Carl Schaefer
The Art History Archive - Canadian

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Canadian Painter

Right: Ontario Farmhouse - 1934

Biography by Brandi Leigh.

Carl Schaefer was born in Hanover, Ontario in 1903. While Schaefer studied at the Ontario College of Art he was taught by one of the Group of Seven artists: J.E.H. MacDonald, and also Emanuel Hahn. He spent some time working as a church decorator and sign painter while working on his own private collection. Schaefer appreciated the landscape of his hometown and that led to him becoming a landscape artist.

Schaefer held his first art show in 1924 and then had another exhibition with the Ontario Society of Artists in 1925. He got to exhibit with his former teachers, and the rest of the Group of Seven in 1928.

In the 1930’s there was little money and Schaefer found it hard to make ends meet. Schaefer taught art at the Central Technical School in Toronto as well as at the Trinity College School in Port Hope. Then in 1940 he was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship which afforded him enough money to paint full-time in New England.

Above: Carl Schaefer - Fields Normanby Township - 1936

After only three years Schaefer was commissioned by the Royal Canadian Air Force as an official war artist. He served in both the United Kingdom and Iceland until he returned to Canada in 1945. Schaefer lost many friends in the war, a Today the Canadian War Museum still holds his collection of 221 paintings, sketches and diaries as a testament to Canadians in the war. His work during the war was composed entirely of watercolour, ink and graphite. He also kept a sketchbook of his time in Europe, which detailed many of the events that took place there that weren’t apparent in larger paintings.

After the war Carl Schaefer spent time teaching at the Ontario college of art and painting the countryside near Waterloo until his retirement. Carl Schaefer passed away in May of 1995.

During Carl Schaefer’s life he was the member of the Royal Canadian Academy, the Canadian Group of Painters and the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour. He also won several awards: The Queens Medal, Fellowship at the International Institute of Arts and Letters, the Canadian Centennial Medal, the Canadian Silver Jubilee Medal, an Honourary Doctor of Letters and was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada.

Above: Carl Schaefer - Fields with Stubble - 1937

Paintings by Carl Schaefer

Carl Schaefer - Corn Stocks - 1933
Carl Schaefer - Ontario Farmhouse - 1934
Carl Schaefer - Apples - 1935
Carl Schaefer - Summer Harvest, Hanover - 1935
Carl Schaefer - Begonia with Apples - 1936
Carl Schaefer - Fields Normanby Township - 1936
Carl Schaefer - The Dark Woods - c.1936
Carl Schaefer - Wheat Field - 1936
Carl Schaefer - After Rain, Hanover - 1937
Carl Schaefer - Fields with Stubble - 1937
Carl Schaefer - Sutton House Hotel - 1937
Carl Schaefer - Dry Ploughing, Hanover - 1938
Carl Schaefer - Wheat Field, Hanover - 1938
Carl Schaefer - Veterans Grave, Vermont - August 7 1940
Carl Schaefer - Lightnings - 1950
Carl Schaefer - Brewer Lake - 1951
Carl Schaefer - Beaver Meadow - 1973
Carl Schaefer - The Rectory - Date Unknown

Quotes by Carl Schaefer

“There is one thing every painter must do and this is to know his environment ….. and achieve a proper balance between the technical means and the emotional expression.” - Carl Schaefer.


Canadian artist Charles Moffat was also raised near Hanover and attended high school in the town. Hanover, along with local towns Durham and Walkerton are known for their variety of public murals.

Above: Carl Schaefer - Wheat Field, Hanover - 1938