Some Early Women Artists in Saskatoon

This is my third post on women artist biographies. See previous posts on Some Early Women Artists in Regina and Club Women Artists of Regina.

Please note that there is a website called SNAC (Saskatchewan Network for Art Collecting) which has quite a number of pocket biographies of Saskatchewan artists active both before and after 1950. Terry Fenton also has a website Canadian Prairie Watercolour Landscapes with slightly more detailed biographies of Saskatchewan watercolour painters, including a few women, and a few more well documented women artists of Saskatchewan are on the CWAHI website.  It is not my intention to present re-gurgitated biographies so I will direct you to any pre-existing online biographies I found, but when I have enough information to add I will write a short biography myself, using some of their information and some of my own.  I have gone to great lengths to find maiden names, birth and death dates and traces of these women’s activities in newspapers and a whole variety of other sources useful for genealogy.

I will begin with artists I could find little information for, those who placed ads in newspapers. I have arranged the biographies in a kind of chronological order, rather than an alphabetical one.

Saskatoon and Vicinity

The Saskatoon newspapers do not go back in time as far as the Regina ones because Saskatoon was a very small place until the early 1900s.  The first painter I found advertising in the Saskatoon Daily Star  and Saskatoon Phoenix was Mrs. A.D. Woods who offered to give painting and drawing lessons in May and September of 1905. ??????????????????????????????? I have found a bit more information on her.  She was Alice Maude Bowler,( b. in England in Sep 1879 –d. Mar. 24, 1973 in Mission, B.C.) and she and her husband Archie were newlyweds living with Alice’s mother in Saskatoon in the 1906 Census of Canada.  They had a young daughter Agnes who was born in February 1906.  Unfortunately, the 1906 Census does not detail professions but I have a photo of my great grandfather, a dentist in Moose Jaw in 1905, who had a likeness done that year in Saskatoon while visiting his in-laws and it is labelled Archie Woods, Photographer, Saskatoon.  So I suspect Archie (b. Apr. 1880 in England) and Alice were attempting to develop a photography business there. (See my post on photography) However, Saskatoon was very small and already had photographers so Archie and Alice moved to B.C. in 1907.  In 1911 they lived in Nanaimo, B.C. with three more B.C. born children and Archie was farming, probably a more promising enterprise for a growing family.

Miss V. Isaac offered a class in July of 1907 and Miss Annie Matilda Gilpin (b. 9 Dec 1875, Perth, Ontario) offered herself as a china and watercolour painting teacher between 1907 to Sept. 14, 1909 in the Daily Phoenix. 1909 Miss Gilpin ad cropped In 1910 Iola Fowler (b.24 Apr 1881 in Seaforth, Ontario), with significant training, also had a china painting studio before moving on to Carlyle, Sask. The same year Margaret L. Sisler (b. 30 Dec. 1882 in Malahide, Elgin, Ontario – d. 1978 in Rhode Island, New York, USA) was advertised as having her annual china exhibition.  She married William Lovelock in Saskatoon before 1916 and doesn’t appear to have had any more advertised showings, although Margaret I. Lovelock exhibited china at the Saskatoon Fair in 1916.  Mrs. Groves and Mrs. C. Parkin were both offering painting lessons in 1915. China painting continued to be very popular in Saskatoon through to the 1930s, as it was in Regina,  and I have more information about the artists of the later period.

 Anna Rue Kleven – b. 1858 in Wisconsin, USA, d.19 Mar 1925 in Saskatoon) She was a widow when she left Grand Forks, North Dakota to come to Canada in 1911.  The 1911 Census shows her as a ‘professional artist’ in Moose Jaw. That was also her profession in North Dakota prior to her immigration and probably in Minnesota  before that, where she had her children in the 1880s.  She was active as an artist in Saskatoon between 1915-1919 where she exhibited in the local summer fairs and also showed her own work in other venues. She received little notice in the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix for her shows at the fair because she didn’t enter them in the amateur competitions for prizes, the only time a name usually appeared in the newspaper in those days. Probably miffed by her painting display being ignored by the Star-Phoenix and having to field questions from naive fair goers wondering why she didn’t win a prize, she wrote this letter to the editor on Sept. 5, 1916.

1916 Annie Kleven letter cropped

Juliet Burdoin aka Mrs. A.F. nee Juliet Howson (b. 1873, Toronto, On – d? Ohio) The italicized part of this biography  of Juliet Howson is from the Canadian Museum of History website which discusses some of the women artists who worked on the Canadian Historical Dinner Service: “she was educated at the Ontario School of Art, and also studied in Paris and The Netherlands. At the Academie Julian, she studied under Bouguereau and Ferrier. She painted oil and water-colour landscapes, flower studies, and portraits of notable women. Juliet painted 12 cups and saucers for the Canadian Historical Dinner Service presented to Lady Aberdeen, the patroness of the Women’s Art Association of Canada in 1897.

Her work was exhibited at the Toronto Art Gallery (1891), through the Ontario Society of Artists (1891-1893 and 1900), and at the Royal Canadian Academy (1891). At the Ontario Society of Artists exhibition in 1900, she exhibited a china tea service (four pieces), as well as two vases (daffodils, dandelions), and three plates (one of yellow roses, one of red currants, and one of raspberries).”

Juliet Burdoin seems to have galvanized the small art community in Saskatoon where she and her family lived from 1911 to 1915. She had a solo exhibit of her work in a downtown art shop in 1912 and was involved in the local Arts & Literature Society and the Women’s Art Exchange in 1913.  These sale venues for art and craftwork were popular in larger cities and were usually associated with the Western Art Association in Winnipeg  or Women’s Art Association in other places but there was no WAA in Saskatoon.

She seems to have figured prominently in Saskatoon’s “first art exhibit”, as it was called, through the local IODE, the sponsoring body of which she was president.  The exhibit consisted of a display of Mrs. Burdoin’s paintings, some borrowed paintings from local collections and a collection of paintings from the Toronto WAA. It was held at the YMCA between May 25-28, 1915.  Mrs. Burdoin gave an illustrated lecture on Canadian art, using lantern slides borrowed from Toronto and a projector borrowed from the City. (See May 21, May 24 and May 25 of the Saskatoon Phoenix)

Burdoin moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota in the summer of 1915 and later Dayton, Ohio where she was active in the art community there.  She also spent summers in Gloucester, Massachusetts where she had a studio.

Jessie King (Mrs. Frederick)b. 1876 in England – d 5 Apr 1959 in Saskatoon) Arrived in Saskatoon in 1912 and was active in Saskatoon  during the teens as both a music and art instructor at the YWCA. She was a graduate of the Trinity College of Music in London by the age of 16.

Mrs. Frederick J. Parsons (Winnifred Virginia Parsons (b. 1890, Alberta d. )  – Cannot find her maiden name but it seems she was an art teacher in the public school system active in the visual arts in the 1920s in Saskatoon.  She did a demonstration of water colour painting at a teacher’s conference and had a solo show of her watercolours in 1924 at the Saskatoon fair. She was on the executive of the Saskatoon Art Club in 1927/28



Elizabeth E. Rankin (b. 1872 Ontario – d. 1960 in Saskatoon) was initially known as a Regina artist but spent most of her career in Saskatoon.  Miss Rankin moved to Regina in 1903 from Winnipeg, Manitoba to teach Art and Music at the Regina Normal School.    As a young woman she obtained her teaching certificate at the Normal School in Toronto and then later trained in the arts at Columbia University and the New York School of Art.  She was only in Regina for 9 years before she obtained a position at the Saskatoon Normal School as art director.  She was a fixture on the arts scene in Saskatoon long beyond her retirement in 1938.

There is a biography of Miss Rankin at SNAC. I am adding some material to it because I just happen to have the 1908 Regina Normal School yearbook. My husband’s grandmother was Miss Rankin’s student and graduated from there that year. The family kept the book. Here is a photo of Elizabeth E. Rankin taken in 1908 by the famous Regina photographer E.C.Rossie.EE Rankin 1908 by Rossiecomp

In the Normal School book, each of the instructors published a poem or an essay.  Miss Rankin’s essay was on a painting by Edward Burne- Jones, The Golden Stairway. She was a founding member of the Regina Society for the Advancement of Arts, Literature and Science and delivered a lecture for them in November of 1911, the text of which was published in the Leader newspaper.

Miss Elizabeth Rankin, along with Miss Jane Little, the supervisor of art in public schools in Saskatoon who also arrived there in 1912, taught summer art courses at the University of Saskatchewan in 1921.  These were not credit courses but since Augustus Kenderdine is always touted as the first person to teach non-credit art at the University, these ladies deserve some mention. They offered organized courses to students, not private lessons, like Kenderdine did for years. They held an exhibition of their students’ work after the course was over.

Elizabeth Rankin is not mentioned in the newspapers as being a member of any Saskatoon art organizations but she was included in the 1952 Art Centre exhibition called Saskatoon artists through the years. This interview was published in the Star-Phoenix about 3 months before she died and gives a good profile of her life and interests.  Her obituary can also be found in the Star-Phoenix. One wonders what happened to all those paintings that she saved… The University of Saskatchewan owns two of them, presumably obtained while she taught there.

Jane aka Jennie Little (b. 1886, Ontario) She arrived in Saskatoon in 1912 to become the supervisor of art in public schools. She, along with Juliet Burdoin,  was a member of a short-lived organization in Saskatoon, the Arts & Literature Society, c. 1913. Along with Elizabeth Rankin, she taught a summer school course in Art in 1921 (see link & reference above) 1921 Rankin & Little photos U of S summer class croppedShe left Saskatoon to later become principal at the Edith L. Groves School in Toronto (Saskatoon  Phoenix  Nov. 19, 1926 “Former Saskatoon Art Teacher is Head of New School”)






Ethel May Adelaide Thorpe (b. 11 Sep  1881 in Simcoe, Ontario – d. 19 May 1953 in Saskatoon)  She went to Normal School in Ontario and was an art teacher in various public schools in Saskatoon between 1913 and 1952. Thorpe did demonstration work, along with Mrs. Parsons at a teacher’s conference in 1928. She conducted Saturday art classes outside of her regular duties and showed her students’ work regularly at Tyrie’s Art Shop. Nov. 12, 1926; June 5, 1933 and Apr. 6, 1937 Star Phoenix.  She exhibited at the summer fairs in the 1920s and was a founding member of the Saskatoon Art Club and the Saskatoon Art Association and the Saskatoon Art Centre.  Note that Mashel Teitelbaum was among her students in 1933. She took a class with Sybil Jacobson at Lac Vert in the late 1920s.

Sybil nee Atkinson m.names Henley, Jacobson (b. 1881 England – d. 1953, Vancouver, B.C.) is one of three Saskatchewan women artists of her generation who has been the subject of a historical publication.  American writer Jean Anderson published a book on her in 1984 entitled Sybil Jacobson: Painting in the West which broke real ground by describing her life and achievements.  There is an online biography of her, based on Anderson’s book, at SNAC but I would like to make some revisions to it.  With access to online historical documents and records that Jean Anderson did not have for her research, I can add a bit more to Sybil’s story…

In 1911 Sybil and her husband Percy John Henley, also an artist, were living in North Studio, Marlow, Buckinghamshire. Their means of support was “private means” (1911 England Census).  Her husband is usually referred to as Peter Henley in the bios (that may have been his nickname but all legal documents refer to him as Percy, as does his gravestone, located at Wynyard, Saskatchewan).  In 1916 she and Percy were farming at Elfros, Saskatchewan according to the online 1916 Census of the Prairie Provinces.  Percy was listed as a farmer and Sybil as having no profession.  Although the family postal address was Wynyard, Percy died in Battleford on Dec. 5, 1917, not 1914, as previously believed, but corroborating Jean Anderson’s supposition that he probably died in a Battleford hospital from his mental illness.  His will was proved and registered at Wynyard in March of 1919 when his beneficiary was named as Sybil Henley, his wife.  ( has Saskatchewan Probate Records and you can see the original documents related to Percy John Henley’s will on this website).

