BRITISH COLUMBIA ARTISTS  

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

"As the economics of publishing become harder, works of this magnitude are likely to become impossible without a degree of patronage."
Introduction, Dictionary of British Artists 1880 - 1940, published 1976

This project could not have come into being without the help of a great many people. Firstly, I would like to thank all of the pioneer artists of British Columbia. Without them there would be no art history to write about, no biographies, no exhibitions, and no societies to put on such exhibitions. The work of these early artists has become a visual record of our history, and a very important part of it. This project is a way to honor and remember them.

This project grew out of my extended research project "Looking For Maud", started in 1996. That project - a narrative non-fiction account of my biographical research into the life of B.C. artist Maud Rees Sherman (1900-1976) - continues, somewhat in parallel with B.C. Artists. Information gleaned from one project often adds to the other.

Many people have been helpful to me during my work, freely giving me their time and their stories, pointing out avenues of research, giving ideas and suggestions to help me along, and loaning or donating to me large amounts of primary research material that added factual information and colour to the project. The following is a compilation of thanks to some of those people, there are many more.

DONORS Dr. Yosef Wosk (Vancouver)
Dr. Charles Christie Hill (Ottawa ON)
Ms. Carol Sawyer (Vancouver)

Yosef Wosk and Charlie Hill were both early supporters of my project, purchasing copies and upgrades as they became available. They also donated money to BC Artists as soon as they heard that the project had been made available on the Internet for free public access. Vancouver artist Carol Sawyer came by for a long interview in preparation for her solo Brettschneider exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery, and gave me an honorarium from her grant by way of thanks.

We welcome further donations to BC Artists, although we cannot provide a tax receipt.


Michael Clark
(deceased)
One of my earliest connections in this research was Michael Clark, then the Circulation Manager & Archivist at Emily Carr University. The ECU collection of early art school ephemera included copies of The Paint Box that contained artworks and articles by Maud Sherman, who was a founding student at the school in 1925. Michael helped me with research for years until his health failed.
Mrs. Joan Dendys
(deceased)
Especially important in getting me off to a good start was the late Mrs. Joan Dendys, an old friend and neighbour of the Sherman family. In addition to having me over for long afternoon teas talking about the 30s and 40s, she unexpectedly donated a large collection of early Vancouver artwork to me, affording me an in-depth look at many historic drawings, paintings, cards, and associated pieces of ephemera.
Mrs. Joan Lindsay
(deceased)
Joan Lindsay was a cousin of Maud Sherman's. I was able to get in touch with her after Gladys Bloomfield told me about her. It turned out that Joan lived only 3 blocks away from me, but was reluctant to meet. I interviewed her on the telephone, and she mailed me a number of Sherman family photographs that she had in her collection. She also said that she had some small painted wood sculptures by Maud Sherman, but couldn't find them.
Mrs. Gladys Bloomfield
(deceased)
Joan Dendys put me in touch with Gladys Bloomfield. Gladys had been a long-time neighbour of the Sherman family on Savary Island, although I knew nothing of this at the time. I talked to Gladys on the phone, and visited her Richmond apartment, giving her a cerlox-bound draft of my book Looking For Maud by way of thanks. She didn't tell me that she had collected a vast amount of information on Savary Island as research material for writing a book. Unfortunately, her health failed and she left all of her work to the Savary Island Heritage Society on the condition that they would finish the book. It was published in 2005 as Magnetic Isle - Gladys Bloomfield's Savary.
Conde Landale Landale is President of the Savary Island Heritage Society. He phoned me one day about 18 years ago, asking if I was "the Gary Sim who wrote Looking for Maud ...?" That was a surprise, as the book has still not been published. It turned out that Gladys Bloomfield had given the SIHS my draft of the book along with all of the other material she had collected about Savary Island. Landale and I arranged to go through that material together, and we found dozens of Sherman family photographs that Gladys had borrowed from Maud Sherman's niece June. Eventually, Landale hosted my visits to Savary Island, where I saw the original Sherman family cottage (since demolished), the Bloomfield cottage, Sherman Walk, and numerous locations where Maud had drawn or painted on the island.
Daryl Duke
(deceased)
Daryl Duke was the son of Maud Sherman's cousin Winnifred Shearman. Daryl was a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences (the Oscars), a movie director and producer, and an important player in the development of television on the west coast. He proved to be difficult to get hold of, but finally we were in contact and he was highly supportive of my research on Maud Sherman. I was invited over for dinner, where he showed me a number of Maud's and her father's paintings. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2006 before I was able to show him how far I have come in my research. I was able to give him a 1902 studio portrait of his grandfather, some Maud Sherman artwork, and a couple of books by Maud's father R.S. Sherman.
Cheryl Siegel
Lynn Brockington
Jane Devine Mejia
Joanna Spurling
A special thank you is due to the Vancouver Art Gallery Library & Archives, particularly Cheryl Siegel and Lynn Brockington, the Gallery Librarians who helped me a great deal in the early days of my research there. Cheryl wrote an early review of Art & Artists in Exhibition: Vancouver 1890 - 1950, the previous version of this project, that was published in B.C. History, the journal of the B.C. Historical Federation. She also nominated my work for the Melva J. Dwyer Award. Cheryl has retired after 30 years of service, and Lynn moved on to work at the West Vancouver Memorial Library. Since then Jane Devine Mejia has taken over as Chief Librarian, with Joanna Spurling continuing to work as the library technician and cataloguer.

