Robert Bruce

An Inventory of his papers at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections

Inventory prepared by Erin Acland
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
Winnipeg, Manitoba
(2011)

Finding aid encoded by Erin Acland (2011)
Finding aid written in English.



Collection Summary

Repository:
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Creator:
Robert Bruce

Title:
Robert Bruce fonds

Dates:
1932 – 1996

Quantity:
1.63 m of textual records and graphic material.

Identification:
Mss 346, Pc 302, El 28 (A.11-26)

English

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Biography of Robert Bruce

Robert Bruce was an artist and a professor at the School of Art at the University of Manitoba. Bruce worked with a variety of styles and mediums, such as, drawing, painting, printing and murals. He dealt with diverse subject matter including the military, landscapes, cityscapes and the human form. His work is distinctive for his use of exaggeration to increase the expressiveness of his subject. Shortly after Bruce’s birth in 1911 in Grandview, Manitoba, his family moved to Winnipeg where he later attended the Winnipeg School of Art under L.L. FitzGerald. From 1929 to 1933 he worked as an illustrator for the T. Eaton Company display department. In 1935 he moved to England where he enrolled in the Central School of Art in London where he pursued lithography and depicted scenes of street life and sporting activity. In 1938 and 1939, Bruce studied at the Academie Grande Chaumière in Paris and studied painting in Provence and the south of France.

Upon his return to Winnipeg Bruce worked as an illustrator for the Winnipeg Free Press until 1943 when he enlisted in the Canadian Army. During the Second World War Bruce was employed in Portage la Prairie as a public relations staff artist where he designed victory bond advertisements and created award winning illustrations of Army life, some of which were showcased in an exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa and toured across North America. After being discharged from the Army in 1946, Bruce studied at the Art Students’ League in New York, where he met fellow student, lifelong friend and future University of Manitoba art professor George Swinton. Starting in New York City, and continuing throughout his career, Bruce worked as a freelance illustrator for a number of publications including Liberty, Life, Esquire, The New York Times, Harper’s, The Reporter, MacLean’s, and, starting in the mid-1950s, a number of educational books. In 1949 he moved to Angola, New York where he taught at the Albright School of Art at the University of Buffalo.

In 1955, Bruce and his wife Melba Cumberland, along with their children, Katharine and Robert, moved back to Winnipeg where he worked as a disciplined, demanding and unconventional professor until his retirement in 1976. While working as a professor, Bruce continued to create an extensive amount of fine and commercial art, including several large scale public murals. Throughout his life his artistic work, environmental activism and teaching style were celebrated, but also contentious and controversial. After his retirement Bruce divided his time between his cottage on Falcon Lake in Whiteshell Provincial Park and a home near an artists’ enclave in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. In 1980 Bruce died at his home in San Miguel de Allende. In 2004 the Winnipeg Art Gallery showcased a comprehensive exhibit which presented his multi-faceted work as a professor, environmental activist and artist in numerous mediums.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The fond is divided into five series. They include diaries, personal, drawings, sketchbooks and oversize drawings. The fonds consists of letters, personal records, postcards, photocopies of Bruce’s published artwork, 9 notebooks, 7 photographs, 119 sketchbooks, 183 drawings, 51 prints, 109 oversize drawings and prints, 13 negatives of drawings, 3 slides of paintings, 21 colour reversal film of drawings, 42 photographs of drawings, 53 drawing reproductions, 191 news clippings of drawings, 275 oversize reproductions of drawings, 136 oversize magazine clippings of drawings, and 44 oversize reproductions, clippings and photographs of drawings.

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Arrangement of the Papers

This collection is arranged

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Restrictions on Access

Financial records are restricted.

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Restrictions on Use

Some material is copyrighted.

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Related Materials

George Swinton fonds Mss 210, Pc 190, Tc 115, El 8 (A.97-67, A.05-47, A.07-70). L.L. Fitzgerald fonds finding aid available upon request.

