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Maud Rees Sherman
(incorrectly Maude, Shearman)

October 8 1900 - July 5 1976

B.C. Art League (Charter Member 1921)
Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts (Founding Student 1925)
Pioneer Art Students of Vancouver Art School (PASOVAS) (Founding Member)
Vancouver Art School Students Club (Founding Member)
Vancouver Art Gallery (Charter Member, 1932)
Federation of Canadian Artists (Founding Member 1941)
B.C. Society of Fine Arts (Member, Honorary Secretary 1947-1951)

Maud Rees Sherman was born in Mission City, B.C. in 1900, at the start of the new century, and died in North Vancouver, B.C. in 1976. Her father R.S. Sherman was a prominent Vancouver educator, naturalist, author, and artist. Maud did not attend grade school - it was not mandatory at that time, and perhaps her mother and father felt they could give her a better education at home.

In 1908 Maud first visited Savary Island, a place she would later illustrate in many watercolours and pen and ink drawings. In 1912 a painting of Maud and her father by MacAdam was exhibited in the B.C. Society of Fine Arts annual exhibition. In 1919 she began illustrating her father's nature stories published in School Days magazine. This was a small pamphlet published by the Vancouver School Board for use in elementary schools as a supplementary reader. Eventually Maud had over eighty of her pen and ink drawings published in the magazine, for a wide variety of topics.

Portrait of Maud Sherman (c1920, artist unknown)

In 1920 Maud received a prize for a landscape watercolor at the Vancouver Exhibition. Later that year she exhibited artwork in the 1920 Annual Exhibition of the B.C. Society of Fine Arts, held at the Vancouver School Board offices on Hamilton Street. This was the first time she showed work with the Society, and she would continue to exhibit with them for forty more years.

Port Alberni (c1920, watercolour)

In 1922 she and her father went on a sketching expedition led by Thomas Fripp. Maud and her father were charter members of the B.C. Art League when it formed in 1920. Maud was a member of the first class in the new Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts when it opened in 1925, and wrote a long article titled "Places To Sketch" in the first issue of "The Paint Box", the art school's annual. An example of her first year's artwork was also published in that Paint Box and again in the Prospectus for the 1926-1927 school year.

Admonition (c1920, pen & ink)

Another article by Maud, about taking design class from Fred Varley, was published in the second annual issue of The Paint Box. Maud was a founding member of PASOVAS, the Pioneer Students of Vancouver Art School. This was a group formed by those students who had attended the school in its first year and a half of its operation.

An undated published poem by Maud is currently in the collection of the Savary Island Heritage Society. The poem, titled "Vacation, British Columbia" is clearly about Savary Island ("long white beaches"), but it is not known why she would not "be getting any vacation this year...". Another poem, handwritten, is an undated love poem attributed to Maud Sherman, kept in a folder with the Vacation poem. It is not known to have been published, although it is quite possible that it was.

Maud Sherman painting near Second Beach (photographer probably R.S. Sherman)
(photograph courtesy Savary Island Heritage Society)

Although Maud attended the art school for its first four years, she did not graduate. It is said that she had been given the care of her niece June, born in 1920, after June's mother (Maud's sister-in-law) had returned to England without her. If so, this would have put Maud in the position of being like a young mother with a child, trying to go to school full-time, which might have made attendance difficult. It is also true that Maud did not really need to get a Diploma in order to make her career in art. In addition to her many illustrations published in School Days magazine, since 1925 she had been illustrating school books written by her father and others, published by J.M. Dent and Sons in Canada and England. These books became authorized texts in various provincial school systems, and widely distributed. She also illustrated a series called "Nature and Language Workbooks", exercise books for elementary school children, published by Dent.

untitled - mountain scene (May 29 1921, pencil)

Maud's father was one of the developers of Savary Island as a vacation resort in 1910, and she traveled there as early as 1908. She spent many summers on the island, and created a large number of paintings there. Maud exhibited her paintings extensively in Vancouver for over forty years, in both juried and open exhibitions. One of her paintings was selected from the juried Fifth B.C. Artists exhibition to go to an exhibition in Chilliwack. Others were selected for the All-Canadian Exhibition of 1932, and the B.C. Society of Fine Arts 40th and 50th Annual Retrospective exhibitions.