After her husband’s death, a traumatized Sybil left the province with Dr. Johan Jacobson, a married father from the Wynyard area, for North Dakota where they stayed for some time (according to a border crossing document available through before returning to Saskatchewan in 1919, They lived in Saskatchewan as man and wife and had children.  Sybil and Johan did not marry until 1936 in Winnipeg, shortly before a blind Dr. Jacobson’s death.  This was a pretty racy story for the era and may explain why the Jacobsons moved around a lot and why Sybil maintained a studio in the remote village of Lac Vert, Saskatchewan, near Naicam. It is odd for an artist with professional training and career aspirations to have such a setup, but makes perfect sense if you wanted to avoid societal disapprobation.

Sybil’s story usually centres on her involvement with Saskatoon because she lived and taught there in the winter of 1925 but her work was widely admired and known in Regina and Moose Jaw, too. Jacobson was a founding member of the Saskatoon Art Club (1925) and the Saskatchewan Women’s Art Association(1929) in Regina and exhibited her paintings in Saskatchewan for approximately 10 years between 1925 and 1935. ( see LCW & WAA exhibition lists and reports). After Dr. Jacobson died in Winnipeg, she moved to B.C. and lived out her years in Vancouver, painting and exhibiting until the end.

There is some surviving correspondence from the late 1920s between Jacobson and A.W. Cameron, principal of Nutana Collegiate and president of the Saskatoon Art Club, that documents her desire to find a teaching position and her problems with non-existent Saskatchewan art exhibition standards. The Nutana Memorial Art Collection owns paintings by her and she first came to prominence in Saskatchewan through her exhibitions in Saskatoon with the Saskatoon Art Club in the late 1920s. See for example: Nov. 29, 1926 and other reports on Saskatoon Art Club exhibitions in a separate post which contain effusive descriptions of her work.  “Sask. artist wins praise at exhibition.” is a Jul 25, 1930 Phoenix report on her work being shown at the summer fair.

Alma Edith Trickey, (Mrs. E.H.) b. 14 Mar 1881, Ontario – d. 24 Mar 1978 in Saskatoon, SK) Lived in Dundas, Williamsburg, Ontario and moved with her husband to Tompkins, Saskatchewan prior to 1916, then arrived in Saskatoon before 1921.  She was well known in Saskatoon as a china painter and taught classes in china decoration. Alma Trickey exhibited at the Saskatoon summer fairs in the 1920s and 1930s, usually not in prize competitions though, which were left for her students to enter. (See for example: Jul 25, 1924;  Jul 26, 1928  Saskatoon Phoenix) She was a founding member of the Saskatoon Art Club. Probably as prominent in china painting circles in Saskatoon as Edith Vandermade was in Regina.  Her daughter Ruth Trickey also exhibited her china painting work in Saskatoon. Alma’s son?, R. H. Trickey was on the founding committee for the Mendel Art Gallery in the 1960s.

Henning, Mrs. Andrew S. (Flossie May) b. 1884 , Hamilton, Ont. – d.?) Flossie May initially lived in North Battleford in Saskatchewan  but by 1916 she and her husband Andrew lived at Kerrobert, near Kindersley.  Mrs. Henning exhibited with the LCW in Regina and the Saskatoon Art Club in the 1920s.  Kindersley is closer to Saskatoon so I have put her with the Saskatoon artists.

