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James Henderson

Henderson was born on August 21, 1871 in Glasgow, Scotland. He apprenticed as a lithographer (1887-1894) while studying evenings at the Glasgow School of Art where he was influenced by the Scottish Impressionists. He worked as a lithographer and engraver in London, England (1894-1909) before he immigrated to Regina in 1910 where he worked as a commercial artist and portrait painter. The picturesque nature of the Qu’Appelle Valley offered Henderson a diverse range of subject matter and resulted in his relocation to Fort Qu’Appelle in 1916. In addition, his travels throughout Western Canada and Ontario provided a rich resource of landscape imagery.Throughout his long career, Henderson incorporated a range of media including oil, watercolour, charcoal, gouache and lithography. Henderson is best known for his moving and detailed First Nations portraits, especially of the Cree, Assiniboine and Sioux. He was given the title of Honorary Chief Wicite Owapi Wicasa, “the man who paints the old men”, by Fort Qu’Appelle’s Standing Buffalo Reserve. Henderson was the first Saskatchewan artist to gain national and international recognition for his artwork and the first to make a living solely from his art practice. For his achievements, he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Saskatchewan. He died on July 5, 1951 in Regina and was buried overlooking the Valley at Fort Qu’Appelle.


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