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November 24 , 2008

Hanging Fred and a Few Others

Painters of the Eastern Townships


Quebec’s Eastern Townships are home to a higher concentration of artists than anywhere else in Canada. With his starting and finishing point being Frederick Coburn (1871–1960), arguably Canada’s best-known painter at the peak of his career, author Nick Fonda sets out to revisit his work and provide new insights and facts into Coburn’s life and surroundings. To better understand the man, he also introduces other accomplished artists living and working in the same area—not all landscape painters—who have followed quite unusual paths as they responded to the same muse that moved Coburn a century ago. Based on interviews with neighbors and Coburn aficionados and Nick Fonda’s own thorough understanding of the milieu in which Coburn grew up, lived, and worked, Hanging Fred and a Few Others is a lively and fascinating story of an important artist but also a reflection on the role of place—the Eastern Townships—in an artist’s life. In addition to being a biography of Coburn, Nick Fonda’s book provides brief biographical sketches of other artists including Minnie Gill, Denis Palmer, Mary Martin, Stuart Main, France Jodoin, and Kevin Sonmor.

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