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Dorothy Knowles (1927 - 2023)

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Dorothy Knowles (b. 1927, Unity, Saskatchewan, d. 2023, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) was one of Canada's greatest landscape painters. She studied art in the late 1940s and early 1950s at night school and summer school in Saskatoon and Emma Lake and briefly in London, England. A turning point in her career came at an Emma Lake Artists' Workshop in 1962 when she was encouraged by the American critic, Clement Greenberg, to pursue painting from nature regardless of the contemporary predominance of abstraction. Her paintings from the mid 1960s to the present have had an enormous influence on younger painters across Western Canada, acquired in part through Knowles' frequent presence as both participant and leader at Emma Lake Artists' Workshops. She continued to paint prolifically in watercolour, acrylic and oil throughout her career - working in a variety of different manners and using a range of subject matter. Her works bring to life the rich and colourful landscapes that surround her home and studio and her paintings have found homes in some of the most prestigious museums in Canada.

Curriculum Vitae

Born: 1927, Unity, Saskatchewan, Canada
Died: 2023, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada


1948 Bachelor of Art, University of Saskatchewan
1948 Emma Lake Summer School with Reta Cowley, Mr. Finlay
1949 Banff Summer Session

1987 Order of Merit of Saskatchewan
2004 Order of Canada


1954 Saskatoon Art Centre, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
1965 David Mirvish Gallery, Toronto, Ontario
1968 Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
1969 Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
1970 Robertson Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario
1970 Theo Waddington Galleries,Montreal, Quebec
1973 Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta
1975 Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton, Ontario
1975 Meredith Long Gallery, New York, New York
1975 Pucker/Saffrai Gallery, Boston, Mass
1978 Canadian Art Galleries, Calgary, Alberta
1978 Meredith Long Gallery, New York, New York
1980 Waddington Gallery, Toronto, Ontario
1982 "Dorothy Knowles, 1964-82" (National Circulating Exhibition) Organized by The Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina At Gallery of Windsor, Ontario London Regional Art Galleries, Ontario Sadie Bronfman Centre, Montreal Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon (catalogue by Terry Fenton)
1982 Downstairs Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta
1982 Theo Waddington Galleries,Montreal, Quebec
1982 Art Placement, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
1983 Waddington & Shiell Galleries, Toronto, Ontario
1983 Art Placement, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
1984 Canadian Art Galleries, Calgary
1984 Woltjen/Udell Gallery, Edmonton
1985 Waddington & Shiell Galleries, Toronto, Ontario
1986 Waddington & Shiell Galleries, Toronto, Ontario
1987 Art Placement, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
1987 Waddington & Gorce, Montreal
1987 Woltjen/Udell, Vancouver, British Columbia
1989 Greenberg/Wilson Gallery, New York
1990 Woltjen/Udell Gallery, Edmonton
1990 Waddington & Shiell Galleries, Toronto
1990 Waddington & Gorce Inc., Montreal
1991 Miriam Shiell Fine Arts, Toronto
1991 Woltjen/Udell Gallery, Edmonton
1992 Canadian Art Galleries, Calgary
1994 Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon (touring)
1995 Art Placement inc, "The Boat Paintings", Saskatoon
1995 The Kenderdine Art Gallery, U of S., Saskatoon, "The Boat Paintings"
1998 Art Placement inc, "The Sky Paintings", Saskatoon
1999 IMCA, Calgary, "The Sky Paintings"
2000 Art Placement inc, Saskatoon
2000 Douglas Udell Gallery, “25th Anniversary Show” Edmonton and Vancouver
2001 MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina
2003 Art Placement inc, Saskatoon
2003 Miriam Shiell Fine Art, Toronto
2006 Miriam Shiell Fine Art, Toronto
2007 Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton
2008 Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton
2008 Art Placement inc, Saskatoon
2008 MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina, “Dorothy Knowles: Watercolour Portraits of Saskatchewan”
2008 Moose Jaw Art Gallery, Moose Jaw, “ Land Marks”
2009 Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon,“ Land Marks”
2010 McMichael Gallery, Kleinburg, “Land Marks”
2011 Art Placement inc, Saskatoon "Sky Above, Earth Below"
2011 Han Art, Montreal, QC, "Dorothy Knowles: Woven Beauty"
2012 Art Placement inc, Saskatoon "Refined Observation"
2014 Douglas udell Gallery, Edmonton, AB, "Canadian Landscapes"
2015 Art Placement inc, Saskatoon, "Dorothy Knowles: The Oils 1962-2006"
2016 Michael Gibson Gallery, London, ON
2017 Han Art, Montreal, QC, "From Roots to Infinity"
2017 Art Placement inc, Saskatoon, SK, "Dorothy Knowles: 90 Years"


1968 Seventh Biennial, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario (catalogue introduction, William C.Seitz)

1971 "West 71" Edmonton Art Gallery, travelled to the Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, The Glenbow, Calgary, Edmonton, Alberta (catalogue introduction by Karen Wilkin)

1974 "Prairie'74" Edmonton Art Gallery, Alberta

1975-76 "The Canadian Canvas" (National Circulating Exhibition) Catalogue introduction, Doris Shadbolt, Karen Wilkin, Alvin Balkind, Fernande St Martin, Allan McKay

1976 "Changing Visions - The Canadian Landscape" travelling exhibition organized by the Edmonton Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Ontario (catalogue introduction by RW. Billingsley, K.Wilkin, R, Nasgaard)

1977 "14 Canadians - A Critic's Choice" Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution (catalogue introduction by Andrew Hudson)

1983 "Five from Saskatchewan", Canada House, London, Paris, Brussels. Organized by the Saskatchewan Arts Board with the assistance of Canada House Cultural Centre Gallery, London and Saskatchewan Culture and Recreation. (Catalogue introduction, K. Bell, P. Close)

1988 "Contemporary'88 (Winter show 88, Olympic Arts Festival) Canadian Art Galleries, Calgary, Alberta (catalogue introduction, Mary-Beth Laviolette)

1989 "Talking Through Time: Contemporary Art from Saskatoon", Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, SK

1989 "A Common Bond", Swift Current National Exhibition Centre, Swift Current, SK

1990 "The Flat Side of the Landscape: The Emma Lake Artists' Workshops" Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, SK

1994 "The Object as Subject: Still-Life Art in Saskatchewan", Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, SK

1994 "Relative Realities" Curated by Eileen Lampard, Rosemont Art Gallery, Regina, SK

1994 "Robert Ayre: The Critic and the Collection" Concordia Art gallery, Montreal, QC

1994 "Achieving the Modern: Canadian Abstract Painting and Design in the 1950s" Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, MB and Windsor Art Gallery, Windosr, ON

1995 "Hidden Values" Presented by Trimark Mutual Funds and organized by: Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, The Edmonton Art Gallery, McMichael Canadian Art Collection

1997-1998 "The Urban Prairie" (touring) organized by Mendel Art Gallery

1999 "Rediscovering the Landscape of the Americas" Curated by Alan Gussow and Gayle Maxon-Edgerton, Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2001 "Prairie Region Exhibition" Organized by the Royal, Canadian Academy of Arts in cooperation with the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, MB, travelled to MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina, SK

2002 "Clement Greenberg - A Critic's Collection" Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR

2005 "Clement Greenberg - A Critic's Collection" Palm Springs Desert Museum, Palm Springs, CA

2006 "Contemporary Views of the Bow River" Glenbow Museum, Calgary AB

2006 "100 Years of Saskatchewan Art" curated by A. Badzak and D. Ring from the permanent collection, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, SK

2009 "Prairie Companion" Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifaz, NS

2015 "Modern Visions: 50th Anniversary Exhibition" Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, SK

2016 "Private Collection" Winchester Galleries, Oak Bay, BC

2017 "The Legacy Continues: recent additions to the collection" Whyte Museum, Banff, AB

2017 "Season to Season, Coast to Coast: a celebration of the Canadian landscape" Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, AB

2017 "Then and Now" Wallace Galleries, Calgary, AB

2018 "III - Dorothy Knowles, Faye Heavyshield, Elaine Cameron-Weir", Remai Modern, Saskatoon, SK


Art Gallery of Alberta
Art Gallery of Hamilton
Art Gallery of Ontario
Art Gallery of Peterborough
Art Gallery of Windsor
Bank of Commerce
Bank of Montreal
Bell Canada
Boston Museum
Canada Council Art Bank
Concordia University, Montreal, QC
Confederation Art Centre, Charlottetown, PEI
Department of External Affairs, Government of Canada
Dominion Foundries and Steel Ltd.
Dupont Canada Inc.
Edmonton Art Gallery
First City Capital Markets
Glenbow Museum, Calgary
Gulf Canada
Kamloops Art Gallery
Kenderdine Art Gallery, University of Saskatchewan
Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery
Imperial Life Insurance Co.
MacKenzie Art Gallery
Mendel Art Gallery
Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery
Muse d’art contemporain, Montreal
National Gallery of Canada
Norcen Energy Resources Ltd
Nova Corp.
Portland Art Museum
Royal Bank
Rothmans of Pall Mall Canada Ltd
Saskatchewan Arts Board
Shell Canada
Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada
Toronto Dominion Bank
University of Alberta
University of Calgary
University of Regina
Vancouver Art Gallery
Winnipeg Art Gallery


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238 - 3rd avenue south, saskatoon, SK, canada, S7K 1L9

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