Robert Pilot
(1898-1967)

Robert Pilot is best known for atmospheric winter scenes of Canadian village and urban life painted in the Impressionist style. Born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, he worked as a child in the Montreal studio of his stepfather, Maurice Cullen, an important Canadian painter. In 1916, he enlisted in the Canadian military and fought in the Fifth Artillery Division during the First World War. After the war he travelled to Paris where he studied art and began exhibiting his work. He re-enlisted in the Canadian armed forces in 1941; promoted to officer during the Italian Campaign, his military contributions were recognized when he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire and awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal. A member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, he served as its president from 1952 to 1954. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts held a career retrospective of Pilot’s work in 1969. His paintings are held in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Canada as well as many other important collections.

Though included in the first exhibition of paintings by the Group of Seven in 1920 and invited to be a member, Robert Pilot was one of three artists who declined to join the group upon its formation. As can be seen in ”Skating, Dufferin Terrace” (1947-1953), the only work he contributed to the Sampson-Matthews silkscreen art program, Pilot shared many stylistic similarities with the Group of Seven artists, if not their fascination with the untouched wilderness. Built by Lord Dufferin, the Governor of Canada from 1872 to 1878, Dufferin Terrace overlooks the St. Lawrence River beside the Château Frontenac and offers tourists to Quebec City one of the most popular attractions. In this work, Pilot captures a timeless and joyous winter afternoon of Canadian-style recreation.

Artwork for sale by Robert Pilot