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 Robert Burns Hedrick  (1930 - )

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Lived/Active: Ontario / Canada      Known for: non objective painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, teaching

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Robert Burns Hedrick RCA (1930)

"Few current painters, in Canada or elsewhere, approach non-objective art as a severe discipline, to be practiced in terms of steady contemplation, cautious experimentation, and strict adherence to a set of formal standards. Robert Hedrick, of Toronto is one of them?" (1)

A prominent Canadian painter, draftsman, sculptor, printmaker and educator, Robert Burns Hedrick was born in Windsor, Ontario and has been living in Toronto, Ontario since the early 1950s. His works are collected by many major Canadian museums.

His mediums include oil, acrylic, watercolor, gouache*, pastel, ink, collage*, lithography*, stencil, serigraph*, bronze, aluminum, welded steel, clay, plaster, paper, balsawood, carved wood, lacquered wood, and installation*. His subjects are figures, nudes, heads, organic shapes, landscapes, still life, flowers and pure abstraction - shape, color and texture. His styles include Abstract Expressionism*, Geometric Abstraction*, Hard Edge Painting*, Color Field Painting*, Minimalism* and Op Art*. AskART images have some excellent illustrations of his work. The paintings titled Altitude and Enroute show his most well known early painting style, and the sculpture Pair of Candlesticks was one of two of his bronzes included in the National Gallery of Canada's  Canadian centennial exhibition "Three Hundred Years of Canadian Art". (2)

He is usually described as having no formal art training in his early years; however, he did attend Beal Technical School, London, Ontario (c.1950), and studied art there under Herb Ariss. In 1953 Hedrick received a scholarship to attend the Instituto Allende*, San Miguel, Mexico, where he studied under James Pinto and Rico Lebrun (1953, 1954 and 1956 - 1957). Hedrick also traveled to Ibiza, Spain, on a Canada Council* grant, in 1962  and he visited Spain again in 1969. (3) (4)

His teaching career includes positions at the New School of Art [Three Schools of Art*], Toronto (1965 - 1969 and 1974 - 1977); the Ontario College of Art*, Toronto (1965 - 1966 and c. 1983 - 1988+); and Arts' Sake, Toronto (1977).

Hedrick exhibited with the Ontario Society of Artists* (1955, 1963 and 1964) and the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts* (1963 and 1964). His works were included in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Spring Exhibitions (1960 - 1968); the Third (1959), Fourth (1961), and Fifth (1963) Biennial exhibitions of Canadian Painting organized by the National Gallery of Canada; and the Third Paris Biennial Exhibition, France (1963). They were included in "Five Canadians", Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (1961); "Toronto '61", Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Quebec (1962); "Arts of Canada", Wayne State University, Detroit (1963); "Sculpture '67", Toronto City Hall (1967); "Three Hundred Years Of Canadian Art", National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (1967); and "Toronto Painting: 1953 - 1965", National Gallery of Canada (1972).

His works have also been included in solo and group exhibitions at prominent commercial galleries such as The Picture Loan Society*, Toronto; The Gallery of Contemporary Art, Toronto; The Isaacs Gallery, Toronto; Dorothy Cameron Gallery, Toronto; Koffler Gallery, Toronto; and Jerrold Morris Gallery, Toronto.

According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network* and individual museum websites, Hedrick's works are in the permanent collections of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Kingston, Ontario), Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (B.C.), Art Gallery of Hamilton (Ontario), Art Gallery of Mississauga (Ontario),  Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Halifax), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Art Gallery of Windsor (Ontario), Carleton University Art Gallery (Ottawa, Ontario), Dalhousie Art Gallery (Halifax, Nova Scotia), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, D.C.), Mackenzie Art Gallery (Regina, Saskatchewan), Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan), Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art (Quebec), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec), Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (Toronto, Ontario), Museum London (Ontario), Owens Art Gallery (Sackville, N.B.), Quebec Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec City), Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa, Ontario), The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery (St. John's, NFLD), University of Lethbridge Art Gallery (Lethbridge, Alberta), Vancouver Art Gallery (B.C.), Winnipeg Art Gallery (Manitoba) and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa). (5)

His honors and awards include three Canada Council* grants (1962, 1967 and 1975) and election to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts* (1972). (6)


(1) Source: Robert Fulford (1961), page 227, Documents in Canadian Art (1987), edited by Douglas Fetherling (see AskART book references).

