Yvonne Mckague Housser was a painter and educator who was born in Toronto and lived there her whole life. Her mediums were oil, pastel, graphite, ink, watercolor, tempera and mixed mediums. Her subjects were landscapes, figures, portraits and abstracts. Her style was Canadian impressionism (much influenced by the Group of Seven*), representational, semi abstract and abstract expressionism.
She studied at the Ontario College of Art (OCA) from 1915 to 1918 under William Cruikshank, J. W. Beatty and Robert Holmes. She also studied in Paris, under Lucien Simon at the Academie Grande Chaumière*, at the Académie Colarossi*, and under Maurice Denis at the Académie Ranson*; at the University of Vienna, under Franz Cižek; in Taos, New Mexico, under Emil Bisttram; and in Provincetown, Massachusetts, with Hans Hofmann.
She taught at the Ontario College of Art from 1918 until 1946. She also taught at Ryerson Collegiate Institute and at the Doon School of Fine Arts. Her associates included Arthur Lismer, Isabel McLaughlin and Lawren Harris. She traveled in Europe in 1924, visiting England, France and Italy. Her travels also included the Rocky Mountains, Vermont, Mexico, Jamaica, Bermuda, and Trinidad.
She was a member of the Ontario Society of Artists (1927), the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts* (ARCA, 1942; RCA, 1951), the Canadian Group of Painters* (founding member, 1933), the Federation of Canadian Artists* (founding member, 1941) and the Heliconian Club*.
She first exhibited her work in 1923 with the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, and in 1927 was included in the Annual Exhibition of Canadian Art at the National Gallery of Canada. Beginning in 1928, she participated in three Group of Seven shows. She has been in numerous national and international exhibitions including shows at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and exhibiting with the RCA until 1967.
Her work is avidly collected. It is in numerous private, corporate and public collections. Some of the public collections are: the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Hart House, the Art Gallery of Hamilton and the McMichael Canadian Collection, Kleinburg.
Among her awards, she was made an Honorary Fellow of the Ontario College of Art in 1981, and member of the Order of Canada in 1984. In 1965 she received the Baxter Purchase Award at the Ontario Society of Artists' 47th exhibition.
As a prominent Canadian artist her work is discussed in many books about Canadian art history, there are also numerous magazine and newspaper articles. She is listed in A Dictionary of Canadian Artists (1974), by Colin S. Mac Donald, published by Canadian Paperbacks Ltd. (8 volumes); also in The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction (2001), by Anthony R. Westbridge and Diana L. Bodnar, published by Westbridge Publications Ltd. (4 volumes); and in Jaques Cattell Press, Who's Who in American Art 15th Edition (1982), published by R.R.Bowker Co. total pages 1204. Her work is also discussed and illustrated in Four Decades (1972) by Paul Duval, published by Clark Irwin & Co. Ltd. (191 pgs, color); in Art Gallery of Ontario – the Canadian Collection, published by McGraw-Hill Co. of Canada Ltd. (603 pgs, B&W); in By A Lady - Celebrating Three Centuries of Art by Canadian Women (1992) by Maria Tippett, published by Penguin Books Canada Ltd. (226 pages, colour and B&W); and in THE GROUP OF SEVEN (1995) by Charles C. Hill, Published by The National Gallery of Canada (374 pgs, color and B&W).
Prepared and contributed by M.D, Silverbrooke
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