The Spirit of the Windigo
FES Title:
[no entry in day books – assigned number]
Alternate Titles: To Avoid a Portage (1967, 1977) Windigo
Date: 1967
Size: 20″H x 16″W
Medium: oil-on-canvas
Type: subject painting
Published: Schoonover, Frank E. The Edge of the Wilderness, edited by Cortlandt Schoonover. Toronto: Methuen, 1974: 72.
caption: The Spirit of the Wendigo
Inscription: lr: Frank E. Schoonover
Exhibitions: 1967 WSFS; 1977 FES; 2001 FES
Comments: Possibly the artist’s last painting
Commentary: The artist was observed working on this composition in his studio during the 1960’s, making this possibly his last easel painting. He was inspired by the memories detailed in the diaries of his summer trip to Canada in 1911:

“Skene told me of a superstition the Indians have of the St. Maurice River, about a certain rapids called the Devil (Wendigo) rapids. To them, the water at this point is a source of great fear. Occasionally it seems a [sic] old man appears in the water – endeavoring to catch them.” Indeed, the terror of the Windigo spirit was real. To appease it and insure a safe passage through the rapids, some Indians would cast a plug of tobacco ahead of them into the rapids. (diaries)

Provenance: Private collection
Current Owner: