Gagnon, Charles (Canadian, 1934–2003)
A Montreal artist who worked indiscriminately across a variety of media, including film, photography, collage, and box constructions, as well as painting. During 1956–60 Gagnon studied in New York, immersing himself in the city’s avant-garde world of experimental art. Back in Montreal his painting, especially his use of hard edges, was often associated with that of his Plasticien contemporaries.
Gagnon, Clarence (Canadian, 1881–1942)
Although he travelled and lived in Europe periodically throughout his career, Clarence Gagnon is best known for his paintings of the people and landscapes of his native Quebec, and particularly the Charlevoix region. A virtuosic colourist, Gagnon created highly original winter scenes in vivid hues and generous play between light and dark. He is also known for illustrating books such as Maria Chapdelaine by Louis Hémon and Le grand silence blanc by L.F. Rouquette.
Gagnon, Maurice (Canadian, 1904–1956)
An art critic and teacher at Montreal’s École du meuble, Gagnon studied art history at the Sorbonne in Paris. His book Peinture moderne (1940) analyzes various schools of modern art, including religious art. He was a friend to luminaries of the French and Québecois avant-garde, including Fernand Léger and Paul-Émile Borduas.
García, Antonio López (Spanish, b. 1936)
A realist painter and sculptor known for his painstaking process; a single small canvas can take him years to complete. His work is held by major art institutions around the world and was the subject of a retrospective exhibition in 2008 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Garneau, Hector de Saint-Denys (Canadian, 1912–1943)
A painter of luminous Quebec landscapes and a writer credited with modernizing poetry in French Canada. As a student at Montreal’s École des beaux-arts he was a friend of Paul-Émile Borduas, Jean Paul Lemieux, and other painters who would go on to define Quebec modernism. His own studies were cut short by his fragile health.
Gauguin, Paul (French, 1848–1903)
A member—with Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, and Paul Cézanne—of the group of painters now considered the Post-Impressionists, Gauguin is known for his use of colour and symbolism and for his daring compositions. The paintings he made in Tahiti, representing an idealized “primitive” culture, are among his most famous.
Gauvreau, Jean-Marie (Canadian, 1903–1970)
An important figure in the history of Canadian decorative arts and design, Gauvreau helped transform Montreal’s École technique into the École du meuble. The school became a centre for Quebec’s avant-garde, drawing artists like Paul-Émile Borduas and others associated with the Refus global manifesto.
Gauvreau, Pierre (Canadian, 1922–2011)
A painter, writer, and television producer/director, Gauvreau met Paul-Émile Borduas in 1941 when Gauvreau was a student at the École des beaux-arts in Montreal. The paintings he made before he joined the Automatistes in the late 1940s demonstrate a Fauvist influence. He returned to a free style of painting later in his life.
Geleynse, Wyn (Dutch/Canadian, b. 1947)
A multimedia artist influenced early in his artistic development by the London Regionalist artists, whose work surrounded him in his adopted hometown. Geleynse worked in printmaking, painting, and photography before coming to concentrate on 3-D model making, film, and video, which he frequently integrates into large-scale installations.
Gérard, François (French, 1770–1837)
An academic painter and favourite pupil of Jacques-Louis David, Gérard found success at the 1796 Paris Salon with his picture of Jean-Baptiste Isabey and his daughter; he subsequently became the most sought-after society portraitist in France.
A modernist movement in painting, sculpture, theatre, literature, and cinema. Expressionism’s birth is often traced to 1905, when Die Brücke (The Bridge), a group of Dresden painters, broke with the practices and institutions of the academy and bourgeois culture, declaring themselves a “bridge” to the future. Another bold new group, Der Blaue Reiter (the Blue Rider), formed in 1911, focused more on the spiritual in art. Significant Expressionist painters include Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Franz Marc, and Egon Schiele.
Gessner, Conrad (Swiss, 1516–1565)
A physician, naturalist, and polymath, and a compiler of one of Renaissance Zurich’s most important libraries. Gessner was a professor of natural history and ethics at the Reformed-Protestant theological college in Zurich. Among his most important scientific texts is the Historia animalium, a richly illustrated six-volume study of the animal kingdom.
Gibb, Harry Phelan (British, 1870–1948)
A painter and ceramicist who studied in the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Germany, and with painter Jean-Paul Laurens in Paris; he lived in the French capital for twenty-five years and earned the admiration of Gertrude Stein. The influence of Paul Cézanne is immediately evident in works such as Dartmoor Farm, 1931, and Still Life, 1932.
Gilcrease, Thomas (American, 1890–1962)
An oilman and collector from Tulsa, Oklahoma, who assembled the largest extant collection of art, rare documents, and artifacts related to the American West. The collection is now held in the Gilcrease Museum, which he founded in 1949.
Giotto (Italian, 1266/67–1337)
An acknowledged master of the early Italian Renaissance who was equally celebrated in his own day: critics including Dante praised the naturalism of his pictures and considered him to have revived painting after a centuries-long slump. Among his most spectacular achievements is the fresco cycle decorating the walls of the Arena Chapel, Padua.
Girling, Oliver (South African / Canadian, b. 1953)
Girling’s roughly rendered representational paintings and drawings—on canvas, paper, vinyl, cotton, and other materials—treat a range of subjects in both imaginary and more realist modes. His work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Glabush, Sky (Canadian, b. 1970)
An artist and teacher of studio art at the University of Western Ontario, London. Glabush’s work is concerned with questions of the spiritual in art; it has been exhibited in solo and group shows across the country and internationally.
