David Milne Biography

David Milne




David Milne was born in the southwestern Ontario, Canada village of Burgoyne on January 8, 1882. He was the last of 10 children born to Scottish immigrant parents. During 1902 and 1903 he studied art through correspondence, eventually deciding to move to New York City in 1903 at age 21.

In New York, he spent two years (and a third year of night school) studying at the Art Students League. He had five paintings exhibited in the major Armory Show of 1913, and he was also represented by the N. E. Montross Gallery (same as 'The Eight' or Ashcan School artists).

In 1912, he married Frances May (known as Patsy) and later they moved to Boston Corners, New York, a small hamlet where Milne painted with oils and watercolors. Milne left Boston Corners in 1917 for basic training in Toronto for World War I. He was stationed in Quebec and then quarantined in England for a month, during which time World War I ended. Because of his background as an artist, he was asked to complete paintings and drawings as a war artist. Milne produced artworks of battlefields in France and Belgium as well as of soldiers in Kinmel Park Camp in England.

Between the years of 1919 and 1929, Milne lived in Boston Corners, and the surrounding areas, focusing his artistic work on the landscape. James Clark, a friend, supporter and patron of Milne’s, sent him an etching press while he was at Boston Corners in 1926, and Milne was able to experiment with printmaking in new and unusual ways. He developed a method of making colour drypoints, printing one colour over another with different plates for each. Milne had first tried etching and drypoint while he was a student at the Art Students’ League and his idea of colour drypoint was unprecedented, as the tradition was to only use black and the white of the paper. He had thought of creating colour drypoints years before, but lacked the equipment to carry through his experiments, as the printmaking technique requires metal plates which are scratched or etched into, then inked, wiped and finally run through a printing press. It took many months for Milne to achieve the sparsely layered look that he envisioned with his prints, but the results were very compelling.

In 1929, Milne returned to Canada to paint in Temagami, Weston and Palgrave. He separated from his wife in 1933, moved to Port Severn, Ontario and sold many of his paintings to prominent art patrons Vincent and Alice Massey.

In the late 1930s, Milne settled down in Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada with Kathleen Pavey, a nurse, and the two had a son (also David) in 1941. During the later years of his life, Milne worked again in watercolors, and changed his subject matter to more whimsical, fantasy and childlike inspirations. He continued to travel to Algonquin Park and Baptiste Lake to paint the Canadian landscape.

David Milne died in Bancroft, Ontario on December 26, 1953.

Source: Wikipedia