Edward John Hughes was a Canadian painter best known for his vivid studies of British Columbia’s landscapes and seascapes. His style is noted for its distinct simplified shapes and skewed perspectives.
Hughes was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1913. He studied at the Vancouver School of Applied Art and Design where he was taught by Frederick Varley and Lawren Harris, two members of the Group of Seven – a group who encouraged artists to turn to nature as a main source for artistic inspiration. After graduation, he began working as a commercial artist. During World War II, Hughes enlisted in the Royal Canadian Artillery and was sent to England. Later in the war, Hughes worked as a war artist and depicted the lives of people affected by the atrocities of battle.
After the war, Hughes returned to Canada and settled in Vancouver Island. He pursued a career as an artist, predominantly painting the province’s landscape. In the 1950s, his reputation grew steadily. His work was represented in various institutions and he received commissions from organizations such as the Canadian Pacific Railway. In 1968, he was elected into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and in 1994 he was awarded an honourary Doctorate Degree from the University of Victoria, as well as from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in 1997. Today, the Vancouver Art Gallery in British Columbia holds the most extensive collection of his work.