Descendants of William MILNE & Elspet CLARK
David Brown Milne
was born in January 1882 near Paisley, Bruce County, Ontario. He was the last child of his Scottish parents and considerably younger than his nine brothers and one sister. While working as a country schoolteacher near Paisley, his childhood interest in art revived and, in 1904, he went to New York to study art at the Art Students League for two years. He mainly supported himself by doing various illustrations, since his painterly work proved to be virtually unsellable. The trend continued, although from 1910 on, he regularly exhibited in New York and Philadelphia. Five of his works were included in the Armories Exhibition of 1913. In June 1915, he left New York City because of poor health and economic pressure and settled at Boston Corners, near Millerton, New York, in the lower Berkshires.
In 1918, while still in New York, he enlisted in the Canadian Army, subsequently returned to Canada in March, and went overseas in September. After the armistice, he was appointed an official war artist with the Canadian War Records.
In 1919, he produced 107 watercolours of places connected with Canadian activities during the First World War in Britain, France, and Belgium; these are now in the Canadian War Memorials Collection in the National Gallery of Canada. He returned to Boston Corners in December of that year. Between 1920 and 1923, he painted watercolours in various locations in the Adirondacks. In 1924, more than 80 of those watercolours were exhibited at the Art Association of Montreal, but none were sold. In 1929, he left the United States for good and moved to a succession of towns in Ontario.
In 1934, Milne wrote to Vincent Massey, the first Canadian to purchase his work, in appeal for sponsorship. This eventually resulted in the purchase by Vincent and Mrs. Massey of a large number of his paintings, essentially all of his output between 1929 and 1934.
Douglas Duncan and Alan Jarvis sought out Milne at Six Mile Lake near Georgian Bay, profoundly impressed by the first of his one-man exhibitions at the Mellors Gallery. Duncan became Milne's close friend and agent. From 1939 on, Milne's works were exhibited annually at the Picture Loan Society in Toronto. Between 1940 and 1952, Milne lived in Uxbridge, Ontario, painting near Baptiste Lake, and making only short trips to Toronto.
In 1952, he moved to Bancroft, Ontario, where he suffered a stroke and became incapacitated in November. In the same year, he was one of the four painters represented in the initial showing by Canada in the Venice Biennial. David Milne died on December 26, 1953. He was a member of the Canadian Group of Painters, the Canadian Society of Painters in WaterColour, and the Canadian Society of Graphic Art. He is widely considered one of the most important 20th-century Canadian artists, the first to discover the universal qualities of the Canadian landscape.