Last month the Gazette published a story about a painting of a float house in Youbou that wound up in Fort Erie, Ont. The painting’s owner was trying to identify the artist who had painted the scene, but she was not having much luck. The only clue she had to go with, besides the location depicted in the artwork, was a partial signature on the back: “Henry Perf—”
Helma Holmes, the owner of Garrison Antique and Flea Market in Fort Erie, offered to help the owner try and track down the identity of the painter.
Within days of the paper coming out, Holmes received multiple phone calls with tips about who the artist might be.
“I was thrilled to hear a message on my machine today from family of the artist,” Holmes said in an email to the Gazette. “I eventually spoke with the daughter-in-law and was able to learn a bit more about Henry Perfect (1890-1974) who died at the age of 84.”
Holmes learned that Perfect’s son, Pete, still lives in the Cowichan Valley and owned the float house for a time and rented it out. Perfect would paint from photographs, often taken by Pete.
“Henry was a talented, self-taught artist and sold his paintings very reasonably. He also did his own framing,” she said. “Each of Henry’s grandchildren have one of his paintings and through the years some of his works have made it back to the family.”
Ernest Towle also reached out to Holmes to tell her the painting is a view he and his wife have from the corner of their property. He told Holmes he suspects the scene could be from around 1930, and that Perfect may have painted from an old photograph from the area.