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Frederick H. Varley, Self Portrait

Canadian Art


Frederick H. Varley, Self Portrait



Date of Issue

May 22, 1981




Postal Administration



Canadian Art

Series Time Span


Perforation or Dimension



Ashton-Potter Limited.


Designed by Pierre Fontaine.

Original Artwork

Frederick Horsman Varley, "Self Portrait", circa 1945 Hart House Permanent Collection, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario

About Stamp

Frederick H. Varley was born in Sheffield, England, in 1881. He attended the Académie royale des Beaux-Arts in Antwerp, supporting himself by working on the docks. In 1912 he immigrated to Toronto and became a founding member of the Group of Seven in 1920. His landscapes achieved acclaim, though he preferred painting people. Indeed, Arthur Lismer, a fellow member of the Group of Seven, felt Varley's nudes excelled Renoir's. When painting a portrait, Varley discarded all preconceived ideas and looked at the sitter to "see the truth emerging in the face". To Varley, different colours represented different personalities or levels of spirituality; thus he occasionally annoyed his patrons by painting them in green, pink, or purple. Varley died in Toronto in 1969. The stamp features a self-portrait by Varley painted in oils in 1945. The work belongs to the Hart House Collection of Canadian painting and is on loan to the Art Gallery of Ontario. The stamp design is by Pierre Fontaine of Montreal.
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Similar Stamps


Canada. Post Office Department. [Postage Stamp Press Release], 1981.

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