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 Prudence (Efa Prudence) Heward  (1896 - 1947)



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

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
Girl in Yellow Sweater, oil on canvas, 46" x 48", dated 1936
Collection of the National Gallery of Canada
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Prudence Heward (AKA: Efa Prudence Heward) was a painter.  She was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and, except for travel and during World War I, lived there all her life.  She died while visiting Los Angeles, California (1).
Her mediums were primarily oil on canvas and oil on plywood.  Works in other mediums are rare.  Her subjects are landscapes, still life, nudes, portraits and figures in landscape.  The locations of the landscapes are mostly around her family’s summer home in Fernbank, Ontario (220 miles west of Montreal on the St. Lawrence River); however there are also paintings from rural locations in south-eastern Quebec and from her travels (see below).  She is perhaps most famous for her portraits, mostly of women; however, while there are many in museums, they rarely come up for auction.  The last portrait recorded sold at auction (that the author could find) was in 1998.  Most of the works usually available (at auction) are landscapes and still life.

Her styles were Fauvism*, Realism* and Plein Air*.  Her figure paintings are simple realistic outlined shapes executed in rich colours, usually set in a fauvist or stylized landscape.  The landscape paintings are usually Fauvist or Plein Air.
Quote: "Whether one styles her work as modern or not is of little moment – it is characterized by draughtsmanship of a high order, with spaces generously filled. " -  A.Y. Jackson (see AskART).
Quote: “I think that of all the arts in Canada painting shows more vitality and has a stronger Canadian feeling… there is more interest shown in figure painting than previously and I hope we shall develop something interesting and Canadian in feeling, yet universal, modern, yet timeless.” - Prudence Heward (c. 1942)
Her formal art education consisted of studies at the Art Association of Montreal (2) with William Brymner, before and after World War I (c.1910 - 1916 and 1918 - 1920); private studies (c.1918 - 1920) with Randolph Hewton and Maurice Cullen (see all teachers in AskART); the Académie Colarossi*, Paris (1925 - 1926) with Charles Guérin (See AskART) and Bernard Naudin (1976 - 1946) ; and at the Academie Scandinave, Paris (1929) (3).
In addition to her travels for study or during the war, she also visited Florence and Venice Italy with Isabel McLaughlin (c.1929) and Bermuda (c.1939).
The associations she belonged to included the Canadian Group of Painters* (1933) of which she was a founding member and its Vice President (1935).  She was also a founding member of the Contemporary Arts Society* (1939), and of the Federation of Canadian Artists (1941), and a member of the informal group of women artists known as the Beaver Hall Group*.  She served with the Red Cross in England from 1916 for the duration of World War I.
In addition to exhibiting with the above artist organizations, she exhibited with the Art Association of Montreal (1914 - 1924 and 1939 - 1945) and with the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (1924 - 1936).  Her works were also included in the “British Empire Exhibition”, London, (1925); the “Exposition d’art Canadien” at the Musée du Jeu de Paume, Paris (1927); with the Group of Seven* in 1928 and 1931; in the American Federation of Arts* exhibition of “Canadian Paintings”, which toured the U.S.A. in 1930; and she was grouped with Anne Savage, Ethel Seath and Sarah Robertson (see all in AskART) for a show at the Art Gallery of Toronto (4) in 1940.
Posthumously, her works have been included in several Canadian landmark exhibitions including “Fifty Years of Painting in Canada” (Art Gallery of Toronto - 1949), “Canada on Canvas”  (Art Gallery of Ontario - 1963), “The Beaver Hall Group” (National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa - 1966), “Canadian Paintings of the 1930s” (Art Gallery of Ontario - 1967), “Canadian Painting in the 30s” (National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa - 1975), “From Women's Eyes: Women Painters in Canada” (Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston, Ontario - 1975), “ Visions and Victories: 10 Canadian Women Artists 1914 -1945” (Museum London, Ontario - 1983), ”Pilgrims in the Wilderness: The Struggle of the Canadian Group of Painters (1933-1969)” (The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario - 1993), “The Group of Seven – Art For A Nation” (National Gallery of Canada - 1995)  and “Through An-Other's Eyes: White Canadian Artists - Black Female Subjects” (The Robert McLaughlin Gallery - 1998). Currently (2009), her work is included in “The Nude in Modern Canadian Art” showing at the Museum of Quebec, Quebec City October 28, 2009 to January 3, 2010 and at Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta February 13, 2010 to April 25, 2010.
Heward did not have many solo exhibitions in her life, the first and most noted was at Scott Gallery in Montreal in 1932.  Since her death there have been several shows that focused on her work.  In 1948 the National Gallery of Canada had a show titled “Prudence Heward, 1896 -1947 : Memorial Exhibition”; the Art Gallery of Windsor (Ontario) had “Prudence Heward and Friends” in 1979; the Walter Klinkhoff Gallery (Montreal) had a retrospective in 1980; and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre had “Expressions of Will : the Art of Prudence Heward” in 1986.
Her works are avidly collected. They are also in many public collections including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Montreal  Museum of Fine Arts, The Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Gallery of Hamilton (Ontario), the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Kingston, Ontario), the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (B.C.) and the Winnipeg Art Gallery (Manitoba). The National Gallery of Canada has 29 Hewards in its collection.  
Her awards include the National Gallery of Canada's first Willingdon Prize* for painting in 1929. (5)
(1) Heward's lifelong frail health was exacerbated by a car accident, in 1939, which left her with a broken arm and more seriously, injured her nose.  This had the effect of worsening her asthma.  Her condition deteriorated in the following years, and in the summer of 1945, she completed her last painting, Caladium.  Heward went to Los Angeles for medical treatment and died there on March 19, 1947.  Source: Reference and Information Services Division, Library and Archives Canada.
(2) In 1948 the AAM became the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
(3) The Academie Scandinave (AKA: Maison Watteau, AKA: the Scandinavian Academy) was an art school run by Swedish, Norwegian and Danish artists housed in the former studio of Jean Antoine Watteau (see AskART) in Paris.  It operated between 1922 and 1935 under the direction of sculptor Lena Borjeson (1879 - 1976).  Teachers at the school included Scandinavians like Otte Skold and Per Krohg and non Scandinavians like André Dunoyer de Segonzac, Charles Dufresne, Marcel Gromaire and Emile Othon Friesz (see all in AskART). Source: UMM Artist Information Portal.
(4) Since 1966, the Art Gallery of Ontario.
(5) Governor General and Lady Willingdon instituted the Willingdon Arts Competition in music, literature, painting and sculpture. The National Gallery of Canada conferred the visual arts awards from 1929 until 1931 when the Willingdons left Canada.  Other winners include George Pepper and Frederick Varley splitting the painting award in 1930, Pegi Nicol Macleod in 1931 and Emanuel Hahn for sculpture in 1930 (See all in AskART). Source:"The Group of Seven - Art for a Nation" (1995), by Charles C. Hill (see AskART Book references).   
* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary
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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