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August 4, 2023

What We’re Reading | He was a renowned Ontario livestock painter. Now Ross Butler’s collection could be sold off

By Rebecca Zandbergen, CBC News

Ross Butler of Woodstock, Ont., first came to prominence as a livestock painter in the 1930s when a number of Canadian horse and cattle breed committees hired him to paint their idea of a perfect specimen.

“For several years, he was known as the world’s leading livestock artist, which was a thing,” David Ross, 68, said about his late dad. “It was a genre. He was among the elite livestock painters.”

Before the Second War, Ross painted ideal depictions of 11 different breeds, “standard types” as they were called — four dairy cow breeds, four beef breeds and two draft horse breeds. He continued painting and sculpting animals for many years. The bulk of them remain on display at the family farm gallery, which once doubled as Butler’s studio before he died in 1995 at age 88.

But thanks to waning public interest, David, who lives at the farm and has run the gallery for some 30 years, is making plans to close it down. The art will be sold, bequeathed and donated, he said.

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‘What We’re Reading‘ is a quick look at some of the issues and insights Alberta Beef Producers’ content creators and editors are reading to stay up-to-date, to broaden perspectives, and to explore issues relevant to the agriculture industry.

 

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