untitled - vase with flowers (undated, watercolour)

Although her classes under Varley had given her a good look at his bold style and new ways of painting, Maud continued to paint traditional landscapes, seascapes, and simple scenes around the home and neighbourhood, and from her travels around south-west British Columbia. Her flights of fancy extended to dinosaurs roaming around Kitsilano Point, and flowery meadows with larks singing and rainbows in the sky. Maud also carved and painted wooden jewellry for years, of such subjects as wolves, birds, and other animals.

Foul Bay (Victoria) (c1935, pen & ink, watercolour)

In 1931 Maud's father published an article on Savary Island in Museum and Art Notes. The article included a pen and ink drawing by Maud of an arbutus tree on the island. She showed work in the B.C. Artists Christmas exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1933.

untitled - Lions from Stanley Park (c1935, pen & ink, watercolour)

From at least 1933 to 1935 Maud had a studio in the West End of Vancouver, at 1087 Bute Street, in a house known as "Parakontas" (spelling varies) owned by Beatrice Lennie's grandfather. The large old West End house was divided up into a number of other studios. Other artists working there at that time included Fred Varley, Jock MacDonald, and Vera Weatherbie. It would have been a very exciting time to be in that studio, as those three artists were working at their new B.C. College of Arts Ltd. just a few blocks away on Georgia Street.

Esquimalt (c1930, watercolour)

During World War II the Shermans took a boarder into their house at 3642 Dundas Street - photographer Stuart Thomson. Maud's niece June had been hired as Thomson's assistant in 1939, and was later made his business partner. Thomson had arrived in Vancouver from Australia in 1910, and over the next fifty years took an estimated 50,000 pictures of Vancouver. Many of these pictures are on file at the Vancouver City Archives, the Vancouver Public Library North-West Room, and at the North Vancouver City Archives. A few of his personal photographs of the Sherman family at Christmas and New Year's parties remain in private collections.

untitled (undated, watercolour)

She was a founding member of the Federation of Canadian Artists in 1941, and donated artwork to their fundraising exhibition for the Canadian Red Cross at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1942.

Siwash Rock, Vancouver (1936, pen & ink, watercolour)

Sherman was on a list titled "Leading Vancouver Artists," provided to the Labour Arts Guild on April 10, 1946 by the Vancouver Art Gallery to assist in the Guild's call for entries to the second annual B.C. At Work exhibition.

untitled - downtown Vancouver (c1935, pen & ink, watercolour)

Maud remained active in the B.C. Society of Fine Arts almost until it closed in 1967, her own art-making brought to a halt just a few years earlier by a crippling disease that left her unable to hold a paintbrush. She died in 1976, in a care home in North Vancouver. She was cremated, but the disposition of those ashes is not known - Maud herself now having disappeared almost as completely as her history. She never married, had no known children, and both of her brother's children died without issue. That whole part of their family tree disappeared except for a few remaining family photographs, and the paintings and illustrations that are the heritage from Maud's sixty years of artistry in Vancouver and British Columbia.

The following information on exhibitions and biographical reference material on Maud Sherman has been compiled over a 12 year period, from a wide variety of sources. All of the artwork on this web page was donated to the author by the late Mrs. Joan Dendys, an old friend of the Sherman family, who acquired the artwork directly from Maud's niece June Sherman.

It is probable that Maud Sherman exhibited artwork in more exhibitions than are listed here, but all shows and artworks are listed for which information has been found. Interestingly, none of the named artworks have yet been located by the author. If you own a Maud Sherman artwork please get in touch.


