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Earlier this month I showed you a photograph of my grandfather, Richard Douglas Huestis. Shown above is a painting of his wife, my grandmother, Marie Marguerite Hinde Huestis (1899-1950).
It makes me sad that I never met her. She was absolutely obsessed with art and style (sound familar?). She loved to paint (I've never seen any of her paintings) and made beautiful woodcuts. My parents still have a gorgeous dining table and sideboard she designed in Art Deco style.
Marie Huestis also simply adored artists, and hosted them whenever she could. She was especially fond of Canada's famous (for Canada) Group of Seven painters, and socialized with them often. An avowed modernist, she liked to think of herself, I believe, as Montreal's Gertrude Stein. She made sure her children received extensive arts educations; her daughter (my Aunt Joan), went on to be a professional painter and portraitist, and my father grew up to be an inspired amateur. My grandfather thought all this nonsense was a waste of time, but indulged his beloved. It goes without saying that I owe this wonderful woman a lot, even though I never met her.
The portrait above was painted by Edwin Holgate, one of Canada's most accomplished artists, in 1930, and I believe it is one of his masterpieces, although it has not been published. You can see a lot more of his artwork here. His debt to Cézanne is obvious. I wish we had known ahead of time about the Montreal Museum of Fine Art's Holgate retrospective in 2006. Grandma would have been thrilled to participate.