Much of the information compiled here has been provided by the Vancouver Art Gallery Library & Archives, including records of Gallery exhibitions and activities, continuously compiled since their foundation in 1931. The majority of transcribed BCSFA and BC ARTISTS catalogues are from their collection, as well as all the VAG exhibition records from 1931 to 1950, which include all shows hosted by them for other groups such as PASOVAS and the VSDAA/VSA during that time, as well as hundreds of solo artist exhibitions. The Library & Archives have also provided research access to their large collection of Canadian artist files.

December 2021 update: The Chief Librarian has left the Library and gone to UBC, the Library is now closed to the public indefinitely. I received a ninetieth anniversary pencil as a gift on my last visit there in November.

Ellen Poole Ellen was a long-standing volunteer for the Federation of Canadian Artists. She was also the chapter's historian, and worked continuously to put together all the documents that she could find relating to the organization.
Neil Wilton
Dr. Patrick Dunae
Dr. Anthony Rogers
Dr. Jean Barman
My old friend Neil Wilton, formerly of the Heritage Conservation Branch in Victoria, was supportive of my early research efforts. He put me in touch with other people who were interested in my line of research. This included Patrick Dunae, who enthusiastically has hosted some of my articles on his website for years. He put me in touch with Tony Rogers, who had moved to Australia. After emails back and forth, he began sending me envelopes stuffed with early art education material as well as a large amount of material on W.P.Weston, to help clear off his desk as he prepared for retirement. The Weston material included photocopies of his clippings file, his exhibition records, and his correspondence file, as well as original photographs and greeting cards.
Charles C. Hill
Murray Waddington
  (deceased)
Jo Beglo
Cyndie Campbell
Rosemary Tovell
I have had a relationship with the National Gallery of Canada since the late 1990s. I first met Charlie Hill at a bookstore, where I had just beaten him to a collection of early art school ephemera. Eventually, most of that ended up as a donation to the NGC Library & Archives, the first of a long series of donations. In 2005 the Gallery put me on their new 125 Years of Donors wall, and in 2018 produced a bibliographic exhibition based on my donations titled BC Artists - the Gary Sim Donation, which was accompanied by exhibition catalogues and a website. Their staff has been very supportive and helpful throughout the years.
Dr. Kristina Huneault Dr. Huneault is a Professor at Concordia University, Montreal, who is interested in women's art history. She founded the Canadian Women's Art History Initiative there in 2008. I gave a lecture at their inaugural conference in Montreal.
Carillon Books
Criterion Books
pulpfiction books
Stephen Lunsford
Murdoch's Bookshoppe
Much of the material acquired for my projects has come from local second-hand book stores. I started with George Carroll's Carillon Books, then located in a storefront on Howe Street. I got to know Lance McCaughran at Criterion Books on Pender, now closed, and spent much time gossiping with him while rummaging around the store. Chris Brayshaw at pulpfiction acquired much of the Doris and Jack Shadbolt library, and I purchased a stack of exhibition catalogues about two feet high. Stephen Lunsford found a number of copies of School Days magazine, which he practically gave to me. He also had a collection of the Museum's journal, some of which were ex libris of John Davidson, the first Provincial Botanist. Brian Murdoch has come up with some interesting items over the years from his store in Mission.
Renee Alexander Renee got in touch with me one day, wondering if I had enough information about her father Robert Samuel Alexander. I didn't, so I visited her, and discovered that not only did she have a great collection of ephemera related to her father, but also that he had collected a large number of early art school Prospectii, now quite rare. Renee and I visited HMCS Discovery together to see her father's WWII mural there.