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Custodial History

The fonds was donated to University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections by Katharine Bruce and Robert C. Bruce in 2011.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

Diaries [ 1932 -1939, [196–?], 1976 - 1980 ]
BoxFolder
11 Travel Diary : Winnipeg to New York 1932
2 Travel Diary and Manuscripts ca. 1936-1937
3 Travel Diary : American Express and Paris 1938
4 Travel Diary : Automobile Club of Vancouver [193-?]
5 Travel Diary : Europe [196-?]
6 Notebook : Philosophy and Biology October 1976
7 Notebook : Philosophy and Biology 1977-1980
8 Autobiography and drawings 1978-1979
9 Notebook : Science and Technology 1979

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Personal 1936 – 1995
BoxFolder
110 Correspondence 1940s
11 Correspondence 1971-1973
12 Postcards 1944-1970
BoxFolder
21 Correspondence : Melba Cumberland - Includes 3 slides of Bruce’s paintings, as well as photographs and reproductions of Bruce’s drawings 1984-1985, 1992-1993
2 List of discarded pictures [1992?]
3 Financial documents regarding the sale of Bruce’s artwork (confidential) 1950-1968, 1992
4 Advertisements for art exhibitions : U of M, Grant Gallery, Queen’s Art Circuit 1961-1963, 1972, 1976, 1995
5 News clippings and reviews 1936, 1944-1946, 1956
6 News clippings 1963, 1976

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Drawings 1935-1973, 1996
BoxFolder
27 Photocopies of "The Reporter," includes issue’s cover page, table of contents and Bruce’s drawings (Pc 302) April 1949-July 1965
BoxFolder
31 Collection of blank postcards : New York and the United States/ Group of Seven/ Canada [between 1940 and 1960?]
2 7 photographs : Bruce, friends [early 1950s?]
3 Service Centre Mural : 10 negatives of drawings [1943?]
4 Service Centre Mural : 15 drawing reproductions [1943?]
5 13 Photographs and 3 negatives of Army paintings 1946
6 2 Photographs of paintings : bathers, “Interior” 1944,1952
7 21 Colour reversal film of paintings [undated]
8 Army drawings : 16 newspaper clippings, 30 reproductions, and 1 photograph of drawings and 1 textual document 1945
9 Drawings of Army life : 26 Photographs and 6 reproductions of drawings; 2 victory loan advertisements 1945
10 13 Drawings: pencil and ink – [Figures, Sea, England]; 17 Newspaper and Magazine Clippings – [West Ham Baseball, misc.] [ca. 1936-1938]
11 40 Drawings: Ink – [People in the City] [Between 1935 and 1955]
12 6 Drawings : pencil; 4 reproductions – [buildings, figures] [1945-1949]
13 28 Drawings : pencil and ink – “Head” [Greece?] [1967?]
14 34 Drawings and 1 sketchbook : pencil and ink - “Café,” “Europe” [1967?]
15 60 Drawings : pencil and ink – “Analysis,” “Designs” [between 1957 and 1965?]
16 74 Magazine clippings : “‘Biff’ Brian” comic strip ca. 1938
17 51 Prints : Colour - Christmas cards 1964, 1970, 1973 [between 1960 and 1975?]
18 13 copies of "Art Students League News," includes Bruce’s drawings April 1948-May 1949
19 63 clipped pages of the magazine "The Reporter," includes Bruce’s drawings March 1949-1968
20 8 Clippings of Bruce’s drawings and paintings from various publications including "Life," "Laundrette News" and a Manitoba Theatre Centre Program 1953, 1947, 1996
21 Photocopies of various magazines, includes issue’s cover page, table of contents and Bruce’s drawings 1947-1955
22 2 Drawings : colour crayon – "Macleans" and "The New Yorker" [1958] [195-]
23 Photocopies of "Macleans," includes issue’s cover page, table of contents and Bruce’s drawings; one cd containing the same images scanned (El 28) October 1956-August 1960
BoxFolder
3 A - Oversize Roberet Bruce's drawings - the covers of the various magazines