Jessie Fraser (nee Dunlop) Phillips (Mrs. H.G.) (b. Nov. 1888, Nova Scotia – d. Mar. 1963 in Saskatoon, SK.)  1938 Jessie Phillips photo exLived in Regina from 1906 to 1930, before moving to Saskatoon.  She was a prominent member of the Saskatoon Art Appreciation Club from its inception and had one person showings of her work under their auspices in  1938 See also Mar. 28, 1938 saskatoon Star Phoenix She also exhibited her work with the Regina LCW ALC annual Saskatchewan art exhibits. She exhibited her own work in 1941 in Saskatoon. Her daughter June was born in 1913 in Regina and was a pupil of Garnet Hazard before moving to Saskatoon and then took lessons from Gus Kenderdine. It is likely that both mother and daughter attended a class or two at Emma Lake. June Phillips exhibited with the WAA in October of 1932. Mrs. Jessie Phillips moved back to Regina in the 1940s and was active with the FCA in that city. This photo below appeared in the Star Phoenix May 9, 1940.

.1940 Stoon Mrs. H.G. Phillips cropped

Hilda Pocock Stewart aka Mrs. J.H. (1892, England – d. 1978, Vancouver, B.C.) Like Jacobson and Thornton, Hilda Stewart’s career has been documented, specifically by Lynne S. Bell’s Hilda Stewart R.M.S.: An Essay in Retrieving History, a catalogue published to accompany the first showing of Stewart’s work in over fifty years at the Mendel Art Gallery in 1991.  An online biography of her, based on Bell’s research, appears at SNAC. A fully trained and practising artist before she moved to Saskatchewan with her husband in 1921, she has the distinction of being the first woman continuously employed by the University of Saskatchewan to teach studio art in 1935 at Regina College and at Saskatoon from 1936-1948. She moved to Vancouver in 1948 and continued to paint into the 1960s.  She was a frequent contributor to the Regina LCW Arts & Letters Committee annual exhibitions from 1933 to 1945 and the Saskatchewan WAA and was a founding member of the Saskatoon Art Association in 1936. (See exhibition lists of these organizations for reviews of her work in the shows) Her work was also exhibited in several solo shows in Saskatchewan and other areas of Canada and the U.S. and in England.

This is how she was introduced to the Saskatoon art community – Saskatoon Star Phoenix, Dec. 5, 1932. Other mentions of her in Saskatoon are: Mar. 22, 1933; Sept. 26, 1933, p.6 “Saskatchewan Artist returns from Banff..” (cannot link to page),  Feb. 16, 1934 ; May 23, 1936; May 1, 1939; Mar. 13, 1940 and in the Regina Leader Post Jan. 12, 1935; Mar. 5, 1935

Madeleine Lorimer Jordan Barnett (b. Sep 1886 in Manchester, England- d. Saskatoon, 20 Dec. 1961) has the distinction of being the most well known Saskatchewan sculptor prior to 1950. She arrived in Saskatoon with her husband Leonard Barnett, a store manager, in 1926.  Leonard and Madeleine had married in McLeod, Alberta in 1916 and had one daughter Violet there.  According to the 1921 Canadian Census, they were living in Vernon, B.C. then, where Leonard ran a trading post store. It appears that Madeleine took Violet to Europe with her sometime in the early 1920s, returning in time to move to Saskatoon, where the family was reunited .  This may have been the period when she studied sculpture with Albert Toft at the Royal College of Art in London.

Apr. 25, 1930 SSP

Nov. 15, 1946 SSP photo detail showing Barnett modelling a girl’s head

She had a private painting and modelling studio in Saskatoon and worked as a clay modelling demonstrator for the University of Saskatchewan’s unique department of Ceramic Engineering in 1930 (Oct. 15, 1930 SSP, p. 8 cannot link). She also taught modelling and claywork at Saskatoon’s Technical Collegiate after it opened in 1931 and for some years after. She exhibited her work in Saskatchewan and at various national venues in the 1930s-1940s. (Oct. 3, 1935; Nov. 23, 1937; Jul 20, 1938; April 25, 1939Jul 20, 1940 ) She is noted in the newspaper as doing a clay modelling demonstration for the Saskatoon Art Club (aka Saskatoon Art Association) in November of 1926 so was likely a very early member of this organization and its successor, the Saskatoon Art Association.  She was also involved with the Saskatchewan Women’s Art Association in the 1930s. For a time, she and her students were known as the Little Sculpture Group when they exhibited in Regina. There is additional biographical information on Barnett at SNAC and in the Biographical Dictionary of Saskatchewan Women Artists and in her obituary.

