky and studied his art and was especially taken with his expanding or ascending geometric forms which influenced him in his endeavours to visualize on canvas, passages of music as in his Alleluiah (1929) – NGC, or his Sounds Assembling (1928) – WAG. But Brooker took his own paintings a step further by adding depth or perspective to his work. The Tor. Telegram credited Brooker with being the first to convert abstract forms of music into abstract forms in painting. Generally Brooker’s art was eclectic. In his other paintings and graphics, elements of cubism and surrealism were present. His interest in the arts led to his joining the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto. When Brooker chose to depict subjects in the realistic mode his work ranked with the best in the country, particularly his nude studies. His portraits were also outstanding. His focus on realism was due to his friendship with fellow Winnipeger, Lemoine Fitzgerald. Both men kept in close contact with one another throughout their lives. His first novel Think of Earth was published in 1936 and won the Governor General’s Medal for the best Canadian novel of that year. At the time of Brooker’s death in 1955 at the age of 67, he was Vice-Pres. of the McLaren Advertising Company, a firm he had joined in 1937.

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