JACK NICHOLS, CANADA’S PRE-EMINENT WAR ARTIST CAPTURED WARTIME HORROR IN ‘DROWNING SAILOR’

“Drowning Sailor” was finished in 1946, and drew this comment from its painter, JACK NICHOLS (1921-2009): “When you are drowning, you lose your nationality, don’t you?”<PHOTO – JACK NICHOLS and his painting ‘Drowning Sailor’, 1945>

Deckhand, painter, printmaker, draftsman, educator – Jack Nichols was well known in art circles, but just an average man in his own neighbourhood – that is, until a blue plaque appeared outside 395A Sackville Street in TORONTO’s Cabbagetown.

His work is in the collections of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts, the National Gallery of Canada, the National War Museum & numerous private collections.This REMEMBRANCE DAY, November 11, marks an exact century since World War I ended. The sacrifices of Canadians who fought and died to promote democracy and human rights, are honoured by this garden of 11,800 flags on the lawn of Manulife’s headquarters, 200 Bloor Street East.

The flags honour the 118,000 members of the Canadian Armed Forces who died in service – in Europe, South Africa, Afghanistan, and on peace-keeping missions around the world. Each flag represents 10 fallen soldiers. The flags will be on display until sundown, November 11th.

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2 thoughts on “JACK NICHOLS, CANADA’S PRE-EMINENT WAR ARTIST CAPTURED WARTIME HORROR IN ‘DROWNING SAILOR’

  1. Wonderful post, and I didn’t realize but yes of course it is 100 years isn’t it? War is a terrible terrible catastrophe and waste of potential. Think of the knowledge and the art and the music and the friendships and the offspring that never were, because of war… all those young men, husbands, fathers and sons…

  2. Thanks for the comment, David. I think Jack Nichols shows us the terror of someone facing immediate death or hoping to be rescued. Mr. Nichols lived one street over from me in Cabbagetown. He went about his business as just a regular citizen, and yet his work is in the collections of several top notch museums. I never laid eyes on the man.

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