Peter and Joanne Brown Donate Iconic E.J. Hughes Painting to ECU

5226 Ej Hughes

By Rob Maguire

Posted on April 03, 2018 | Updated August 06, 2019, 9:06AM

Coastal Boats Near Sidney, BC was unveiled at an event attended by various members of university community including donor Peter Brown and his family.

Emily Carr University celebrates the donation of E.J. Hughes’ iconic painting Coastal Boats Near Sidney, BC.

"The donation of this painting is further evidence of Peter and Joanne Brown’s commitment to the arts in general and to Emily Carr University in particular,” says Dr. Ron Burnett, President and Vice-Chancellor of ECU. “E.J. Hughes was one of the greatest painters this province has ever produced, and we hope that the presence of this painting on campus will inspire future generations of artists.”

This is the Browns’ second major donation to the University. The Peter and Joanne Brown Foundation were significant contributors to ECU’s THE BIG IDEA capital campaign, which helped fund the University’s new Great Northern Way campus. They also generously gave ECU a sculpture by Canadian artist Joe Fafard titled Emily Carr and Friends.

“As an art donor, I want to ensure that works of art will go to places where they can be viewed by interested people, rather than ending up in storage,” says Peter Brown. “E.J. Hughes’ Coastal Boats Near Sidney, BC was my favourite piece in the collection and ranked amongst his half dozen top paintings. Both this piece and Emily Carr and Friends by Joe Fafard are iconic British Columbia. Emily Carr University is the perfect home for them where they can inspire and be seen.”

Lauded by renowned Canadian artist Jack Shadbolt as “the most engaging intuitive painter of the B.C. landscape since Emily Carr”, Hughes learned his craft at the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts (which would later become ECU). His artwork captures the essence of coastal life in B.C.

Completed in 1948, the oil-on-canvas painting depicts two steamships that used to ply the coastal waters between Vancouver Island and the mainland. It was originally purchased by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia in 1952.