Canadian artist Jack Weldon Humphrey was born in St. John, New Brunswick. He took his first formal art studies at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, under Philip Hale from 1920 to 1923, then studied under Charles Hawthorne from 1924 to 1929 at the National Academy of Design, serving as his summer studio assistant at Provincetown.
In 1929, he studied drawing at the Grande Chaumière in Paris, as well at the Hans Hofmann School in Munich. In 1938 Humphrey became a member of the Eastern Group of Painters, which evolved to become the Contemporary Art Society. In 1951 he received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws, and in 1952 he was awarded an overseas fellowship.
Returning to Canada, he made his break from figurative painting altogether and began to focus on subject matter of his region. He was fond of portraying the people and streets, harbours and sights of his native New Brunswick.
‘Swallow Tail, Grand Manam’ depicts a strongly regional scene in typical East Coast folk art style. A small rocky promontory with a cottages and an iconic white lighthouse help guide ships through to the St. Lawrence seaway. This lighthouse is symbolic, stoically awaiting the return of the soldiers or seamen to the close knit community nearby.
Humphrey participated in many exhibitions: the Philadelphia Water Color Society and the New York Water Color Club; A Century of Canadian Art at the Tate Gallery in London (1938); in the Biennial Exhibition of Canadian Painting numerous times as well as in many other exhibitions. A retrospective exhibition by the Beaverbrook Gallery in 1967 was circulated by the National Gallery of Canada, travelling nationwide. He was a member of the Canadian Society of Painters In Water Colour, the Canadian Group of Painters, the International Association of Plastic Arts and the Canadian Society of Graphic Arts.
Humphrey’s work is found in a number of public collections including the National Gallery of Canada; Hart House; the Art Gallery of Ontario; the New Brunswick Museum; the Public Library and Art Museum in London, Ontario; the Beaverbrook Art Gallery; Mount Allison University; the Edmonton Art Gallery; Dalhousie University; the Memorial University of Newfoundland; the University of New Brunswick; Sir George Williams University; Royal Victoria College, McGill University; the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Confederation Art Gallery in Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island.