(2) To view an illustrated timeline of Hedrick's paintings and sculpture see The Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art* website -

(3) Please note: All artists mentioned in this biography and its footnotes have their own records in AskART.

(4) Iris Nowell, page 213 Painters Eleven: The Wild Ones of Canadian Art (see AskART book references), notes that Hedrick was among Jock Macdonald's students, however she doesn't say where. Macdonald taught night school and at the Ontario College of Art* from 1947 to 1960; we could not locate a source that indicates Hedrick attended the OCA in that period, so he may have studied under Macdonald at night school.

(5) Please note: The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction and The Index of Ontario Artists include the Museum of Modern Art, New York as a collector of Hedrick's work; however, while we do not dispute it, we could not confirm it on the MOMA website. As stated, all the museums listed as Hedrick collectors have been independently confirmed online.

(6) Please note: Passionate Spirits: A History of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, 1880 - 1980 states Hedrick's election to the RCA was in 1972 and Royal Canadian Academy of Arts: Exhibitions and Members, 1880 - 1979 states Hedrick's election to the RCA was in 1973. Unfortunately, the RCA website doesn't help as it only confirms membership not the year members were elected; so, the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts was contacted  (email July 4, 2013) and they confirmed (email July 5, 2013) the correct date is 1972.

Painters Eleven: The Wild Ones of Canadian Art (2010), by Iris Nowell (see AskART book references)

Biographical Index of Artists in Canada (2003), by Evelyn de Rostaing McMann (see AskART book references)

The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction (2001), by Anthony R. Westbridge and Diana L. Bodnar (see AskART book references)

A to Z of Canadian Art: artists & art terms (1997), by Blake McKendry (see AskART book references)

Art and Architecture in Canada (1991), by Loren R. Lerner and Mary F. Williamson (see AskART book references)

Catalogue of the National Gallery of Canada Ottawa: Canadian Art Volume Two G - K (1988), general editors Charles C. Hill and Pierre B. Landry (see AskART book references)

A Concise History of Canadian Painting, Second Edition (1988), by Dennis Reid (see AskART book references)

Documents in Canadian Art (1987), edited by Douglas Fetherling (see AskART book references)

Contemporary Canadian Art (1983), by David Burnett and Marilyn Schiff (see AskART book references)

Visions - Contemporary Art in Canada (1983), edited by Robert Bringhurst, et al. (see AskART book references)

Royal Canadian Academy of Arts: Exhibitions and Members, 1880 - 1979 (1981), by Evelyn de R. McMann (see AskART book references)

Passionate Spirits: A History of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, 1880 - 1980 (1980), by Rebecca Sisler (see AskART book references)

The Index of Ontario Artists (1978), edited by Hennie Wolff (see AskART book references)

A Concise History of Canadian Painting (1973), by Dennis Reid (see AskART book references)

Four Decades: The Canadian Group of Painters and their contemporaries - 1930 - 1970 (1972), by Paul Duval (see AskART book references)

Art Gallery of Ontario - The Canadian Collection (1970), by Helen Pepall Bradfield (see AskART book references)

A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume Two, G - Jackson (1970), by Colin S. MacDonald (see AskART book references)

Agnes Etherington Art Centre (1968), by Frances K. Smith (see AskART book references)

Sculpture 67" (1968), by Dorothy Cameron and Don Wallace (see AskART book references)

Three Hundred Years of Canadian Art (1967), by R.H. Hubbard and J.R. Ostiguy (see AskART book references)

Canadian Heritage Information Network*

Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art* (OSA and illustrations)

Laura Hayward, Office Manager, Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (email July 5, 2013)

Written and submitted by M.D. Silverbrooke

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at
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