Gateway Gazette

Turner Valley School Art Exhibition: Mountain Man

Mountain Man is a touring exhibition developed by the Alberta Society of Artists for the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Travelling Exhibition Program.

Credit: Frederick Herbert (Bert) Riggall, Untitled, no date.
Reproduction of archival photograph.
Collection of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.

“While recovering from an accidental gunshot wound to his left thigh in 1904, Frederick Herbert (Bert) Riggall (1884–1959) came across an image that would alter his life’s course. Printed in St. Nicholas magazine was a photograph of a mountain ram standing on a cliff and gazing out over the Rocky Mountains. In his diary, Riggall wrote, “I want to see what the ram sees. I’ve decided on Canada.”

Like many pioneers of Western Canada, Riggall was an industrious and resourceful individual. By 1910, he had established a homestead near the Kootenai Lakes (the area known today as Waterton Lakes National Park) and a mountain guide and pack train business. An avid photographer, Riggall kept a camera with him during these excursions. He captured hundreds of images ranging from vast panoramas of mountain peaks to more intimate shots of flora and fauna. Cleverly aware of the powerful allure that these images could elicit, Riggall utilized many of his prints for promotional purposes. In this exhibition, 13 of Bert Riggall’s panoramas of the rugged trails along the continental divide are presented alongside 3 close-up images of wildflowers that he delicately hand-tinted using coloured dyes. Together these subjects beautifully convey the work of a man who had an enduring explorative spirit, keen interest in naturalism and profound connection to the land.”

—Shannon Bingeman, Curator/Manager TREX

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