The land plays an integral part in shaping human identity. Along with physiological perceptions of topography, emotional attachments to place are commonly interpreted through cultural experiences. For women artists, the interpretation of land may also be an embodiment of the local, a meditation on the specifics of place in an intimate embrace of space and time.

The process of articulating a vision of an environment involves the unification of these disparate elements. This is not through chance occurrence, but willful recognition, a visually expressed reaction to the influences of setting upon the intellectual, psychological, and spiritual responses of the individual.

The land plays an integral part in shaping human identity. Along with physiological perceptions of topography, emotional attachments to place are commonly interpreted through cultural experiences. For women artists, the interpretation of land may also be an embodiment of the local, a meditation on the specifics of place in an intimate embrace of space and time.

The process of articulating a vision of an environment involves the unification of these disparate elements. This is not through chance occurrence, but willful recognition, a visually expressed reaction to the influences of setting upon the intellectual, psychological, and spiritual responses of the individual.


© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Anne Savage was a founding member of the Montreal-based Beaver Hall Group, which formed in 1920, and included eleven members, nine of which were women. The impact of the group’s work on the development of a modernist idiom has not fully been recognized in Canadian art history. A contemporary of the Group of Seven, Savage showed in their exhibitions. She imbued her work with a love of the natural world and this rare work from her trip to the Skeena River in B.C. in the late 1920s would have been the result of the ethnological expeditions spearheaded by Marius Barbeau.
Anne Savage was a founding member of the Montreal-based Beaver Hall Group, which formed in 1920, and included eleven members, nine of which were women. The impact of the group’s work on the development of a modernist idiom has not fully been recognized in Canadian art history. A contemporary of the Group of Seven, Savage showed in their exhibitions. She imbued her work with a love of the natural world and this rare work from her trip to the Skeena River in B.C. in the late 1920s would have been the result of the ethnological expeditions spearheaded by Marius Barbeau.

© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Anne Savage

Anne Savage (Montreal, Quebec, 1896—Montreal, Quebec, 1971). Oil painting on cardboard by Anne Savage.

Anne Savage
Photograph: Glenbow Museum
c. 1928
oil on board
22.00 x 29.50 cm
© Glenbow Museum Collection


Emily Carr was born in British Columbia in 1871. Committed to a personal vision that was expressed through her art and writing, she overcame many obstacles to become one of Canada’s most acclaimed artists of the twentieth century. Applying gasoline-thinned oil paint to paper in Strait of Juan de Fuca, the artist worked quickly developing a sense of movement within the composition. Carr states that "it is wonderful to feel the grandness of Canada in the raw, not because she is Canada but because she’s something sublime that you were born into, some great rugged power that you are a part of."
Emily Carr was born in British Columbia in 1871. Committed to a personal vision that was expressed through her art and writing, she overcame many obstacles to become one of Canada’s most acclaimed artists of the twentieth century. Applying gasoline-thinned oil paint to paper in Strait of Juan de Fuca, the artist worked quickly developing a sense of movement within the composition. Carr states that "it is wonderful to feel the grandness of Canada in the raw, not because she is Canada but because she’s something sublime that you were born into, some great rugged power that you are a part of."

© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Emily Carr

Emily Carr (Victoria, British Columbia, 1871—Victoria, British Columbia, 1945). Oil painting on paper by Emily Carr.

Emily Carr
McMichael Canadian Art Collection. Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Max Stern
c. 1936
oil on paper
60.70 x 91.30 cm
© McMichael Canadian Art Collection


Video

Emily Carr

Transcript:
British Columbia painter, Emily Carr. She left for Paris in 1910, with a specific goal: "I did not care a hoot about Paris history," she said. "I wanted now to find out what this new art was about." In Paris she realized that works of art had gone beyond simple description. She was excited by what she saw, and her own style began to change. She had found that pure colour and uncomplicated form helped her approach the totality of the subject, and made it easier to express subjective ideas. Returning to British Columbia, she continued along these lines. In War Canoes, the expressive brushwork, free use of colour, and simple yet sinuous lines emphasize the emotive force of the superb Indian war canoes. In her painted visions of the elementary forces of nature, her expressive power reached new heights.

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores, Glenbow Museum, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Musée d'art de Joliette, Louisiana State Museum

© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.


