Author Tags: Art, First Nations

Doris Shadbolt's The Art of Emily Carr (Douglas & McIntyre, 1979) is a thematic and definitive look at the art of Emily Carr with 125 photos of Carr's work. Shadbolt also selected 85 drawings for Seven Journeys: The Sketchbooks of Emily Carr (Douglas & McIntyre, 2002) as well as quotes from Emily Carr's previously unpublished writings that describe the artist's visits to isolated Aboriginal villages on the B.C. Coast, visits to eastern Canada, and two metaphorical journeys.

Born in Preston, Ontario (now part of Cambridge, Ontario) on Novemver 28, 1918, Doris Meisel Shadbolt was educated in Ontario as one of three sisters (the others being Ruth and Grace). She had positions at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In British Columbia she divided her time between Hornby Island and Burnaby. She received the Order of Canada in 1974.

Doris Shadbolt instigated many major exhibits and produced a critical study, Bill Reid (D&M 1986, 1989; revised 1998, 2003), for which she received the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize in 1987 [depicted in photo]. She co-created a fund to support young B.C. artists with Jack Shadbolt, her husband. She died from a December 22, 2003 heart attack suffered while on vacation in San Miguel, Mexico.

[BCBW 2006] "Art" "First Nations" "Carr"

Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
Bill Reid
Emily Carr

Friends remember late arts patron Doris Shadbolt
CBC On-Line Press Release

VANCOUVER - When 85-year-old Doris Shadbolt died last week, not only did Vancouver's arts community lose a writer, educator, curator and devoted supporter, but her friends say that her sudden death is also cause for arts patrons across the country to mourn.

"Canada was lucky to have Doris because she was a key figure, I think, in the development of the whole arts scene," said author Edith Iglauer. "Not only in Vancouver but in Canada. She was on all kinds of advisory councils in which she set standards that had to be met." Those standards included raising awareness and changing the perception of art by the Northwest Coast aboriginal peoples. Shadbolt helped shape the view that their creative work was indeed art and not simply items of anthropological interest. Martine Reid, the widow of native artist Bill Reid, said that while Shadbolt was acting director of the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1967, she created a groundbreaking exhibition - The Art of the Raven - that changed how Canadians saw Native art. "This was actually quite a turning point," Reid said. "That experience, of course, deepened our sensibility toward Northwest Coast art."

Born in Preston, Ont. in 1918, Shadbolt studied fine arts at the University of Toronto. She then took jobs at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada and New York's Metropolitan Museum before moving to the Vancouver Art Gallery, where she eventually became associate director. She met and married artist Jack Shadbolt after the Second World War. Shadbolt was an early advocate of Native art and is credited with playing a major role in defining the West Coast's artistic identity, receiving much acclaim with her widely read books on Emily Carr and Bill Reid. In 1999, when former governor general Roméo LeBlanc and the Canada Council for the Arts created the Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts, Shadbolt was one of the inaugural winners, recognized in a category honouring volunteerism, philanthropy, board governance and community outreach activities.

On Dec. 22, Shadbolt suffered a heart attack while on vacation in San Miguel, Mexico.

"All my adult life I have been aware of how fortunate I have been to be engaged, whether gainfully or not, in the varying fields of art," Shadbolt once said. "I do believe that it is the arts which speak to the whole person, that is, to the spirit and the emotions, and to the mind and body alike ... which are the most important components in the formation of culture."

-- CBC News Online with files from Trevor Hughes, The Arts Report

Doris Shadbolt

Born in Ontario in 1918, Doris Shadbolt was a major force within the Vancouver Art Gallery, influential in furthering her husband Jack Shadbolt’s career, while establishing a parallel career as an important critic and writer. Her books include major studies on Bill Reid and Emily Carr. She died on December 22, 2003 from a heart attack suffered while on vacation in San Miguel, Mexico. [The Woodcocks had lived with the Shadbolts in Burnaby in the early 1950s upon their arrival from Vancouver Island where they had tried to homestead. Neither the Woodcocks nor the Shadbolts had children, so the foursome often spent their Christmases together.]

[BCBW Summer 2004]