Mrs. M.F. Munro (possibly Margaret Steele Munro?) –  (d. aft. 1955 Saskatoon) She came to Saskatoon about 1915 with her husband who became a Reverend Professor at St. Andrew’s College, University of Saskatchewan. Professor Munro retired in 1945 and was 80 when he died in 1955 so I assume Margaret was born in 1880s. She was a graduate of Queen’s University in 1909 and took teacher training in Toronto. A student of Madeline Barnett’s, she exhibited her sculpture work in Regina and Saskatoon in the 1930s and 40s.



Mrs. Stewart Basterfield (Margaret Estelle Cumming) (b. 1903 in Manitoba – d?) Also a student of Madeline Barnett’s who exhibited her work in the 1930s and 1940s in Saskatoon and Regina.  She appears to have moved to Regina about 1940 as she is referred to as a Regina artist after that time. Her husband (1884-1954) was a professor in the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Pharmacy but later became Dean of Regina College. Her work was exhibited in 1943 at the college

Mrs. Edith Kortes aka Mrs. Thomas Kortes  (d. 1993 Saskatoon) – Edith Kortes was a student of Madeline Barnett’s in Saskatoon and exhibited her work with the Saskatoon Art Association in the 1940s.

Catherine Adams Kortes aka Mrs. Brown Kortes ( b. 1908 Saskatchewan -d. 5 Nov 1977, Saskatoon) Catherine taught clay modelling at the University in night classes in the early 1950s but also exhibited her work with the Saskatoon Art Association in the 1940s and taught modelling for them.

Edith Tyrie – b.1901, Scotland – d. 14 Jan 1983, Saskatoon)  was involved in the  Saskatoon  art community from a young age because her father William Tyrie owned Tyrie’s Art and Framing Shop in Saskatoon during the 1920s and 1930s.  This shop was where Kenderdine’s art was discovered by University president Walter Murray.  Miss Tyrie seems to have been a go-to person for hanging and organizing art exhibitions at the Saskatoon Fair and maintained Tyrie’s Art Shop after her father retired.  In 1930 she was one of two Saskatoon artists who received recognition for their artwork at the Regina Fair. Edith won a gold medal for her landscape drawing. She was described at that time as a pupil of Gus Kenderdine at the University of Saskatchewan. She was a founding member of the Saskatoon Art Club & Saskatoon Art Association. This photo of her appeared in a July 20, 1935 Fair Supplement to the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix.

According to a Coast to Coast report written by Gordon Snelgrove for Maritime Art magazine, Edith Tyrie joined the Women’s Division of the RCAF in 1943 after the Tyrie art shop suffered a devastating fire. She worked in the photography division.  So I suspect she was probably active as both a photographer and artist prior to joining the RCAF. I haven’t found any references to her after the 1942 fire but she did remain in Saskatoon until her death and exhibited with the Saskatoon Art Association.

May Fox (b. 1895 in Penge, Surrey, England – d. Jul. 11, 1987 in Saskatoon) May W. Fox was the daughter of Barr colonists Charles and Mary Fox who came to Saskatoon in 1903. May seems to have had some secretarial training, working as an insurance agent in 1920, at the Saskatoon Business College in 1926 and becoming a secretary at Saskatoon Technical Collegiate when it opened in 1931.  First mentioned as an art teacher for children in 1926. I believe she was a founding member of the Saskatoon Art Club and the Saskatoon Art Association and she exhibited her drawings and watercolours in their exhibitions.  I don’t know what kind of art training she had, other than taking some lessons from Sybil Jacobson at her summer camp in Lac Vert with  fellow Saskatoon children’s art teacher, Ethel Thorpe. See Nov. 4, 1930 SSP

