A personal view of Knowlton, Quebec, the Eastern Townships most beautiful village.

Gerald Swann: featured painter
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Rich colors and historical visions make this exposition one of the most intriguing shows in the Eastern Townships in years!The tradition of Hallowe’en, with its costume balls and trick-or-treating adding to the fun for the young and not-so-young, has captured the imagination of Galerie Knowlton.

To wit, Francoise Desjardins, the Galerie owner asked for the help of one of her artists, Gerald Swann to dress the Galerie in proper Hallowee'n attire. Now, two huge paintings, 4' by 6', almost entirely fill the Gallery's two not-so-small front windows. Street scenes with public entertainers, drum players and others, surrounded by idlers and observed by neighborhood dogs, embellished by magnificent clothes in an eighteenth century décor offer an a glimpse into another world, both historical and imaginary.

Gerald Swann's works have been exhibited at the Knowlton Gallery since its opening in May 2004. Mme. Desjardins remembers her astonishment upon first seeing Swann's work, " I was taken by the incredible precision on these paintings on wood, the imagination and a technique that is worthy of the great Dutch Masters.

Gerald Swann was born in Paris on Ile de la Cite in 1925. He spent his youth on La Butte Montmartre with his grandfather, who was a close friend and patron of some of Europe’s major painters and writers of the time, such as Modigliani and Utrillo. The older Swann was also a friend of Marcel Proust and it was he who allowed Proust the use of the family name for "Swann’s Way"
It was in this rich artistic environment that the younger Swann grew up.

When World War II broke out, Gerald Swann served with the Free French Air Force out of London and then spent a part of his service in Germany. At the end of the war, he entered the "Cours Supérieur de peinture" of the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. Upon his return to England, he attended St. Martins School of Art and the Central School of Art.

Over the years, Swann has painted portraits, murals and still life as well as producing artwork for advertising. He specialized in large equestrian portraits and military themes, the type of paintings that traditionally hang in the stately homes of England. He was also the resident portrait painter for Harrods and Portraits Inc. of Duke Street, London.

Upon his arrival in Canada in 1965, Swann went on to create many award winning advertising campaigns. He also, however, continued producing portraits, still life and decorative panels, exclusively for European patrons.

In recent years, there has been an increasing demand for classical realism and Gerald Swann is again exhibiting his work in selected galleries in Montreal and Toronto.

It is with great pride that the Knowlton Gallery now presents the paintings of such an international artist who has chosen to retire, and live in the Eastern Townships. But as Francoise Desjardins can attest, one just has to see the Galerie Knowlton windows to know that Gerald Swann hasn’t retired yet.

The Knowlton Gallery is situated at 285, Knowlton Road, Lac Brome. For more information: (450) 242-1666.


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