From the 1850s to the early twentieth century, glass was commonly used in photography as a support for light-sensitive emulsions, such as those made from albumen, collodion, and gelatin. These were coated onto the glass, or plate, which was then placed in the camera.
Glavin, Eric (Canadian, b. 1965)
A digital media artist, painter, and sculptor trained in the Experimental Arts program at the Ontario College of Art (now OCAD University). Glavin was a founding member of the Toronto collective Painting Disorders and has participated in exhibitions in Ireland, Austria, China, the United States, and Canada, among others.
Gluckstein, Hannah “Gluck” (British, 1895–1978)
A feminist painter known for her depictions of flower pieces and for designing an Art Deco style frame called the “Gluck Frame.” A retrospective of Gluckstein’s work was held at the Fine Art Society, London, in 1973.
A mathematical concept applied to proportion, in which a straight line or rectangle is divided into two unequal parts: the smaller portion relates to the larger portion by the same ratio that the larger portion relates to the whole.
Gordon, Hortense (Canadian, 1889–1961)
A founding member of Painters Eleven, Gordon was known for her bold abstract paintings. She taught at Hamilton Technical School and was appointed principal in 1934.
Gorky, Arshile (Armenian/American, 1904–1948)
Gorky immigrated to the United States after his mother died in his arms during the Armenian genocide. Among the most eminent painters of the postwar New York School, he had a seminal influence on Abstract Expressionism, and he was a mentor to other artists, including Willem de Kooning.
A style of painting, sculpture, and architecture that emerged in the twelfth century in Europe. A Christian art form, it was primarily expressed through illuminated manuscripts and architecture that featured sculpture and stained glass and valued light and soaring spaces.
Gottlieb, Adolph (American, 1903–1974)
Gottlieb’s early representational work evolved toward the surreal and Abstract Expressionism, by which he sought to remove from cultural associations from his work in order to convey a universal language of expression. He was the first American to win the Grand Prize at the Bienal de São Paolo (1963).
An artists’ material, gouache is watercolour that is mixed with white pigment and the binding agent gum arabic, rendering it opaque. Gouache has been used in numerous painting traditions from antiquity, including manuscript illumination and Indian and European miniatures.
Graham, K.M. (Canadian, 1913–2008)
A widely collected landscape artist, K.M. (Kathleen Margaret) Graham worked in an abstract expressionist style. Attracted to the light and colours of the North, Graham made many painting trips to the Arctic beginning in 1971. She also produced drawings, prints, and graphic designs for liturgical vestments and book and magazine covers.
A collective of artists formed in 1988 whose fluctuating membership included Mark Simpson, Tom Kalin, Marlene McCarthy, and Loring McAlpin, among others. Gran Fury made artworks for the AIDS activist group ACT UP, including posters that spread the word about the disease and railed against government neglect of the AIDS epidemic and its victims.
Toronto animation studio, the first private company of its kind in Canada, founded in 1949 by National Film Board animators George Dunning and Jim MacKay. Michael Snow, Joyce Wieland, and Richard Williams all worked for Graphic Associates early in their careers.
Greenberg, Clement (American, 1909–1994)
A highly influential art critic and essayist known primarily for his formalist approach and his contentious concept of modernism, which he first outlined in his 1961 article “Modernist Painting.” Greenberg was, notably, an early champion of Abstract Expressionists, including Jackson Pollock and the sculptor David Smith.
Greenhill, Ralph (Canadian, 1924–1996)
A Canadian art and documentary photographer, Greenhill studied photography at Ryerson Institute of Technology from 1949 to 1951 and subsequently worked in the Stills Photography department at the CBC for over thirty years. His oeuvre includes views of nineteenth-century Ontario architecture and engineering projects.
A structural basis for paintings formed by a series of lines crossing each other at right angles, used most famously by Piet Mondrian. Grids affirm the common characteristics of modern painting: flatness and “all-overness,” as the critic Clement Greenberg described it.
A Toronto-based design and advertising firm established in 1873 to publish the weekly satirical magazine Grip. In the early twentieth century Grip Limited employed several artists who championed a distinctly Canadian style of landscape painting: Tom Thomson and some members of the future Group of Seven—Franklin Carmichael, Frank Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald, and F.H. Varley.
Grosz, George (German/American, 1893–1959)
A caricaturist and scathing social critic, painter, and draftsman associated with Dada in his early career, Grosz became a pioneer of the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity). His avidly anti-war work grew out of his participation in the First World War. His late career focused on landscape and still-life painting, though it retained a bleak tone.
Group of Seven
A progressive and nationalistic school of landscape painting in Canada, active between 1920 (the year of the group’s first exhibition, at the Art Gallery of Toronto) and 1933. Founding members were the artists Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Franz Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald, and Frederick Varley.
Guérin, Charles (French, 1875–1939)
A painter and illustrator influenced by the Impressionists, Guérin painted still lifes, portraits, and nudes with a subdued colour palette. His work is held at the Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris, the Musée national d’art moderne in Paris, and the Musée d’art de Toulon.
Gurney, Janice (Canadian, b. 1949)
Born in Winnipeg and residing in Toronto, Gurney is an artist and academic whose videos and installation projects often address the production, reception, and meaning of works of art. Her work is held in major national collections including the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Guston, Philip (American, 1913–1980)
A significant figure in postwar American art. Guston’s paintings and drawings range from the intensely personal and abstract to the expressly political, as with his murals of the 1930s and 1940s for the WPA Depression–era Federal Art Project. After nearly two decades of success as part of New York’s Abstract Expressionist movement, Guston triggered the anger and scorn of the art world with his return to figurative and symbolic imagery.