Artists in Canada

Artists in Canada, compiled and maintained by the National Gallery of Canada Library, is a bilingual union list that identifies the location of documentation files on Canadian artists. Twenty-three libraries and art galleries across Canada have contributed biographical information and lists of their documentation files to create this resource which contains information for over 42,700 artists. Additional information regarding the institutions that contribute to Artists in Canada appears separately under Contributors.

The term "artist" is interpreted broadly in the visual arts field to include artisans along with painters, sculptors, printmakers, architects, and others. An artist "in Canada" denotes an artist born in Canada or an artist born elsewhere who has worked in Canada. The inclusion of an artist implies no selection process. An entry here indicates only the existence of a file, the size of which may range from one to hundreds of items, containing information in the form of press clippings, exhibition announcements, and other items.

Each record in the database has information in up to 25 data fields. The data within these fields include brief biographical information on the artist, such as birth and/or death dates, place of birth and/or death, and artist technique.

Biographies for Artists in Canada

Over 5350 biographies for Canadian artists have been added to Artists in Canada thanks to the generous assistance of CHIN, the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, and the dedicated work of Colin MacDonald, the author of A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, and a team of staff and volunteers at the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives.

A Dictionary of Canadian Artists

In the early 1970s Colin MacDonald, a mid-career civil servant in Ottawa, decided to retire from his government position and write a biographical dictionary of Canadian artists. Although partial dictionaries already existed, either chronological (early painters and printmakers) or geographical (Saskatchewan artists), a comprehensive dictionary had not been compiled. Not a trained art historian, Mr. MacDonald worked primarily from the documentation files maintained in the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives (those files now listed in Artists in Canada). After several decades of industrious research and writing, Mr. MacDonald had published 8 volumes of his A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, from A to Smith. Ill health and advancing years obliged him to hand on the project to others and he approached the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives.

The National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives acquired Mr. MacDonald's copyright for the dictionary with the generous assistance of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation. The Foundation also enabled the NGC Library and Archives to employ two researcher/writers, Anne Newlands and Judith Parker, to complete the dictionary by compiling over 200 biographical entries for artists from Smith to Z, volume 9 of A Dictionary of Canadian Artists (available online only). Biographies for all 9 volumes of the dictionary, over 5200 entries, were digitized and have been linked to the artist records in Artists in Canada, thanks to assistance from CHIN and a team of staff and volunteers from the NGC Library and Archives.

National Gallery of Canada – Artist Biographies

In addition, links to over 150 bilingual artist biographies compiled by the Education staff of the National Gallery of Canada and available on the Gallery's website have been added to Artists in Canada.

Links to other biographical sources on Canadian artists will be made as resources become available.

List of references

NOTE: A lower case "a" after the reference indicates that a citation was found in that source, a lower case "x" indicates that the name could not be verified.

