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A Dictionary of Canadian Artists

A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, volumes 1-8 by Colin S. MacDonald, and volume 9 (online only), by Anne Newlands and Judith Parker.

Hanging committee of the Ontario Society of Artists, 1910. Photograph by M.O. Hammond (1876-1934). Left to right: Edmund Wyly Grier, C.W. Jefferys, Sydney Strickland Tully, Robert F. Gagen, Frederick S. Challener.

Introduction

This resource contains over 5000 biographical entries for Canadian artists. Most of the entries, for artists from ‘A’ to ‘Smith’, have been compiled by Colin S. MacDonald and published in his Dictionary of Canadian Artists (8 volumes. Ottawa: Canadian Paperbacks, 1967-2006). 250 entries, for artists from ‘Smith’ to ‘Z’, have been researched and written by Anne Newlands and Judith Parker. The texts are attached to the entries in the Artists in Canada database. Artists in Canada is compiled and maintained by the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives, and hosted by the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN).

History

In 1961 Colin S. MacDonald began documenting the biographies of Canadian artists, beginning with the letter ‘A’. While planning the Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Mr. MacDonald consulted with the late John Russell Harper, former curator of Canadian art at the National Gallery of Canada. Originally conceived as a complement to Harper’s published work, the Dictionary remains the only substantial biographical work on thousands of Canadian painters, engravers, sculptors, carvers and potters.

Mr. MacDonald carried out much of the research by himself using resources such as newspaper clippings, press releases, obituaries, exhibition notices and artists’ resumes held in files maintained by the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives. He also derived information from personal interviews and questionnaires.

Between 2007 and 2009, the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives proceeded with the acquisition of the copyright in the Dictionary of Canadian Artists, the scanning of the 8 printed volumes, the compilation of the new entries, and the loading of the entire contents into the Artists in Canada database.

Acknowledgments

The project to scan the Dictionary and to compile the additional entries was supported by the National Gallery of Canada Foundation and by CHIN.

Click here to consult the entries in the Artists in Canada database.