2009 Nov. 16 - 2010 Jan. 10 Watercolours and Drawings Prittie Library, Burnaby
2005 March 21 - June 24 Places to Sketch (8 paintings) Daily Grind Cafe, Vancouver

1920 September 18 - 25 BCSFA 12th Annual Exhibition Port Alberni
Sunrise On Savary
1930 May 31 - June 14 BCSFA Spring Exhibition The Witch Tree
The Eagle's Nest
1930 Nov. 27 - Dec. 7 PASOVAS Art Club Exhibition Trout Pool, Phillips River
Mission Cliff Gardens, California
The Garden In Winter
Upcoast Fishing Stream
Dawn At Phillips River
Mouth of Phillips River
Suburbs In Winter
Sketch "Kitsilano Beach"
Sketch "Ambleside Slough"
Book Illustrations of Fish
Book Illustrations of Fish
Book Illustrations of Animals
Windblown Firs
1932 May - June VAG All Canadian Exhibition Dawn at Phillips River
1932 Oct. 5 - 30 VAG 1st Annual B.C. Artists Turn of the Tide, Yuculta
The Pool, Phillips River
Witch Trees
1933 Sept. 22 - Oct. 15 VAG 2nd Annual B.C. Artists The House in the Valley
Wind Blown Firs
1933 Dec. 1 - 17 VAG B.C. Artists Christmas Exhibition (no information available)
1934 Sept. 21 - Oct. 14 VAG 3rd Annual B.C. Artists Spring Song
Frederic Arm
1934 Nov. 2 - Nov. 18 PASOVAS Annual Exhibition (watercolours, book illustrations)
1934 Dec. 4 - Dec. 16 VAG B.C. Artists Christmas Exhibition Jim and Jane (#81)
Spring Song (#82)
1935 Sept. 20 - Oct. 13 B.C. Artists 4th Annual Sunday Afternoon
Copper, Pewter and Cloisonne
Humming Birds
Comox Street in Spring
Under the Vine Maples
1936 Feb. 21 - Mar. 5 PASOVAS Annual Exhibition (no information available)
1936 Sept. 18 - Oct. 11 B.C. Artists 5th Annual The Studio Window
Still Life
Under the Maples
1938 Sept. 16 - Oct. 9 B.C. Artists 7th Annual Jervis Inlet
1939 Sept. 15 - Oct. 8 B.C. Artists 8th Annual Near Cultus Lake
The Golden Ears
Aduddal's, Texada Island
1940 Sept. 20 - Oct. 13 B.C. Artists 9th Annual Spring in the Woods
1941 Sept. 26 - Oct. 19 B.C. Artists 10th Annual Locarno
On the Island
1942 May 15 - 31 BCSFA 32nd Annual Morning
Sea Loot
1942 Sept. 25 - Oct. 18 B.C. Artists 11th Annual High on a Windy Hill
1942 Nov. 3 - 15 FCA Red Cross Benefit (no information available)
1943 May 15 - June 6 BCSFA 33rd Annual Forest Moment
1943 Sept. 25 - Oct. 20 B.C. Artists 12th Annual By the Creek
By the Silvery Sea
1944 May 13 - June 4 BCSFA 34th Annual The Creekmouth, Gillies Bay
On Texado (sic)
The House by the Sea
The House in the Grove
1945 May 18 - June 10 BCSFA 35th Annual The Veterans
1946 July 2 - 28 VAG Jubilee Exhibition Sea Loot
1947 BCSFA 37th Annual Golf at Savary
1950 April 25 - May 14 BCSA 40th Annual Exhibition Spring in the Woods
Trees on Savary
1951 April 24 - May 13 BCSFA 41st Annual Edge of the Cliffs
1954 May 25 - June 13 BCSFA 44th Annual From Indian River
1956 Feb. 26 - March 18 BCSFA 46th Annual Secret Lagoon
1957 March 5 - 24 BCSFA 47th Annual Out Back
1958 Feb. 4 - 22 BCSFA 48th Annual Channel Markers
1960 May 22 - June 12 BCSFA 50th Annual South Shore, Savary
Arbutus Grove
1961 May 10 - 28 BCSFA 51st Annual Abandoned Farm


Places To Sketch
      "The Paint Box", Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts Annual, Spring 1926

      "The Paint Box", Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts Annual, Spring 1928

      March 1931; 42 pages, illustrated black and white
      Published by the Art, Historical and Scientific Association of Vancouver
      Includes article by R.S. Sherman on Savary Island
      Pen & ink illustration by Maud Rees Sherman on page 12.

