JOHN ERIC BENSON RIORDON
Canadian 1906 – 1948
Riordon was born in St. Catharines, Ontario and moved with his family to Montreal in 1908. He received his formal education at Ashbury College and McGill University. His art training started with a year of charcoal drawing at Ecole des Beaux Arts then, in 1932, in Paris where he studied at the Grande Chaumière and Académie Julian. He then traveled extensively in Europe and had pieces exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1933 and 1934.
On his return to Canada Riordon started painting the Laurentians where his family had a cottage at Mont Tremblanc at Lac Lache. He became well known for these fine Laurentian paintings and held his first solo exhibit at the Continental Galleries in October 1935. His paintings of the sea, beaches, harbour and river scenes drew from subjects in Brittany, and around Europe, as well as North American scenes of the St. Lawrence, Gaspé, and Maine. He extended this interest in the sea by joining the R.C.N.V.R. and achieved the rank of Lieutenant and soon was second in command on a corvette on anti-submarine and convoy duty. He continued to hold the rank of Lieutenant commander in the Naval Reserve after the end of the war. He had continued to paint during this time, exhibiting 34 naval scenes across Canada. He built a home near Ste. Adéle in the Laurentians after his discharge from the Navy, and it was during this time that he painted many of scenes from this area. On viewing his works in 1939 critic St. George Burgoyne noted:
"Especially happy is he in those winter scenes where hills throw shadows across lonely valleys and the setting sun flushes the distant ridges. His landscapes at all seasons do not lack the human interest - skiers score the snow, men may chop wood for hungry stoves, horse and wagon may top the rise of a country road, and where the landscape is white and deserted the smoking chimney of a country home hints at occupation, shelter and warmth."
Riordon was elected into the A.R.C.A. in 1946 and exhibited with the Academy from 1937 until his death in 1948. He died at the young age of 43 survived by most of his family, including his wife Mollie (Usher-Jones) and his parents.
Solo shows include:
Continental Galleries, Montreal: 1935,1936,1937,1938, 1939, 1940, 1941 and 1948.
Malloney Galleries, Toronto: 1939 and 1940.
The Battle of Atlantic show across Canada: 1950 to 1952.