Stidworthy’s “postcard” paintings at AGW are a must-see

 

A guided tour through Stan Bergeron’s Windsor home is like a door to the past.

Every available space on the walls is occupied by a painting by LaSalle native, William F. Stidworthy (1889-1977). Bergeron, 77, has assembled the world’s largest collection of Stidworthy works. His dedication to Stidworthy matches the artist’s lifelong obsession with capturing the scenes of his local community.

You can now view many of Stidworthy’s paintings in a long-overdue exhibit at the Art Gallery of Windsor, 401 Riverside Dr. W., through Jan. 28, 2018. Some of the works were previously displayed at Amherstburg’s Gibson Gallery in 2013.

Prior to that exhibit, Bergeron told me he first encountered Stidworthy’s work in 1970 when he received a painting of his neighbour’s house as a birthday present. That launched him on a 47-year, international quest to track down other Stidworthy works. He now owns more than 130 oils and water colours.

The works, which display life along River Canard and elsewhere in western Essex County, have a charming, nostalgic quality that depict the every day world around us. Some of his subjects may no longer exist, or have changed dramatically over the years. Others will be familiar to those who grew up in Windsor and Essex County.

Bergeron calls them the postcards of his past.

Curator Jaclyn Meloche has co-ordinated her Stidworthy exhibit with two others that draw on the local community: Downtown/s — Urban Renewals Today for Tomorrow; and Isabelle Hayeur: Corps etranger/Foreign body.

Along with the David Milne exhibit of prints and photographs, Blazes Along the Trail, curated by Chris Finn, the works invite us to alter our perspectives and intensify our understanding of our surroundings.

All the displays reflect the artistic appreciation of Canadian art in this, our 150th anniversary year.

AGW’s annual fall fundraiser, Perfect Pairings, will be held Friday, Nov. 17, at 6:30 p.m. The fee of $75 a person includes wine and food from Windsor’s Bistro 42 and North 42 Degrees Estate Winery. A sale of local art will also be featured.

To learn more about any of AGW’s events, go to www.agw.ca, or call 519-977-0013.