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Sketchbooks 1935-1979
BoxFolder
41 B-001 Drawings : pencil– London/ Bal Negre [1938?]
2 B-003 Drawings : pencil– London/ France 1938
3 B-004 Drawings : pencil - France 1938
4 B-005 Drawings : pencil - Monte Carlo 1938
5 B-006 Drawings : pencil - France [1939?]
6 B-007 Drawings : pencil and ink - France/ Compositions 1939, 1944
7 B-009 Drawings : pencil and ink– Paris/ New York [193-?]
8 B-010 Drawings : pencil and ink - Kathy and Bob/ farm in Angola, NY 1947
9 B-012 Drawings : pencil and ink - both kids 1946
10 B-013 Drawings : pencil and ink – [Winnipeg?] ballet/ zoo/ conservatory/ park 1944
11 B-014 Drawings : pencil and ink - Victoria Beach [Manitoba] July 1944
12 B-015 Drawings : pencil and ink - Baby Bob 1944
13 B- 016 Drawings : pencil and ink – Portage/ park/ Victoria Beach 1945
14 B-017 Drawings : pencil and ink - Victoria Beach July 1945
BoxFolder
51 B-018 Drawings : pencil and ink – Assiniboine Park September 1944
2 B-019 Drawings : black and blue ink, pencil – [Army figures] November 1944
3 B-020 Drawings : blue ink – Paratroops II [1944?]
4 B-021 Drawings : black ink, pencil – Portage Train At Zoo March 1944
5 B-022 Drawings : blue and black ink – Portage May 1945
6 B-023 Drawings : blue and black ink, pencil– Park 1945
7 B-024 Drawings : black ink, pencil – Shoveling/ Shilo/ Grass [194-?]
8 B-025 Drawings : blue and black ink, pencil – Churchill/ Air Supply/ Canteen/ Landscape [1946]
9 B-026 Drawings : blue and black ink, pencil – Churchill II/ Air Supply/ Tent camp/ Landscape [1946]
10 B-027 Drawings : blue and black ink, pencil – Churchill IV/ Eskimos [1946]
11 B-028 Drawings : pencil – Churchill V/ Landscape [1946]
12 B-035 Drawings : pencil – Nudes October 1947
13 B-037 Drawings : pencil – Maine August 1948
14 B-038 Drawings : pencil, black ink – 57th St. NYC [late 1940s?]
15 B-039 Drawings : pencil, black ink – Angola [New York] 1950
BoxFolder
61 B-040 Drawings : blue and black ink, pencil – Plants/ Trees/ Sketches C of C Mural 1955
2 B-045 Drawings : pencil – Angola 1950-1956
3 B-046 Drawings : blue and black ink, pencil – Angola countryside/ NY state/ Plants/ Leaves 1950, 1954
4 B-048 Drawings : pencil – [Figures] [late 1950s?]
5 B-049 Drawings : pencil – Skiing/ Bodies/ Birds and loose drawings – [landscapes]. 1962
6 B-050 Drawings : pencil, coloured ink/ crayon – Paris/ Mountains/ Patterns 1962
7 B-051 Drawings : pencil, coloured crayon – Groups/ Faces/ Crayon patterns 1961
8 B-052 Drawings : pencil – Very Sketchy People [early 1960s?]
9 B-053 Drawings : black ink, coloured crayons- Pen and Ink/ Colour Pattern [early 1960s?]
10 B-054 Drawings : black ink, pencil, coloured crayon – Sports Cars/ People [early 1960s?]
11 B-055 Drawings : pencil, coloured crayons –Faces/ Patterns [early 1960s?]
12 B-056 Drawings : pencil – [Figures/ Nudes/ Animals] [early 1960s?]
BoxFolder
71 B-057 Drawings : pencil, black ink, coloured crayons – Climbing/ Skiing/ Natives/ Woods [1963?]
2 B-058 Drawings : pencil – [Skiing] April 1963
3 B-059 Drawings : pencil - Divers/ Skiing/ Bodies December 1963
4 B-060 Drawings : pencil, black and brown ink – Shovel/ [Groups/ Landscapes] July 1962
5 B-061 Drawings : pencil, coloured crayons - [Figures] May 1964
6 B-062, Drawings : pencil, black ink, coloured crayons - Dead Bracken/ Saseenos B.C./ [Figures] [196-]
7 B-063 Drawings : pencil, black ink – [Figures] November 1964
BoxFolder
81 B-064 Drawings : black ink – Europe April 1965
2 B-065 Drawings : pencil - Grace Hospital Mural Studies April 1965
3 B-066 Drawings : pencil, black ink – [Figures] [196-]
4 B-067 Drawings : pencil, black ink – Tree of the [?]/ Bodies/ Hands/ Birds [undated]
5 B-067 Drawings : pencil, coloured crayons – Grace Hospital Mural 1969
6 B-068 Drawings : pencil, ink – [Figures/ Landscape] 1970s
7 B-069 Drawings : pencil, black ink, coloured crayons – [Figures/ Landscapes] [1971?]
BoxFolder