Update: Renee and I kept in touch, and in 2020 she donated to me a large collection of ephemera from her parents' collection. It was an honour to be the recipient of all of that history, and I managed to find a more permanent home for the collection at the Emily Carr University Library and Archives.
Mary Gray In Summer 2020 I was invited to meet a daughter of Robert Samuel Alexander, who had a folio of material known as The Savary Pudding, that had been kept by her mother. At the end of the meeting she insisted on giving me the entire folio of 54 artworks. Since then I have catalogued, indexed, photographed, and partially transcribed them on the BC ARTIST website. I arranged to donate them to the University of Victoria Library & Archives. It was an honour to be the recipient of all of that history, if only for a short while.
Robert Amos Robert wrote a very nice review of BC Artists for the Times-Colonist newspaper in Victoria. He is also an artist and writer, and has produced books on E.J. Hughes and Harold Mortimer-Lamb. Refer also to his website: Robert Amos.
Pnina Granirer Pnina is a senior BC artist, and a founder of the ongoing Artists in Our Midst annual studio visit program. She has donated a number of books, exhibition catalogues, posters, and some ephemera for addition to BC ARTISTS. These include some international exhibition catalogues that would otherwise be impossible to find, and a number of her solo exhibition catalogues. Refer also to her website: Pnina Granirer.
Sheryl Salloum Sheryl is a Vancouver writer who nominated me for the B.C. Historical Society's Certificate of Merit, which I was awarded in 2014. Sheryl has written books on John Vanderpant, Mildred Valley Thornton, and Sonia Cornwall.
Jacques Barbeau
(deceased 2020)
Jacques was the first major collector of the work of E.J. Hughes, and built up a fabulous collecting of paintings. He also had at least two books on Hughes written and published. He invited me over to his house, where I traded a copy of BC ARTISTS for one of his books.
The Alcuin Society I have been a member of the Alcuin Society for quite a few years. The goup has supported the arts in numerous ways, including the bi-annual WAYZGOOSE letterpress printing fair, hosting the annual ALCUIN AWARDS for Canadian book design, and publishing numerous articles on or about art in their journal AMPHORA. A BC artist is often selected to be a feature artist in an issue. Their blog has included a number of articles about Sim Publishing, Railway Rock Gang, BC Artists, and other events like the bibliographic exhibition at the National Gallery.
Bau-Xi Gallery I dropped by this gallery one day to talk about BC Artists, and the gallery staff promptly gave me a pile of the gallery's exhibition catalogues.
Judith Copithorne Judith is a Vancouver artist and poet. She had a large collection of material from the estate of Alec Dalgleish, a relative who attended the first and second years at the B.C. College of Arts.
Mrs. Dulcie MacDonald
Dr. David Hardwick
Mrs. Jean Hardwick
Mrs. Violet Kinnear
Richard Mackie
Randall Faulkner Smith
John Surridge
Walter Volovsek
Thank you to numerous people related to or interested in BC artists for their support and information: Dulcie for information and photographs of her daughter Laurencia Herchmer; the Hardwicks for information about their family, part of my research into the life of artist Maud Rees Sherman; Violet for an interview and photographs related to Ione Macdonald and Maud Rees Sherman; Richard Mackie for information about Patrick de Fylton Mackie; Randall Smith for loaning me a fabulous collection of material about his grandfather Harold Thomas Faulkner Smith and his grandfather's art school the H.F. Smith Academy of Art; John Surridge for photographs by his father; and Walter Volovsek for photographs and information relating to Lilette Mahon, her husband Edward, and astronomer Thomas S.H. Shearman.
Mona Fertig
Salt Spring Island
Mona founded Mother Tongue Publishing, and, along with many other books of poetry and writing, published 10 books in the Unheralded Artists of B.C. series. That was an amazing amount of work, for which I was able to assist from time to time with fact-checking, fund-raising, and proof-reading. Solo artists in the series who have BC Artist biographies are: George Fertig, Mary Filer, Edith Hembroff-Schleicher, David Marshall, Arthur Pitts, Mildred Valley Thornton, and Ina D.D. Uhthoff. The others are Jack Akroyd, Frank Molnar, Jack Hardman, Leroy Jensen, and the couple Harry & Jessie Webb.
Bill Jeffries
Chris Brayshaw
Bob MacIntyre
Robert Sherrin
Nicholas Tuele
Allan Collier
Thanks to numerous Curators who have given me copies of their exhibition catalogues, many of which are otherwise impossible to find.
Unity Bainbridge
Jane Clark
Famous Empty Sky
Jaleen Grove
Michael Kluckner
Lawrence Lowe
David Marshall
Gordon Munro
George Norris
Chick Rice
Peter Sickert
Gregg Simpson
John Steil
Ed Varney
Along the way I have met numerous artists, and many of them are as interested in local art history as I am. Empty Sky helped with exhibition catalogues by Avenue for/des Arts (AVA); Jaleen created a huge Wiki for Canadian illustrators; Michael is well known as an artist, writer, and President of groups like the Vancouver Historical Society (and invited me to lecture to the Society on early art history in Vancouver); Lawrence provided numerous ECU graduation catalogues; Peter loaned me some very hard-to-find B.C. Festival of the Arts catalogues; John co-wrote Angels Among Lions, a reference book on the public art in Vancouver; Ed has a massive collection of material on BC artists, and recently sent me a 3-page list of exhibitions that he has curated.
Glenn Woodsworth Glenn runs Tricouni Press, which has published a number of interesting books. He is also the B.C. Mountaineering Club's Archivist, and has been very helpful with information on Ruiter Stinson Sherman.
Stephen Clifford, Victoria I was looking on the Internet a few years ago for information about the Sherman / Shearman family, and got a "hit" from a website blog titled "Doing Our Bit." There were photographs posted of Maud Sherman's cousins in uniform, including Thomas Shearman who died in World War One. I emailed Stephen and sent some information about the family. He scanned and sent back a number of lovely early Shearman family photographs. He had acquired them from an estate sale in Victoria, and only purchased them because he likes to track down information on people in uniform.