3BC
Three hours later: a catalogue of British Columbia artists and their work. Vancouver, BC: New Era Social Club, 1973.
AAC
Lerner, Loren and Mary Williamson. Art and architecture in Canada: a bibliography and guide to the literature to 1981= Art et architecture au Canada: bibliographie et guide de la documentation jusqu'en 1981. Toronto: U.T.P., c. 1991.
ABC
Morys-Edge, Derek. Artists of British Columbia. Vancouver, BC: Chartwell, 1986.
AC
Calgary Public Library. Authorities. Calgary, AB.
ALB
University of Alberta. Authorities. Edmonton, AB.
ARBIO
Artist biographies master index. Detroit: Gale, 1986.
AUBREY
Aubrey, Irene E. Pictures to share: Illustration in Canadian Childrens' Books = Images pour tous: illustration de livres canadiens pour enfants. Ottawa: National Library of Canada; Ottawa: Bibliothèque nationale du Canada, 1979, 1986.
BERGERON
Bergeron, Claude. Index des périodiques d'architecture canadiens: 1940-1980 = Canadian Architectural Periodicals Index: 1940-1980. Québec: Université Laval, 1986.
BL
British Library. Name Authority List. London, England.
BNQ
Bibliothèque nationale de Québec. Fichiers d'autorité. Québec, Québec.
BRUENS
Bruens, Louis. 106 professionels de la peinture 1991. Ste-Agathe: La Palette, 1991.
BVAU
University of British Columbia - Library. Authorities. Vancouver, BC.
BVAVA
Vancouver Art Gallery - Library. Authorities. Vancouver, BC.
CC
Canada Council = Conseil des arts. Art Bank Catalogue = Catalogue de la banque des oeuvres d'art. Ottawa: The Council; Ottawa: Le conseil, 1972-
CCP
Maclennan, H. and M. Langford. Contemporary Canadian photography from the collection of the National Film Board. Edmonton: Hurtig, 1984.
CHENIER
Chénier, Louise. Ontario index of Canadian artists. S.l.: Chénier, 1974.
CHIN
Canadian Heritage Information Network. National Humanities Database. Ottawa: Dept. of Communications, 1981-
CREAT
Creative Canada: a biographical dictionary of twentieth century creative and performing artists. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1971-
DEVON
Devonshire-Baker, Suzanne. Artists of Alberta. Edmonton: University of Alberta. c. 1980.
DOC
Dictionary of Canadian biography. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, c. 1966-
HARPER
Harper, J. Russell. Early painters and engravers in Canada. Toronto: U.T.P. c. 1970.
INU
Biographies of Inuit artists. Ottawa: Canadian Arctic Producers Cooperative, 1981-
IOA
Québec (Province). Ministère des Affaires culturelles. Inventaire des oeuvres d'art. Québec: Le Ministère, c. 1986.
KAREL
Karel, David. Dictionnaire des artistes de langue française en Amérique du nord. Québec: Musée du Québec, c. 1992.
KOBA
Kobayashi, Terry and Michael Bird. A compendium of Canadian folk artists. Erin: Boston Mills, 1985.
LANGDON
Langdon, John E. Canadian silversmiths, 1700- 1900. Toronto: 1966.
LC
Library of Congress. Name Authorities. Washington, D.C.
LEMIEUX
Lemieux, Irenée. Artistes du Québec. Québec: Lemieux, c. 1974-
MACDONALD
MacDonald, Colin. A Dictionary of Canadian artists. Ottawa: Canadian Paperbacks, 1967-.
MacLAREN
"Appendix A, An alphabetical list of cabinet makers in Nova Scotia" IN MacLaren, George, Antique furniture by Nova Scotian craftsmen. Toronto: McGraw Hill, 1975.
MAN
Art Gallery of Winnipeg. 150 Years of Art in Manitoba. Winnipeg: The Gallery, 1970.
MATT
Mattison, David. Camera workers: the British Columbia photographers directory, 1858-1900. Victoria: Camera Workers Press, 1985.
McKENDRY
McKendry, Blake. A Dictionary of folk artists in Canada. Eglinburg: Blake McKendry Ltd., c. 1988.
MMFA
McMann, Evelyn. Montréal Museum of Fine Arts formerly Art Association of Montréal Spring Exhibitions 1880-1970. Toronto: U.T.P., c. 1991.
MTA
Mount Allison University Library. Authorities. Sackville, NB.
MUS35
Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal. Les moins de 35. Montréal: [Mediart], 1973.
NLC
National Library of Canada. Canadiana Authorities. Ottawa, ON.
OLIV
Olivier, Réjean. Dictionnaire biographique des créateurs de la région de Joliette. Québec: Ministère des Affaires culturelles, [1975].
OTAG
Art Gallery of Ontario - Library. Authorities. Toronto, ON.
PALARDY
"List of master-woodworkers, woodworkers and carvers" IN Jean Palardy. The early furniture of French Canada. Toronto: MacMillan, 1971.
PHIL
Phillips, Glen C. The Ontario photographers list 1851- 1900. Sarnia, ON: Iron Gate, 1990.
RCA
McMann, Evelyn. Royal Canadian Academy of Arts: exhibitions and members 1880-1979 = Académie royale des arts du Canada: expositions et membres 1880-1979. Toronto: U.T.P., 1981.
ROBERT
Robert, Guy. Cent vingt du Cercle des artistes peintres du Québec. Montréal: Iconia, 1989.
SASK
Newman, Marketa. Biographical dictionary of Saskatchewan artists: women artists. Saskatoon: Fifth House, c. 1990.
TIP
Tippett, Maria. By a Lady : Celebrating Three Centuries of Art by Canadian Women. Toronto: Viking, 1992.
TREP100
Trépanier, Jean. 100 peintres du Québec. Montréal: Hurtubise, 1980.
TREP103
Trépanier, Jean. 103 peintres du Québec. Grand'Mère: L'auteur, 1984.
VALLEE
Guide Vallée. Ste-Foy: Charles-Huot, 1993/94
WHO
Who was who in American Art. Guildford, Conn.: Sound View Press, 1985.
WOLFF
Wolff, Hennie, ed. The Index of Ontario artists. Toronto: Visual Arts Ontario, 1978.