91 B-070 Drawings : pencil – [Figures, Birds] 1971
2 B-071 Drawings : pencil, coloured crayon – [Nudes] 1971, 1973
3 B-073 Drawings : pencil, coloured crayon, ink – Canon de Chorro/ [Mexican landscapes and figures) 1977-1979
4 B-074 Drawings : pencil, ink, coloured crayon – [Figures] [197-?]
5 B-078 Drawings : pencil, ink – Eskimo/ Inuit people/ faces/ dogs [1946]
6 B-079 Drawings : pencil, ink – Gold /[Plants] [195-]
7 B-080 Drawings : pencil, ink – Insects 1953
8 B-081 Drawings : ink - [Nature] [1953?]
9 B-082 Drawings : ink – [Patterns] before 1956
10 B-083 Drawings : pencil, ink – Gold/ [Inca artifacts and people/ Conquistadors] [195-]
11 B-084 Drawings : pencil, ink - [Figures/ Landscapes] 1954-1955
12 B-085 Drawings : pencil, ink – [Plants] [195-?]
13 B-086 Drawings : pencil, ink – [Figures/ Patterns] 1956
BoxFolder
101 B-089 Drawings : pencil, ink, coloured crayons – [Figures] 1963
2 B-090 Drawings : pencil– [Nudes] 1964
3 B-091 Drawings : pencil – Mechanic/ Soldier/ Musician / [Nudes] 1970
4 B-092 Drawings : pencil, ink– Recréo/ [Landscapes/ Figures] November 1978
5 B-094 Drawings : pencil, ink – Jaime I/ Cafes in Spain 1967
6 B-095 Drawings : pencil, ink – [Nude Women, Figures, Machines] 1961-1962
7 B-098 Drawings : pencil – [Nudes] [196-?]
8 B-099 Drawings : pencil – Casada del Chorro/ [Mexican marketplace] [1977-1979?]
9 B-101 Drawings : pencil – [Groups of People] [undated]
10 B-102 Drawings : pencil – [Europe/ Groups] [195-?]
11 B-103 Drawings : pencil – Carolina Hotel, Athens/ Hotel Spagna, Venzia [195-?]
12 B-104 Drawings : pencil – [Faces] [195-?]
13 B-105 Drawings : pencil – [Figures] [195-?]
14 B-106 Drawings : pencil – [Figures] [195-?]
15 B-107 Drawings : pencil – Messones 27/ [Figures] [undated]
BoxFolder
111 B-108 Drawings : pencil – Chris Colombo/ Christophoro/ [Figures] [undated]
2 B-109 Drawings : pencil – Mexico/ [Figures] [1954?]
3 B-110 Drawings : pencil – Arles/ Fontveille/ Cannes/ Cagnes/ Golfe Juan/ Juan Les Pins/ Menton/ Ton Remo 1938
4 B-111 Drawings : pencil, ink – [Figures/ Buildings] 1939
5 B-116 Drawings : pencil, ink – Troop Ship/ Troop Train / Pontiac [1943 or 1944],1952
6 B-117 Drawings : pencil, ink – Reception Centre/ Red Cross Packing/ C.W.A.C. Kitchen 1943
7 B-118 Drawings : pencil, ink – M. Test/ Q.M. Stores/ Blood Donors/ Trees/ Pelicans 1944
8 B-119 Drawings : pencil, ink – [Figures/ Nudes] 1946
9 B-120 Drawings : pencils – [Nudes] [late 1940s?]
10 B-121 Drawings : pencil – [Nudes] [late 1940s?]
11 B-122 Drawings : pencil – [Machinery] [194-?]
12 B-124 Drawings : pencil, ink - [London/ France] [late 1930s]
13 B-125 Drawings : ink – [Figures] [late 1940s?]
14 B-126, Drawings : pencil, ink – [Faces/ Figures] [194-?]
15 B-127 Drawings : pencil, ink, – [Figures] [late 1940s]
16 B-128 Drawings : pencil – [Figures] 1945
17 B-129 Drawings : pencil - [Blank/ Houses/ Scribbles] [ late 1940s?]
BoxFolder
121 B-130 Drawings : pencil, ink – [Figures/ New York City] [late 1940s]
2 [not numbered] Drawings : pencil – [Figures] [194-?]
3 B-131 Drawings : pencil – [New York City] [late 1940s?]
4 B-132 Drawings : pencil - Art Students League/ [New York City/ Totem Poles] 1945-1949
5 B-134 Drawings : pencil, ink – [Figures] after 1956
6 B-135 Drawings : pencil – Paris May-June 1937
7 B-136 Drawings : pencil – London/ Bristol/ Bath July 1937
8 B-137 Drawings : pencil – Europe November 1938
9 B-138 Drawings : pencil - London 1936-1937
10 B-139 Drawings : pencil, ink – Paris 1938
11 B-141 Drawings : pencil, ink – London 1935
12 B-144 Drawings : pencil, ink – Goats/ Kathy/ Notes 1950
13 B-146 Drawings : pencil, ink - France 1967
14 B-147 Drawings : pencil – [Restaurants/ Blank] [undated]
15 B-148 Drawings : pencil, ink - Europe 1967
16 B-150 Drawings : pencil, ink– Thira [Greece] [1967?]
17 B-151 Drawings : ink, pencil – Sholi Kalon Technon/ Mukonos/ Hermes Corfu [Greece] [1967?]
18 B-152 Drawings : ink – Italy/ Switzerland/ Boats [193-]

