Alan Caswell Collier, Relief Stiff
An Artist's Letters From Depression-Era British ColumbiaBook - 2018
Alan Caswell Collier was one of Canada's most admired and successful landscape painters, but during the Depression he worked alongside other single, unemployed men in government-run relief camps. Labouring for twenty cents a day, he detailed camp life and politics in letters to his fiancée and depicted fellow "relief stiffs" and the BC landscape in character sketches and paintings. Incisive and candid, his letters reveal a born contrarian with a strong sense of social superiority over his fellow "twenty centers." But his letters also offer a fresh perspective on the hopes and dreams of an eminent Ontario artist and of the generation who came of age at a time of economic upheaval and class conflict.