Katie Ohe was educated at the Alberta College of Art and Design, the New York Sculpture Centre, and the Montreal School of Art and Design. She has taught at A.C.A.D. for over 20 years, and completed numerous public sculpture commissions. She won the Y.W.C.A. Women of Distinction Award, and in 1984 won the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s Allied Arts Medal for outstanding achievement in the arts. Puddle I is a kinetic sculpture dependent on the human touch for movement. When pushed, each level of the piece moves out from under the other, creating a motion reminiscent of water rippling. Ohe derives the shapes of her sculpture from the world around her, reworking images or movement found in the natural world. Her work is important to the history of sculpture in western Canada.
Katie Ohe was educated at the Alberta College of Art and Design, the New York Sculpture Centre, and the Montreal School of Art and Design. She has taught at A.C.A.D. for over 20 years, and completed numerous public sculpture commissions. She won the Y.W.C.A. Women of Distinction Award, and in 1984 won the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s Allied Arts Medal for outstanding achievement in the arts. Puddle I is a kinetic sculpture dependent on the human touch for movement. When pushed, each level of the piece moves out from under the other, creating a motion reminiscent of water rippling. Ohe derives the shapes of her sculpture from the world around her, reworking images or movement found in the natural world. Her work is important to the history of sculpture in western Canada.

© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Katie Von Der Ohe

Katie Von Der Ohe (Peers, Alberta, 1976—Calgary, Alberta). Bronze sculpture by Katie Von Der Ohe.

Katie Von Der Ohe
Photograph: Glenbow Museum
1976
Bronze
27.90 x 88.90 x 88.90 cm
© Glenbow Museum Collection


Dorothy Knowles, considered a pioneer in modern landscape painting, was born in Unity, Saskatchewan. She received a Bachelor of Art degree in 1948, and later that same year, participated in the Emma Lake workshops, influenced by theories of Americans Clement Greenberg and Hans Hoffman. Experiments with abstraction prepared her for a more painterly style in the early 1960s. Her focus on the representation of landscape, particularly the Canadian West, played out in canvases such as Red Willows, one of her "big sky landscapes" that combine an Impressionist interest in surface structure as it receives variations of light and shadow, with an actual sensory experience of the Prairie.

Dorothy Knowles, considered a pioneer in modern landscape painting, was born in Unity, Saskatchewan. She received a Bachelor of Art degree in 1948, and later that same year, participated in the Emma Lake workshops, influenced by theories of Americans Clement Greenberg and Hans Hoffman. Experiments with abstraction prepared her for a more painterly style in the early 1960s. Her focus on the representation of landscape, particularly the Canadian West, played out in canvases such as Red Willows, one of her "big sky landscapes" that combine an Impressionist interest in surface structure as it receives variations of light and shadow, with an actual sensory experience of the Prairie.


© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Dorothy Knowles

Dorothy Knowles (1927—). Acrylic paint on canvas by Dorothy Knowles.

Dorothy Knowles
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
1977
acrylic on canvas
91.60 x 173.20 cm
© McMichael Canadian Art Collection


Frances Anne Hopkins was a well-respected artist in both Canada and England. At the age of 20 she married Edward Martin Hopkins, Chief Factor of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Montreal District, and they moved to eastern Canada, where they lived for twelve years. While in Canada, Hopkins accompanied her husband on tours of fur trade posts, some of which were made in voyageur canoes. These experiences Hopkins documented in sketch books, and became a major subject of her painting. This sort of travel by a woman of her stature was almost unheard of at the time. Today, her work is reputed as being an accurate documentation of voyageurs’ travels of the period. Despite the fact that during the nineteenth century women were discouraged from becoming professional artists, Hopkins exhibited thirteen times at the Royal Academy, London, and at the Art Association of Montreal, among others. In 1869, Hopkins showed Canoes in a Fog, Lake Superior, at the Royal Academy in London, and it has been suggested that this work was an important landmark in Hopkins’ career.
Frances Anne Hopkins was a well-respected artist in both Canada and England. At the age of 20 she married Edward Martin Hopkins, Chief Factor of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Montreal District, and they moved to eastern Canada, where they lived for twelve years. While in Canada, Hopkins accompanied her husband on tours of fur trade posts, some of which were made in voyageur canoes. These experiences Hopkins documented in sketch books, and became a major subject of her painting. This sort of travel by a woman of her stature was almost unheard of at the time. Today, her work is reputed as being an accurate documentation of voyageurs’ travels of the period. Despite the fact that during the nineteenth century women were discouraged from becoming professional artists, Hopkins exhibited thirteen times at the Royal Academy, London, and at the Art Association of Montreal, among others. In 1869, Hopkins showed Canoes in a Fog, Lake Superior, at the Royal Academy in London, and it has been suggested that this work was an important landmark in Hopkins’ career.

© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Frances Anne Beechey Hopkins

Frances Anne Beechey Hopkins (England, 1838—London, 1919). Oil painting on canvas by Frances Anne Beechey Hopkins.

Frances Anne Beechey Hopkins
Photograph: Glenbow Museum
1869
oil on canvas
68.60 x 121.90 cm
© Glenbow Museum Collection


Sara Mary Blake was born in Galway, Ireland and attended a convent at St. Leonards-on-the-Sea in Sussex. She followed her brother Frank to Pincher Creek, Alberta, where he started the Deer Horn Ranch. In 1890, Blake married Alfred H. Lynch-Staunton who established the North-West Mounted Police Detachment at Pincher Creek. Despite the responsibilities of raising eight children (three of whom died) and running a ranch, Blake avidly painted the world around her. She produced small sketches and party invitations. She also painted the doors in her home with landscapes, similar to The Deer Horn Ranch on the North Fork of the Old Man River, which depicts her brother’s ranch.
Sara Mary Blake was born in Galway, Ireland and attended a convent at St. Leonards-on-the-Sea in Sussex. She followed her brother Frank to Pincher Creek, Alberta, where he started the Deer Horn Ranch. In 1890, Blake married Alfred H. Lynch-Staunton who established the North-West Mounted Police Detachment at Pincher Creek. Despite the responsibilities of raising eight children (three of whom died) and running a ranch, Blake avidly painted the world around her. She produced small sketches and party invitations. She also painted the doors in her home with landscapes, similar to The Deer Horn Ranch on the North Fork of the Old Man River, which depicts her brother’s ranch.

© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Sara Mary Blake

Sara Mary Blake (Galway, Ireland, 1864—Canada, 1933). Watercolour on paper by Sara Mary Blake.

Sara Mary Blake
Photograph: Glenbow Museum
1889
watercolour on paper
57.20 x 80.00 cm
© Glenbow Museum Collection


Rita Mount, an Anglophone Montreal artist, traveled to Gaspé in search of the ambiance of a rural countryside that, to her, projected an exoticism absent in urban areas. Pêcheurs de moules, Cloridorme (1944), is typical of a body of work that includes a number of seascapes inspired by the Gaspé coast. In her paintings, Rita Mount depicted the area in a personal, modern style. Her blue, yellow and green palette and bold touch lovingly evoke the atmosphere and climate of the region.
Rita Mount, an Anglophone Montreal artist, traveled to Gaspé in search of the ambiance of a rural countryside that, to her, projected an exoticism absent in urban areas. Pêcheurs de moules, Cloridorme (1944), is typical of a body of work that includes a number of seascapes inspired by the Gaspé coast. In her paintings, Rita Mount depicted the area in a personal, modern style. Her blue, yellow and green palette and bold touch lovingly evoke the atmosphere and climate of the region.

© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Rita Mount

Rita Mount (Montreal, Quebec, 1888—Montreal, Quebec, 1967)

Rita Mount
Photograph: Clément & Mongeau
1944
oil on canvas
48.50 x 56.00 cm
© Musée d'art de Joliette Collection


Annora Brown was born in 1899, near Red Deer, Alberta, and grew up in Fort Macleod. Known for her interest in the depiction of native peoples, the prairie landscape, and botanical illustrations, Brown trained under Arthur Lismer and members of the Group of Seven at the Ontario College of Art. In 1929 she began teaching at Mount Royal College in Calgary, assuming responsibility for the development of the college’s art program. Brown was an important member of the early professional arts community in Alberta. She taught at the Banff Centre, and the University of Alberta’s extension programme, while pursuing her own work, and caring for ailing parents. "I am not satisfied until the music and poetry I desire are worked into my paintings." – Annora Brown, 1965
Annora Brown was born in 1899, near Red Deer, Alberta, and grew up in Fort Macleod. Known for her interest in the depiction of native peoples, the prairie landscape, and botanical illustrations, Brown trained under Arthur Lismer and members of the Group of Seven at the Ontario College of Art. In 1929 she began teaching at Mount Royal College in Calgary, assuming responsibility for the development of the college’s art program. Brown was an important member of the early professional arts community in Alberta. She taught at the Banff Centre, and the University of Alberta’s extension programme, while pursuing her own work, and caring for ailing parents. "I am not satisfied until the music and poetry I desire are worked into my paintings." – Annora Brown, 1965

© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Annora Brown

Annora Brown (Red Deer, Alberta, 1899—1987). Oil painting on canvas by Annora Brown.