Who's Who in Northwest Art edited by Marion Brymner Appleton
      "A Directory of Persons in the Pacific Northwest Working in the Media
        of Painting, Sculpture, Graphic Arts, and Handicrafts
      1941; published by Frank McCaffrey, Seattle Washington.
      Lists Maud Sherman as Secretary of PASOVAS 1940, address 1492 Harwood Street.

Artists of the Pacific Northwest - A Biographical Dictionary, 1600s - 1970
      1993, by Maria Sharylen, published by McFarland
      ISBN 0-89950-797-2; includes extensive 10 page index of groups and venues
      Listing for Maud Sherman taken from Who's Who in Northwest Art

      1999 January; by Michael Clark, Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design.
      Visions newsletter, Volume 5 Issue 2, page 6.
      One page biography with 3 illustrations of her work.

Stormy Weather
      1998; Maria Tippet, McLelland and Stewart, ISBN 0-7710-8524-9
      See references pages 164 and 165 (mis-attribution as man).

LOOKING FOR MAUD, by Gary Sim, Sim Publishing
      Unpublished narrative biography of the artist
      Approx. 200 pages, illustrated

MAGNETIC ISLE - Gladys Bloomfield's Savary
     2005; ISBN 0-9739209-0-4; 146 pages, illustrated in black and white
     Edited by Conde Landale; published by Savary Island Heritage Society
     Includes references to R.S. Sherman, Maud Rees Sherman, Laurencia Herchmer.


"A water colour by Miss Maud Sherman was in charge of Miss Frances Keefer. This was afterwards won by Mrs. G.J. Ashworth... the evening a fancy dress ball was held in the pavilion, the Savary Island orchestra providing music for the dancers... ...The costumes were particularly well done and becoming. Among those in fancy dress were the following: ... Miss Maud Sherman, flower girl..."
      From "Savary Island" (fundraiser for the French Red Cross)
      Vancouver Province, August 10, 1918

"The poetic side of her subjects appeals very stongly to Miss Maud Sherman."
      From "In the World of Art"
      Western Woman's Weekly, June 5, 1920

"...and Miss Maud Sherman carried off first prize for landscape in water colors."
      From "Artists and Their Doings"
      Western Woman's Weekly, September 18, 1920

"Miss Maud Sherman had two water color landscapes, both of which were excellent in colour and drawing."
      From "Artists and Their Doings"
      Western Woman's Weekly, October 9, 1920

"The party consisted of Mr. R. Sherman and Miss Sherman..."
      From "Sketching Trip Enjoyed"
      Western Woman's Weekly, July 29, 1922

"Many other well-known artists are represented, including ... Maud Sherman ... "
      From "Bargains in Art"
      Vancouver Sun, December 1, 1933

"... while Maud Sherman is represented by small black and white drawings of animals" ...
      From "Pasovas Club Has Splendid Annual Show"
      Vancouver Province, November 6, 1934

"Margaret Williams, Maud Shearman (sic), and Lilias Farley are well represented in the show, the latter both in the fine art and handicrafts sections. Apart from her original water colors, Miss Shearman shows some of her animal book illustrations."
      From "Pasovas Art Show"
      Vancouver Sun, November 6, 1934

"... Maud Sherman ... are all represented."
      From "PASOVAS EXHIBIT - Pioneer Art Students' Show" by (unknown)
      Daily Province, February 21 1936

" ... Among those contibuting paintings and drawings are: ... Maud Sherman ... "
      From "Noted Artists Offer Paintings For Red Cross"
      Vancouver Daily Province (presumed), November 1942

" ... Gazing at J.W.G. Macdonald's painting ... are: ... Miss Maud Sherman ... "
      from "For and about WOMEN"
      Vancouver Daily Province, April 22, 1950

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