Fred Ross Canadian, 1927-2014

Canadian artist Fred Ross was born in New Brunswick in 1927. He studied painting and drawing at the Saint John vocational school as a teenager, where he developed a close relationship with the artist Miller Brittain. Ross worked in oil and tempera using traditional techniques which he learned from Brittain and his study of Early Modern Italian painters including Botticelli. His paint handling and choice of colour gives his works an almost otherworldly glow.

Ross completed another painting of a young girl on a rocking horse in 1971, which is published in Paul Duval's book "High Realism in Canada" (1974). Duval describes how in the late 1960s and early 1970s "[Ross'] compositions have become more open, and his drawing highly selective and simplified... he had completely absorbed his earlier Renaissance studies, and entered into a totally contemporary creative area. Modern French painter John Balthus had joined Cosimo Tura as a major influence. Balthus inspired a series of paintings based on Ross' daughters" which I would relate to this painting from the same period. Duval goes on to write that "these illustrate the artist's belief that he can heighten the psychological intensity of his concepts by concentrating upon the single figure."