John Davenall Turner
1900 - 1980
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John Turner, born in 1900, is primarily known as the founder, owner and manager of the first art gallery in Calgary, Canadian Art Galleries. It opened in 1945. The first gallery sale was a small woodcut by Walter Phillips, purchased by one of his students for $20. The support of his friends, Phillips, H.G. Glyde, A.Y. Jackson, and Arthur Lismer, enabled him to convince other artists, including A. C. Leighton, Maxwell Bates, Illingworth Kerr and Luke Lindoe, to contribute works. Over the next twenty years, Canadian Art Galleries would represent perhaps one hundred painters, growing in both size and stature. For Turner, the gallery was the realization of a dream and he was passionately determined to expose Calgarians to the works of some of Canadaís best artists.
Born in Woking, England, Turner moved to Canada with his family in 1906 and settled on a homestead near Vegreville. Although he had no formal art training, Turner was a highly regarded oil painter of impressionist landscapes. A member of the Alberta Society of Artists, his work was shown in traveling exhibitions at the National Gallery, R.C.A.F. Show, and the A.S.A. 1966 Winnipeg show. Turner paintings can be found in the collection of the Glenbow Foundation, the Ranchmanís Club and various corporate collections. He was instrumental in forming the Edmonton Art club in the 1920's.