Stanley Cosgrove was born in Montreal in 1911. He studied at the Montreal École des Beaux-Arts from 1929 to 1933 before he began his career which led him to paint, exhibit, and study with some of the most influential persons in the international art community.
After studying under Edwin Holgate at the Art Association of Montreal in 1936, he exhibited with the John Lyman’s Contemporary Arts Society exhibition in 1929. Through this exposure to the contemporary style in Montreal, Cosgrove absorbed many of the characteristics of the group that largely borrowed from more modernist Parisian painting.
He was awarded a Province of Quebec prize for his talents, which enabled him to study in France. The commencement of World War II diverted his trip to Mexico City, where Cosgrove studied fresco painting for four years under the great Mexican muralist, José Clemente Orozco. When he returned to Montreal in 1943, he had become more isolated from the Contemporary Arts Society. Although he stopped exhibiting with the organized groups in Montreal, he continued to paint for the next 50 years.
Cosgrove was predisposed to certain subjects: the landscape, the still life, and the female form. Indeed, his entire canon revolves around these three subjects without ever deviating from them. His chromatic palette is understated; tonalities vary by their intensity and sharpness, conferring depth onto the piece. It is precisely this unique way of handling colour that allowed Cosgrove to treat his favourite themes in such different ways.