(1843 - 1939)
John Hammond was born in Montreal, Quebec, and spent his youth as a marble cutter working with his father. In the 1860s, Hammond left for New Zealand, and spent three years seeking to make his fortune during the Central Otago Gold Rush. Upon his return to Montreal, he began working as a photographer under William Notman. He later joined the Geological Survey of Canada, helping to lay out the western route for the Canadian Pacific Railway. His extensive travels encouraged him to pursue his interest in painting.
After having joined the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, he travelled to the Netherlands to paint with James McNeill Whistler, and to France where he painted with Jean-François Millet. In 1886, he exhibited at the Paris Salon, and won two awards. He also exhibited at the National Academy of Design in New York and the Royal Academy in London.
An important aspect of Hammond’s work was his friendship with businessman and art collector William Van Horne, president of Canadian Pacific Railway. Van Horne hired Hammond to create paintings and murals in CPR offices and hotels depicting scenes from the railway’s routes. Some of his best-known works are images of the Bay of Fundy, and the harbour at Saint John, New Brunswick. Also, another mastered theme for him is the depiction of livestock under vast skies and pastures. Academic in approach, Hammond is exemplary of the classical painting styles that sculpted a definitive genre of Landscape painting that reverberated to the far reaches of both Canadian coasts, solidifying a truly nationalistic style.
In 1893, John Hammond became the head of Mount Allison University’s Fine Arts Department, and also served as administrator of the Owens Museum of Fine Arts, both located in Sackville, New Brunswick. He died in 1939 at age 96. His Sackville home became a National Historic Site of Canada in 1990. The “Hammond Gate” which he designed at Mount Allison University was named in his memory. His work is in the collections of the McCord Museum in Montreal, and the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.