EJ Hughes Restoration: Triumph Over Hard Times

EJ Hughes Restoration: Triumph Over Hard Times

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58 minutes


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While tearing down the grand old Malaspina Hotel in Nanaimo, British Columbia, workers discovered a spectacular wall mural hidden behind a false wall. Like buried treasure, they had uncovered a lost masterpiece, featuring work by one of Canada's greatest landscape artists, E.J. Hughes-a 1938 wall mural entitled "Lieutenant Malaspina Sketching the Gabriola Galleries." Hughes, along with west coast artists Paul Goranson and Orville Fisher, was hired in the 1930s to paint murals depicting the maritime explorations around Vancouver Island. Now valued at $3 million, the mural contains all the elements of E.J. Hughes's mature artistic style.

Conservator Cheryle A. Harrison reveals some of the work that took place over the 13-year period required for the restoration of this mural. Ian Thom (Senior Curator, Vancouver Art Gallery), Charles C. Hill, (Curator of Canadian Art, National Gallery of Canada), and Dr. Laura Brandon, (Historian for the Canadian War Museum) comment on the mural, its place in Hughes's body of work, and his place as one of Canada's greatest painters. Anecdotes about Hughes's life and struggles as an artist from two nieces and his confidante, Pat Salmon, round out the portrait of this shy genius of Canadian landscape art.


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