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Stidworthy collector holding exhibit at the Gibson Gallery starting April 11


William Stidworthy painting in "Plein Air"

 

Stan Bergeron first received a painting from the area artist William Stidworthy over five decades ago.


That has led to him being a collector of Stidworthy paintings and he has now amassed a collection of roughly 230 paintings. A collection of those paintings will be featured at the Gibson Gallery later this month.


“I’ve been doing this for quite a while,” said Bergeron.


Originally born in England in 1889, Stidworthy came to Canada in 1912. He lived in British Columbia and Alberta when he first came to Canada and studied under artists William Beatty, Ralph MacMillan, Carl Schaefer and Franz Johnston, the latter being a member of the well-known artists “The Group of Seven.”


He would eventually move to Essex County where lived on Willow Dr. in LaSalle until his death in 1977 at the age of 88.


William Stidworthy painting of cabin on the shore

“I knew him,” said Bergeron. “I only lived a mile from him when I was a kid.”

Stidworthy held numerous one-man shows since 1937, including one at the Gibson Gallery in 1975. Bergeron last held an exhibit of Stidworthy’s work at the Gibson Gallery in 2013 but has held exhibits elsewhere, such as the LaSalle branch of the Essex County library in June 2023.


Bergeron had a friend named John Constantine and a tree in Constantine’s yard inspired a painting that Stidworthy would give to Bergeron. The collection started there and has swelled over the years. Advertisements were placed in newspapers around the region and Bergeron’s phone started ringing of people with original Stidworthy paintings they were willing to part with.


“Sometimes there was one, sometimes there were 20 in their collections,” said Bergeron. “(The paintings) are all over. They are moving around.”


Bergeron has encountered those who won’t part with their Stidworthy paintings due to their sentimental value. The artist would give paintings away as gifts or share them with tradespeople who would work on his home.


Paintings have been acquired from not only people in the Windsor-Essex County area, he added, but from as far as Las Vegas, British Columbia, Montreal and across the United States. Bergeron added he knows a Windsor family with 25 Stidworthy paintings as the artist used to have shows at a church in south Windsor.


“The majority of my paintings have a story behind them,” Bergeron added. “There’s more to it than just a painting. (Stidworthy) was one to be able to tell a story as well.”


The exhibit is called “Homage to W.F. Stidworthy (1889-1977) – Impressionist Paintings” and runs from April 11-28. An opening reception is planned at the gallery April 14 form 1-3 p.m.


The Gibson Gallery is located at 140 Richmond St. in Amherstburg and is open Thursday-Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, call 519-736-2826 or visit www.gibsonartgallery.com.

Stidworthy collector holding exhibit at the Gibson Gallery starting April 11

By Ron Giofu

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