The Curator's View

The Curator’s View: Thomas Bouckley Collection, An Art Perspective

April 27th, 2012

Today’s blog post comes from Sonya Jones, Curator of The Thomas Bouckley Collection.

When looking at images we bring our own history and memories to the experience. For me, coming from an art history background, there are times when I not only look at the images in the Thomas Bouckley Collection from a historical perspective, but also from an “art” perspective. There are many images in the collection that are not only historically significant, but aesthetically beautiful. The majority of the images were taken for documentation purposes—snapshots of events, buildings, or people—but there are many that were clearly taken by a skilled photographer. For example, the composition and lighting of this 1912 image depicting young men playing billiards at the YMCA is striking.

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Other times I’m pleasantly surprised to be reminded of famous paintings when looking at images from the collection. There are a couple that have always reminded me of artworks, for example the Oshawa beach scene and Seurat’s painting below.

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Beach Activities, Oshawa on the Lake 1915


Georges-Pierre Seurat A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte  1884

However, in preparing this blog I put on my art history goggles and even more jumped out at me. Although there are differences, the similarities are what are enjoyable to discover.

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T.N. Gibbs Daughter, c. 1850s, (detail)


Jean-Honoré Fragonard The Reader  c. 1776

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On the Oshawa Creek, 1900


Pierre-Auguste Renoir The Skiff (La Yole)  1875

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Oshawa Junction, 1912

Claude Monet Gare Staint-Lazare  1877

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Newton Home, located at 246 Albert Street, 1880 


Grant Wood American Gothic  1930

A new installation of photos from the Thomas Bouckley Collection opens Saturday 28 April. Music To Our Ears: Oshawa’s Musical History is on view until 23 August, 2012. 

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