What she is most well known for is her bi-weekly Saturday column Art Gum in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix which appeared between 1942-1944, the first regular art column in the province’s newspapers (more about this later) . Displaying a strong literary bent, she chronicled the activities of the Saskatoon Art Association as it matured and eventually obtained the civically- sponsored exhibition space known as the Saskatoon Art Centre. Her writing was heavily influenced by the projects of Ernest Lindner whom she worked with at the Technical Collegiate.

Margaret A. MacKenzie – an artist who taught painting classes and exhibited in Saskatoon  in the 1930s.  She also exhibited her art in B.C., where she had taught painting classes in Chilliwack, B.C. in the 1920s.

Annie Wadleigh – (b. 1880, Quebec – d.) art teacher in Saskatoon in public schools who exhibited with the Saskatoon Art Club and Saskatoon Art Association in the 1920s and 30s and also gave lessons out of her home. She took classes at Sybil Jacobson’s summer art camp at Lac Vert. See: Apr. 23, 1927 report on Saskatoon Art Club’s exhibition

Grace Hogg (b. 1900 Oxbow, SK. – d. 1989 Saskatoon, SK) Biography at SNAC A former teacher who had most of her art training in Saskatoon, Grace Hogg exhibited her paintings with the Saskatoon Art Association in the late 1940s.

Muriel J. Simpson (Mrs. G.W.) – (b. England – d. Saskatoon 1963) She exhibited with the Saskatoon Art Association in the 1940s. All I really know about her comes from her obituary and a short article regarding the dispersal of her art collection on Nov. 5, 1964

Death of Muriel Simpson 1963

Agnes V. Warren aka Mrs. Charles T. (no dates, but on a Voter’s List in Regina as late as 1972, profession artist, her husband was born in 1895) She took private art classes with Augustus Kenderdine in Saskatoon in the 1920s and also went to the Vancouver School of Art.  Based on offhand reference in a newspaper article, she likely exhibited with the Saskatoon Art Club in its heyday. In 1929 Warren was hired to teach art classes to students at the Bedford Road Collegiate in Saskatoon. In 1934  and 1935 she exhibited her portraits in oil and pastel in Saskatoon stores. Between 1937 and 1944 Mrs. Warren lived in Regina and was actively involved in the LCW Arts & Letters Committee and the Women’s Art Association. (see their exhibition lists for reports)  She showed her work with both organizations. She then moved to Prince Albert where she became active with the local branch of the Federation of Canadian Artists.

In 1947 she was the only Saskatchewan woman whose artwork was chosen for the National Council of Women’s Canadian Women Artists’ show at Riverside Museum in New York.  The painting she exhibited was entitled Cathedral, a representation of Prince Albert’s venerable Anglican cathedral, St. Alban’s.  A brief  report on this and a profile was published in 1947 in the Leader Post which tells us she also went to the Art Institute of Chicago for art training.  She established a reputation as an art critic in Prince Albert, publishing articles in the P.A. Daily Herald.  She also represented the Prince Albert Art Association at the Massey Commission hearings in Saskatoon in October, 1949.

Mrs. Warren moved back to Regina in the 1950s, opened a teaching studio and continued to be an active member of the art community. According to the online Saskatchewan News Index, an article on her was published in the P.A. Daily Herald in 1953 but I do not have access to a digital copy of this newspaper. Like a couple of her fellow Regina art club friends, she was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London, England.

Jean McKenzie Johnston (b. 20 Oct. 1912 Rosetown, Sk. – d. 2005, Saskatoon) Jean Johnston was a university student in Saskatoon when she started to get noticed for her entries in the art section at the Saskatoon Summer fairs during the 1930s. She also exhibited her work with the Saskatoon Art Association in the late 1930s. In the mid 1940s she was a student at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  She seems to have lived in Rosetown afterward, being noted as an accountant on the 1965 Saskatchewan Voter’s List.