Annora Brown
Photograph: Glenbow Museum
1955
oil on canvas
51.00 x 67.60 cm
© Glenbow Museum Collection


From a very early age, Yvonne McKague Housser demonstrated a growing artistic talent. Her career as a respected teacher at the Ontario College of Art spanned four decades. Active within the broader community of artists, she became a founding member of the Canadian Group of Painters. Founded in 1904, the town of Cobalt, Ontario developed in a rough and random manner. Housser exaggerated many of these qualities in her paintings of the area. While embracing a sense of the dominance of the land, Housser’s approach offers a personal and expressive interpretation of the human presence in relation to it.
From a very early age, Yvonne McKague Housser demonstrated a growing artistic talent. Her career as a respected teacher at the Ontario College of Art spanned four decades. Active within the broader community of artists, she became a founding member of the Canadian Group of Painters. Founded in 1904, the town of Cobalt, Ontario developed in a rough and random manner. Housser exaggerated many of these qualities in her paintings of the area. While embracing a sense of the dominance of the land, Housser’s approach offers a personal and expressive interpretation of the human presence in relation to it.

© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Yvonne McKague Housser

Yvonne McKague Housser (1898—1996). Oil painting on pressed board by Yvonne McKague Housser.

Yvonne McKague Housser
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
c. 1928
oil on pressed board
25.50 x 33.80 cm
© McMichael Canadian Art Collection


Prudence Heward was born in Montreal in 1896, and in 1914 left for England with her family to work with the Red Cross. Back in Montréal in 1918, she enrolled in art classes and almost immediately her work garnered public attention. While outwardly shy, her style and techniques were architectural, academic, and strongly individual. She was associated with several artists groups, notably the Beaver Hall Hill Group, and traveled often, visiting areas in Quebec, Ontario, and Bermuda. Her landscape paintings are "utopian" spaces, serene, shown in parallel with a human structure or form. For Heward, land shaped both the individual and cultural identity. She died prematurely, in Los Angeles, after prolonged treatments for asthma.

Prudence Heward was born in Montreal in 1896, and in 1914 left for England with her family to work with the Red Cross. Back in Montréal in 1918, she enrolled in art classes and almost immediately her work garnered public attention. While outwardly shy, her style and techniques were architectural, academic, and strongly individual. She was associated with several artists groups, notably the Beaver Hall Hill Group, and traveled often, visiting areas in Quebec, Ontario, and Bermuda. Her landscape paintings are "utopian" spaces, serene, shown in parallel with a human structure or form. For Heward, land shaped both the individual and cultural identity. She died prematurely, in Los Angeles, after prolonged treatments for asthma.

© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Prudence Heward

Prudence Heward (Canada, 1896—USA, 1947)

Prudence Heward
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
1933
oil on panel
35.20 x 30.40 cm
© McMichael Canadian Art Collection


Defying tradition without renouncing it completely, Rue sous le Cap, Québec (1937) is a work that blends naturally into the early stages of modernism. Unlike the semi-official art of the Group of Seven, Irène Sénécal’s palette and composition break with the conventional rules of representation, and always with warmth and simplicity. The artist’s predominant pinks, mauves and whites reject naturalism and give her works an expressiveness and sensitivity all their own. Her bold style captures the atmosphere of urban space and suggests the daily activities of its occupants.
Defying tradition without renouncing it completely, Rue sous le Cap, Québec (1937) is a work that blends naturally into the early stages of modernism. Unlike the semi-official art of the Group of Seven, Irène Sénécal’s palette and composition break with the conventional rules of representation, and always with warmth and simplicity. The artist’s predominant pinks, mauves and whites reject naturalism and give her works an expressiveness and sensitivity all their own. Her bold style captures the atmosphere of urban space and suggests the daily activities of its occupants.

© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Irène Sénécal

Irène Sénécal (Montreal, Quebec, 1901—Montreal, Quebec, 1978). Oil painting on wood by Irène Sénécal.

Irène Sénécal
Photograph: Ginette Clément
1937
oil on wood
32.00 x 26.80 cm
© Musée d'art de Joliette Collection


Learning Objectives

The learner will:

  • Analyze works of art with the issue of gender in mind
  • Be aware of the role of women as they relate to their culture
  • Be conscious of the emotional impact that is caused and shaped by a work of art
  • Understand the issues surrounding the history and making of art by women
  • Interpret meaning in women’s art and in women’s lives through art
  • Be aware of the challenges women have faced to be recognized as reputable in art history
  • Describe the way people and their landscapes are depicted in art
  • Learn how artistic decisions affect portrayal of landscapes
  • Apply what he or she knows about the nature of life, nature, the physical world, and the human condition to analyses of works of art
  • Consider multiple perspectives on issues addressed by landscape artists

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