AboutHeralded as one of Canada’s forerunners of abstract art, Bertram Brooker (1888-1955) was a self-trained polymath known for his work as a visual artist, actor, novelist, poet, screenwriter, playwright, advertising executive and graphic designer. This Tremendous Arc gathers ink and pencil drawings from Brooker’s book illustrations of canonical literature. Spanning three decades of artistic production, the works tread between realist and non-objective representations, encompassing Brooker’s re-imaginings of literary masterpieces, among them William Shakespeare’s Hamlet (c. 1600), Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables (1862) and Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment (1866). Drawn with an exacting hand, these haunting illustrations narrate the drama of tragedies and triumphs found in their written counterparts. Observations of the natural world accompany the works, marking a critical juncture in Brooker’s mid-career when he began to explore figuration.