Clara Hume (b. Clara Burbridge in Kindersley, Sask. in 1914 – d. Saskatoon 2006). See biography at SNAC. Exhibited with the Saskatoon Art Association  and the Regina WAA in the 1940s.

Wynona Croft Mulcaster (b. 1915 Prince Albert, Sask, lives in New Mexico?) See SNAC and CWAHI  for  biographies. Mulcaster, like Reta Cowley below,  had a significant post-1950 career but I am including her here because she was very active and influential in Saskatoon art circles from the late 1930s on. After graduating from University she worked at the Regina Normal School and then became art teacher at Saskatoon’s Normal School in 1945. and took special children’s art training in Montreal . See also Saskatoon Art Centre and Emma Lake Art Camp posts for mentions. Mulcaster later went on to have a distinguished career as an art educator at the University of Saskatchewan.

Reta Summers m.n. Cowley (b. 1910 Moose Jaw, Sask, d. 2004 in Saskatchewan) See her biography at SNAC, CWAHI and at Terry Fenton’s website on Saskatchewan Watercolour Painters. Reta Summers Cowley also was very active in the Regina and Saskatoon art exhibitions of the 1940s. (Nov. 22, 1940 Regina Leader Post for example when she was Reta Summers of Yorkton) She moved to Saskatoon in 1945 and taught studio art in 1948 at the Emma Lake Art Camp.

Bodil Lindner (b. Bodil Brostrom-von Degen in Denmark c. 1911 – d?) No online biography. She was an art student from Prince Albert when she married her teacher Ernest Lindner in 1935. Primarily a self-taught artist, influenced by spiritual philosophies like Theosophy, she occasionally exhibited her semi-abstract paintings with the Saskatoon Art Association and also taught art classes to children, using new methods espoused by Wynona Mulcaster. Plagued by what might be diagnosed now as clinical depression, she left Saskatoon and her family in 1946. (Information derived from brief references in Terence Heath’s book on Ernest Lindner called Uprooted: The Life and Art of Ernest Lindner. Saskatoon: Fifth House, 1983)

One hit wonder:

Mrs. Marie Davis – A feature article on Mrs. Davis appeared in the 1942 Saskatoon Star Phoenix.  She doesn’t appear to have been involved in any of the Saskatoon art groups.


4 thoughts on “Some Early Women Artists in Saskatoon

  1. Barbara Hoover

    I inherited a lovely tea cup and saucer from my grandmother (b. London, Ontario c. 1895). the cup appears to be porcelain (translucent) while the saucer is much denser in appearance and weight. the background colour is a muddy taupe; there is a rabbit leaping through a spring field of tulips: very art deco in style. On the back of each piece is a signature: E. G. Vandermade Moose Jaw.
    My 91 year old mother remembers little about the set, but always thought that the work was done for my grandmother. It is a sweet memento of my grandmother. Is there any way of dating it, or to determine its value?


    1. lisa g. henderson Post author

      Nice to hear from you Barbara. All I know about Edith Vandermade is included in my biography in the Some Early Women Artists in Regina post. She lived in Moose Jaw prior to 1921 so I assume your piece was probably made earlier than the art deco period, more likely an arts & crafts style, given the theme. But I’m only guessing here. Value is usually related to what work like that is going for on antique china websites, not really my area of expertise but I think it has value as an historical piece of Saskatchewan art. I wonder if the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery might have some knowledge of her or examples of her work. I have just updated my biography of Edith Vandermade, based on some new information. She appears to have left Moose Jaw about 1916 so your cup and saucer is likely an artifact from before that time. Check out the new bio in Some early women artist in Regina post.


  2. Frances

    Hello . I have recently found a picture painted by Effie Martin in 1947 called Ft. Qu’Appelle . I was wondering if you have a bit of history on this artist. The scene is quite nice.
    Frances Shea



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