In the meantime Frances and her brother went off to Europe for a few years where they stayed for various reasons. Some of them were financial. This is where Frances got her first taste of Sculpting and art. After her return she gets enlisted in the Boston Fine Art under Bela Pratt and later under Lorado Taft, Charles Mulligan and Vander Poel at Chicago Institute of Art.
A brief two years in New York City and then the final move to Toronto where she stayed and worked for the rest of her life. Her first visit to Toronto was as long ago as 1908. She lived with her father while showing some of her work with the Ontario Society of Artists. The City directory has her at an address on King Street and later on Jarvis Street. Soon she returned and started her studio on Lombard Street. Hunters Inn named because that is where they hunted down the rebels in the early days.
If you do not know anything about Miss Loring all you have to do is read her short biography written by Rebecca Sissler, called The Girls. This book is out of print at this time and is full of stories I have heard to boredom without really talking about her as an artist.
I knew her personally over many years. It was through her and Florence Wyle that I started this project back in 1963 that of writing their biographies. This never came to fruition and so you are getting for the first time a digested version of her as an artist.
Her passion was art and living. She did both of them right up to the end of her long life. She suffered little during her life accept that of not having enough money to get some of her fine works cast or done in materials other then plaster.
I had the pleasure of visiting her studio that was just across from where I lived on Glenrose Ave where I resided from 1954 to 1968 with the acception of the times I spent in the U.S.A.
When I was approached to write their biographies I was living in New York City teaching and painting from all the sketches I was doing I that city. It was just going to be a matter of a few months at the most and their book would be ready for the printers. The truth is it never got there and I moved on to research what is known today as the Hayward Collection.
This collection can be seen in the Public Archives of Canada, Queen's University in Kingston, Concordia University in Montreal, plus smaller amounts of material in some Public Libraries of Ontario.
Taking photographs of an artists work is a pleasure for a photographer that has everything set up and in ideal conditions. Such was not the case with doing the works of Miss F.N. Loring. While in her studio she had the habit of wanting you to do something else under natural light at all times. The size of the works posed a problem and accessibility the other. If you knew her studio you would understand my situation a little better. All of thse problems were met and I got on with the job of sorting out what was her work and what was belonged to Miss Wyle who shared the same building. It was one thing to know them over the years but to do a book was another set of circumstances I thought would never finish. Added to all this she had never really made a complete list of her works just 225 photos to figure out over 65 years of work.
I followed both of these artists to their graves and much more later on to make sure that what I had was the documented information needed. How could I remember years ago what was going on in Canada and the U.S.A. in the the art world.
I can say one thing for sure "They" were not the only Women who took up the challenge of becoming a sculptor. There were a few in Canada and many more in the United States. I will not compare their works with what I found for it is a different story and set of circumstances. I enjoyed reading about them and can now talk a blue streak.
Within Canada there are Societies for art and they held their exhibitions once a year either in Toronto one year, Ottawa the next and Montreal the next. I think most of them were held not more then two weeks of any given year. If you got to them you were lucky for you just had to wait until the new show turned up more works. They had their charter and rules for operation and the artists had to comply to the rules.
By 1929 the Sculptors got together in Ontario and Quebec and started their own Sculpting Society for Ontario. Where it is working out of Toronto in this 2003.
About the work done by this Woman Sculptor we go back to the influences of Lorado Taft who was trained in the French manner. He worked large works most of the time as I gather information from the Chicago Art Institute. He was very dedicated and honest about what he taught. His biographies of his years in Paris are a delight to read. I have been waiting over ten years for the finished biography in the process of completion.
As I mentioned in the other biographies that the art could only survive when her got commissions. These commissions I mentioned you had to submit your design and get judged by a jury. Half the time the jury knew nothing or very little about art. One of them whom I will not mention had a high position in the Banking business. Others held positions of importance in saying who gets what, when. I will not go into every building that was built from the Old Toronto City hall to the Ontario Parliament Buildings to impressive office buildings that are now torn down in Cabbagetown. Little is left of these fine old buildings let alone the records.
As Miss Loring said to me one day, "they know where I live and what I do... I do not need an agent to act on my behalf. By the time I met her in the early 1950's she was getting passed by and sculpting was not being incorporated into the new buildings. Mr. Marani, of Marani Morris Braithewaite and Dick were the only ones using Miss. J.Jones to design reliefs.
Fortunately the national Gallery of Canada has purchased a few of her works and this had placed her in a class by herself. Windsor's Wilistead Art Gallery has one work, London Ontario Woodstock and the Art Gallery of Ontario. I may have left out a few galleries but no one really has much of her work. The War Museum has her little bronzes which are a delight to look at in memory of the workers in the munitions plants During WWI.
The difficulty again is to find signed works. So much of her work was sculpted or what I call "Pointed" and sent back for her to finish. How much of that she did I do not know. Her works tend to be large and impressive. Most people knew her Lion memorial that once was situated at the beginning of the Queen Elizabeth highway now placed in a park near the lake Col. Gzowski (renamed).
The Queen Elizabeth Building at the Canadian National Exhibition of "Mother and Child" done in a polymaterial was started before I went to Colorado in 1957. Her figure for Saint Michael's Hospital was a grant from an architect. Her O'Keefe panels for the Board Room (4) were nice bas relief's. The approach to the Rainbow Bridge at Niagara Falls "Deer relief" plus some machinery but again no signatures of who did them. We cannot her War memorials in Augusta Maine, Galt Ontario. The Sir Robert Borden statue in Ottawa was her last big work to get cast in bronze. The portraits she did of Doctor Fred. Banting is amongst her favourite works. Other busts are in my collection and show her sensitive work in portraying these people. Her Eskimo and child weighs in the tons and sent off for a show in Italy. The work is now in the national gallery collection. Her inspired works are most interesting and were a pleasure to learn about.
Her attempts to leave something for young sculptors by way of inheritance was set down in her 25 page will. I have not tried to find if they acted on her suggestions. She knew more people then anyone I know from famous musicians to professors and business people that came and went.
It is hard to condense so much of her life into such a short biography but every sculptor in Canada has gone through the same purifying process. Without her my life would of taken a different twist. It has taken years to get this far in carrying on what she told me was so important to our culture.
She welcomed most people with open arms and was glad to see me most times even though she was limping around the last few years of her life. How can you put into writing the feelings you have about such a great person.
She lives long and lone in my life as she said once to me. "I know that you will do a good job of biographing our lives." It has been a long time in coming but it is here for you to share whether you are a modern painter sculptor or writer.
I have to thank her along with Florence Wyle for their patience with me and our determination to make known what is in this Online work.