William John Bertram Newcombe, 1907-1969

A painter and commercial artist, William John Bertram Newcombe was born in Victoria, British Columbia and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia. He lived in Toronto, Ontario (1936 – 1955) and London, England (1955 – 1969), where he died.

His mediums include oil, watercolor, gouache, pen & ink, collage and mixed mediums. His subjects included, faces, figures, landscapes, street scenes, country roads, coastal views, and as an abstractionist – shape, color and texture. His styles included Abstract Expressionism, Color Field Painting, Constructivism, Fauvism and Cubism. He’s considered self taught, however most sources note that he did take some private lessons in Vancouver with Group of Seven icon Frederick Varley.

Newcombe was a member of the Canadian Society of Graphic Art* (c. 1950) and its president and a member of the Cali­fornia Watercolor Society (1947). In addition to the above organizations, he exhibited with the Art Association of Montreal (1933), the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (1938, 1947 and 1953), the Ontario Society of Artists (1941), and the American Watercolor Society (1947 and 1948).

His works were also included in a Canadian Women’s Art Association exhibition, Vancouver Art Gallery (1946); “Canadians Abroad”, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (1958); “Irish Exhibition of Living Art”, Brown Thomas Gallery, Dublin (1958); “Canadian Abstract Art: A Centennial Exhibition”, Commonwealth Institute Art Gallery, London, England (1967); and “The 1950s”, Laurentian University Museum (1988).

William John Bertram Newcombe, photo by Harold Sumberg

William John Bertram Newcombe, photo by Harold Sumberg

He had solo exhibitions at Stadtisches Museum Wuppertal, Germany (1957); Manchester City Art Gallery, England (1961); Manor House Museum, Ilkley, England (1962); the Arts Council, Karachi, Pakistan (1964); and the County Town Gallery, Lewes, England (1964).

Newcombe has also been the subject of one man shows at numerous prominent commercial galleries such as Ferargil Galleries, New York City (1946); Obelisk Gallery, London (195 Arts Centre, Sudbury, Ontario and touring6 and 1988); Galerie El Corsario, Ibiza, Spain (1956); Galerie Iris Clert, Paris (1957); New Vision Gallery, London (1958, 1959, 1962, 1964 and 1965);  Portal Gallery, London (1961); Grosvenor Gallery, London (1961); Jerrold Morris Art Gallery, Toronto, Ontario (1962); Reid Gallery, London (1962); Stone Gallery, Newcastle-on-Tyne, England (1962); Heal’s Art Gallery, London (1964); and  Nicholas Treadwell Gallery, London (1965).

Selected Collections
 Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria, BC
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, ON
 Museum of Fine Arts Boston, MA
Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester, UK
Government Art Collection, UK
Collection of Paul Crawford