Joseph Sydney Hallam
(1899-1953)

After immigrating to Canada at 12 years old with his family from Manchester, England, Joseph Sydney Hallam studied art at the Toronto Central Technical School and then at the Ontario College of Art under Frederick Varley. Starting in 1921, he was employed at Sampson-Matthews Limited where he produced illustrations and posters. There he befriended his co-workers, Franklin Carmichael and A.J. Casson, with whom he went on many sketching trips to the wilderness. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts from 1950 and his widely-exhibited works were collected by the National Gallery of Canada, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Pope Pius XII, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

While many of his contemporaries focused on views of the grand Canadian landscape in its untouched, natural condition, devoid of people, Hallam’s work frequently explored the ways that the land was tamed by society through scenes of farms, villages, ports, and cities. In “The Ploughman”, one of the early wartime silkscreens produced by Sampson-Matthews, Hallam offers an image of man conquering the land through hard work. Under a vast blue sky, domesticated animals work alongside an overalls-clad farmer as he turns rich black soil that appears to still be lined with traces of spring ice.

Artwork for sale by Joseph Sydney Hallam