They included some early photographs of Maud herself, and her cousin Winnifred, Daryl Duke's mother. One 1890s family photo from Ontario included Maud's father Ruiter Stinson Sherman and her mother, Nelda Sage, as well as her grandparents. Other pictures included her cousin Arther Evans Shearman in a Seaforth Highlanders uniform, and in an earlier Vancouver High School Rifle Corps uniform. Fabulous bits of family history, luckily preserved, and thankfully shared!

IL MUSEO
Italian Cultural Centre, Vancouver
Angela Clarke, Ph.D. is the Museum Curator at Il Museo, part of the Italian Cultural Centre Society at 3075 Slocan Street in East Vancouver. In 2021 I found out that she was curating a series of exhibitions in honour of the 150th anniverary of the birth of sculptor Charles Marega. I arranged to meet her at the gallery, and expressed my interest in acquiring any exhibition catalogues that were available. I was very pleasantly surprised when she gave me a binder full of publications from the gallery that had been published since 2015. There were a dozen group and solo exhibition catalogues, and quite a few club cards and invitations. I was able to make a lot of updates to BC ARTISTS, including adding seventy "new" artists to the project. In particular, a catalogue for Leslie Poole included an extensive list of his solo and group exhbitions. Using that as a checklist, I added dozens of exhibition listings in different galleries and two or three "new" galleries to the Great Vancouver Art Galleries page.
TOUCHSTONES NELSON
Museum of Art & History
The Touchstones Nelson Museum got in touch with me in 2020, after I posted BC ARTISTS on-line. They noted that a number of Kootenay area artists were not represented in BC ARTISTS, and suggested that a summer intern could work with me to expand the available references. This worked out, and they also donated eight publications for the BC ARTISTS library. As expected, over 60 "new" artists were identified and added to the artist index.
Admiral Seymour School, Vancouver I contacted the staff at this early elementary school, after I found out that Ruiter Stinson Sherman was Principal of the school from 1907 to 1932. Marjorie Lam was very helpful. It turned out that they were working on a 100th Anniversary project for the school, which I got involved with. Unfortunately, one of the later Principals had cleaned up the basement and thrown out most of the school history, keeping only one box with some class photos, attendance and punishment reports, and a leather strap. I wrote an article on Sherman for their Anniversary publication.
Vancouver City Archives The City Archives are located on Kitsilano Point, somewhat hidden under a hill. I spent quite a bit of time there doing my early research for BC ARTISTS. Their collection includes the fonds of the Vancouver Art Association, the BC Art League, and the BC Society of Fine Arts. This was where I first saw copies of School Days magazine.
West Vancouver Museum & Archives I visited this facility in 2019 when I was doing research for my lecture at the Ferry Building Gallery. The Museum & Archives reside in the former residence of West Vancouver artist Gertrude Lawson, which is a lovely old stone house surrounded by gardens. Archivist Reto Tschan was very helpful, and showed me a collection of Lawson's original artwork. One painting titled "Morning on Mount Edith Cavell" had two framing labels that led to some interesting research, in particular a 1936 exhibition by Spencer's department store.
Research facilities not otherwise noted: Vancouver Public Library: Fine Arts
