This is the story of an epic art exhibition that followed these 8 paintings from 1925 which I featured in my last post here. John Innes was introduced to his patron Arthur P. Denby by John B. Cowan, and The Epic of Western Canada was the first result of this association. Art patron Arthur P. Denby is somewhat of a mysterious figure. I spotted a man with this name born 07 June 1884 who had a US Social Security number 571-84-5833 (indicating California) and died 15 March 1967. A P Denby is listed in the 1929 phonebook residing at Egeria Rooms, 1153 Melville Street, Vancouver. The Denby brothers William, Stafford, and Melvin ran a shoe / leather supply store at 163 West Pender Street from the early 1920s; perhaps these were his sons? You can see the front of the shoe store as late as 1974 below. A P Denby is no longer listed in the Vancouver phone books by 1939, so we might speculate that’s when he headed south to California? I also spotted one strange article by Arthur P. Denby telling a tale of early Vancouver in the May 1958 issue of Science of Mind Magazine, a religious movement established in 1927.
Whomever Arthur P. Denby was, he was able to motivate John Innes to compile his paintings into a dramatic series of the wild west. It was the culmination of Innes’ life’s work to date; some of his paintings were repurchased from collectors to create this series of thirty oil paintings. These paintings were shown on the sixth floor of the Hudson’s Bay in Vancouver on September of 1928, and the brochure above featured a listing of all 30 paintings in the series: …READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY>>>