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 Emily Geraldine Coonan  (1885 - 1971)

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Lived/Active: Quebec / Canada      Known for: landscape, portrait, interior, still life and figure painting

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Still Life
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Emily Geraldine Coonan (AKA: Emily Coonan) was a painter.  She was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada where she lived her whole life and died.

Her mediums were primarily oil on canvas and oil on wood panel.  Works in other mediums would be very rare as there are none listed in the collections of Canadian museums by the Canadian Heritage Information Network*, and the author could fine none recorded sold at auction (using several sources) for at least fifteen years.  Her subjects were figures, portraits, interiors, still life and landscapes.  Her styles have been described as Post-Impressionism*, Modernism*, Impressionism* and Plein Air*.  The AskART image example Evelina is a masterpiece and an excellent illustration of her finest early work.

Her formal art education includes twice weekly classes, starting in 1898, at the Conseil des Arts et Manufactures, Montreal under Edmond Dyonnet**, Joseph-Charles Franchère**, Joseph St. Charles (1868-1956) and Charles Gill**; and classes at the Art Association of Montreal from 1905 to 1909 under William Brymner** (1).

Coonan’s travels include trips to Europe in 1912 and 1920.  The first trip was taken with Mabel May** and included visits to France, Belgium and Holland.  The second was a one year traveling scholarship awarded by the National Gallery of Canada (2).  It included stays in London, Paris, Venice, and Florence.

She was not a member of any artist associations; however, she is considered a member of the informal Beaver Hall Hill Group* of women artists that coalesced after the formal group, of the same name, disbanded in 1922.

She exhibited with the Art Association of Montreal (3) from 1908 to 1933 (with the exception of six years) and with the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts* from 1910 to 1930.  She also exhibited with the Group of Seven* in their 1923 “Modern Canadian Paintings” U.S.A. tour and was included in the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley, London, England in 1924. Although she continued to paint until she died, she stopped exhibiting in 1933.

Late in life and posthumously, her works have been included in several important Canadian exhibitions such as “The Beaver Hall Hill Group” at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (1966); “Canadian Painting in the 30s” at the National Gallery of Canada (1975); “The Women 1920 -1930” at the Museum of Quebec, Quebec City (1997); “The View From Here” at the Winnipeg Art Galley, Manitoba (2000); “The Birth of the Modern: Post-Impressionism in Canadian Art, 1900 - 1920” at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario (2001); and “Defining the Portrait” at the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University, Montreal (2001).

Galerie Walter Klinkhoff, Montreal also included her works in their exhibitions titled “The Beaver Hall Hill Group” in 1999 and “The Beaver Hall Group” in 2007.

In 1987 Concordia Art Gallery, Montreal had the solo exhibition titled “Emily Coonan, 1885 - 1971”; the monograph Emily Coonan 1885 - 1971 by Karen Antaki was published in conjunction with that show.

Her works are avidly collected. They are also in several Canadian museums including the Art Gallery of Hamilton (Ontario), the Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa, Ontario), the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery (Concordia University, Montreal), the Museum of Quebec (Quebec City), the Winnipeg Art Gallery (Manitoba), the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the National Gallery of Canada.



(1) In 1907 she won first prize at the annual student show at the AAM gallery for her painting "Eva and Daisy", a study of her sisters dressed for a costume ball. Source: Colin S. MacDonald (see Book References)

(2) She won it in 1913 but travel was postponed due to World War I.

(3) The AAM became the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 1948.

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary

** For more in-depth information about these artists see their pages in AskART.

Prepared and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke




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