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Oversize Drawings ca. 1938-1980
BoxFolder
Oversize 11 " Tosie of the Far North: An Eskimo Story" : 42 proofs (reproductions/) of an educational children’s book illustrated by Bruce 1954
2 "The Story of Gold" and "The First Book of the West Indies" : 102 proofs of educational children’s books illustrated by Bruce [1955], 1956
3 19 Reproductions of Army drawings [between 1943 and 1946]
4 13 Colour reproductions of paintings of the Red River published in "Macleans" [August 1960]
5 14 Pencil and ink drawings : [Old Men] [undated]
6 49 Pencil drawings : [Women/ Miscellaneous numbered drawings] [undated]
7 1 Advertisement for exhibit May 1976
8 44 Reproductions, news clippings, and photographs of Army drawings and victory loan advertisements mounted on paper [between 1942 and 1946]
BoxFolder
Oversize 21 37 Pencil, ink and colour drawings [see subsequent publications in "The Reporter" and a variety of other publications] [1948 - 1971]
2 75 Small reproductions and magazine clippings of miscellaneous drawings mounted on paper [1937 - 196-]
3 24 Reproductions of miscellaneous drawings mounted on paper [between 1943 and 196-]
4 9 Miscellaneous coloured drawings and prints [between 1947 and 195-]
BoxFolder
Oversize 31 73 Magazine clippings mounted on paper [195-?]
2 63 clippings from "The Reporter," children’s books and other publications mounted on paper and stored in a thick cardboard sleeve [between 1947 and 1950-?]

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