Vancouver Public Library: Periodicals
Vancouver Public Library: North-West Room
U.B.C. Library: Special Collections
U.B.C. Library: Education Department Rare Book Collection
Royal B.C. Museum & Archives
Paul Miniato, Powell River Paul emailed me one day in 2021 with information about artist Plato Cornelius von Ustinov. Paul shared a 1933 portrait of his father that von Ustinov painted.
Contemporary Art Gallery
Vancouver
The CAG was one of the sponsors for Michael Kluckner's conceptual graphic book LOWERING SIMON FRASER. 500 copies of the book were printed, all of which were made available for free to anyone who asked for one. I dropped into the gallery in October 2021 and picked up three copies. They still had lots more! While there, I got the staff interested in BC Artists, and they said that they will add it to a list of digital resources that they are compiling.
Jan Teofil Jasion, France Jan emailed me one day in 2021, letting me know that he had written a book on artist Marion Elizabeth Jack, title NEVER BE AFRAID TO DARE - The Story of 'General Jack'." I promptly found and ordered a copy on-line, and enjoyed reading it. Jack's time in Vancouver was just a small part of her amazing life.
Yolanda Olivotto, Victoria In January 2022 I got an email from Victoria, asking if I was interested in having some catalogues and artist information from the annual BC Festival of the Arts exhibitions, dating from 1999 to 2002. I promptly said "yes" and a week later received the material in the mail. BCFA exhibition catalogues have been very hard to find, and I still haven't seen all of them, so this was a very welcome gift. She said that she hadn't found an institution that wanted the information and was about to throw it all out, but found my website just in time. In addition to four exhibition catalogues, the highlight of the collection is a set of six 3-ring binders full of original artist statements and CV's submitted for the 1999, 2000, and 2001 exhibitions. Recording artist information is good, but rescuing it is better. I promptly listed the 2002 exhibition catalogue, and of the 146 artists in the show 62 were new to BC Artists. No artist will be left behind! The next work item will be to do an index of the artist binders, and glean information from the binders for addition to BC Artists.
West End Vancouver A few months ago I was doing some on-line research, and found a website written by Robert Moen about the history of the West End. A number of early Vancouver artists lived there (here) and he has done a huge amount of research on the residents, the buildings, and the history of the West End. It is a wonderful resource: https://westendvancouver.wordpress.com/.
Owners of BC ARTISTS Thank you to all of the people who purchased copies of BC Artists over the years, as well as the upgrades that I issued prior to posting the project on the internet for free access. Your support encouraged me to continue with the project and is greatly appreciated.
Jason Vanderhill Last but not least is the fabulous researcher Jason Vanderhill. He is keen on early Vancouver history (especially breweries) and contributes to various online blogs such as Illustrated Vancouver and Vancouver Was Awesome, using the tag "JMV" for his comments. His help was instrumental in completing some re-programming of BC Artists that was necessary in order to have the project function properly on-line. He also nabbed 14 boxes of books from the estate of Frank Molnar, and kindly donated a number of interesting items to me.

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