MacCallum, James (Canadian, 1860–1943)
An ophthalmologist in Toronto, Dr. MacCallum was a friend and patron of Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven. With Lawren Harris, in 1913 he planned and financed the Studio Building in Toronto as a place where artists could live and work. In 1914, by offering to support A.Y. Jackson and Tom Thomson for a year, he launched their careers as full-time painters. He bequeathed his collection to the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.
MacDonald, J.E.H. (British/Canadian, 1873–1932)
A painter, printmaker, calligrapher, teacher, poet, and designer, and a founding member of the Group of Seven. His sensitive treatment of the Canadian landscape was influenced by Walt Whitman’s poetry and Henry David Thoreau’s views on nature.
Macdonald, Jock (British/Canadian, 1897–1960)
A painter, printmaker, illustrator, teacher, and a pioneer in the development of abstract art in Canada. Macdonald began as a landscape painter but became interested in abstraction in the 1940s, influenced by Hans Hofmann and Jean Dubuffet. Macdonald was one of the founders of Painters Eleven in 1953.
Macdonald-Wright, Stanton (American, 1890–1973)
One of the first American abstract artists. He and Morgan Russell developed Synchromism while the two were living in Paris. Macdonald-Wright had a profound interest in East Asian art and lived in a monastery in Japan toward the end of his life.
MacKay, D.C. (Canadian, 1906–1979)
A Maritime illustrator and printmaker who trained internationally in London and Paris before settling permanently in Halifax. MacKay joined the Royal Canadian Navy in 1939, serving first as a lieutenant and later as a war artist. On returning he became the principal of the Nova Scotia College of Art (later the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design), and remained in the role until his retirement in 1971.
Mackenzie, Landon (Canadian, b. 1954)
A Vancouver-based artist and teacher whose large-format abstract paintings are conceptually based while evoking natural forms. They are characterized by brilliant colours and often incorporate elements of collage, text, and map-making. Mackenzie teaches painting and drawing at Emily Carr University of Art + Design.
A term used for artistic or literary productions in which dreamlike, irrational, or supernatural elements appear in a realistic setting. This fusion of the real and the fantastic is found in the work of writers such as Gabriel García Márquez and painters such as Giorgio de Chirico, André Derain, and the Dadaists.
An early method of artificial lighting for photography. Magnesium powder had been used for this purpose in various problematic incarnations, including wires and flares, since 1859; not until 1887, when Adolf Miethe and Johannes Gaedicke mixed it with potassium chlorate, was the first widely useable flash powder created.
Magritte, René (Belgian, 1898–1967)
A major figure in twentieth-century art, and one of the most important Surrealist painters. Magritte was introduced to Surrealism by André Derain and Paul Eluard while living in Paris in the late 1920s, and collaborated actively with the group through the 1930s. Among his many famous works are The Treachery of Images and The Son of Man.
Mahias, Robert (French, 1890–1962)
A prominent decorative artist in Paris, Mahias moved to Montreal in the 1920s, where he taught at the École des beaux-arts and created artwork for churches in the United States and Canada. On his return to Paris he taught at the École des arts appliqués.
Malevich, Kazimir (Russian, 1879–1935)
An important figure in the development of geometric abstraction, whose religious and mystical proclivities deeply influenced his wish to abandon, as an artist, the representation of the visible world. His radically austere Suprematist works were first shown in Moscow in 1915. Malevich resumed figure painting in the late 1920s.
An almond-shaped aureole of light that surrounds the figure of a holy person in religious art (typically Christian and Buddhist).
Manet, Édouard (French, 1832–1883)
Considered a forerunner of the modernist movement in painting, Manet eschewed traditional subject matter for depictions of contemporary urban life that incorporated references to classic works. Although his work was critically dismissed, his unconventional painting style influenced the Impressionists.
Manitous or manidoogs are common to many Native groups in North American, including the Anishnabee. The sacred spirit-beings are tied to organisms, the environment, and events that help connect cultural narratives and their ways of being.
Mannomee, Kavavaow (Canadian, b. 1958)
Mannomee began his artistic career as a skilled printmaker for the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative (now Kinngait Studios), translating other artists’ drawings into prints for publication. He later began concentrating more on his own compositions: imaginative and personal drawings in ink and coloured pencil that can have a surreal quality.
Marc, Franz (German, 1880–1916)
A founder of Der Blaue Reiter (the Blue Rider), an association of German Expressionist artists, Marc was a painter and printmaker. His work, which features animals as embodiments of mystical energy, became increasingly abstract. He was killed in combat in the First World War.
Marie de l’Incarnation (French, 1599–1672)
An Ursuline nun and missionary, and founder of the Ursuline Order in Canada. Wedded at fourteen and widowed at thirty-two, she took her orders on the death of her husband, entrusting her son to her sister. She left France for Quebec in 1639 in the company of fellow religious women. They would become the first female missionaries in North America. She never returned to France.
Martin, David Stone (American, 1913–1992)
A prolific and influential graphic designer and illustrator with a kinetic, calligraphic style, Martin was an artist correspondent for Time-Life during the Second World War. He is most renowned for having created hundreds of album portraits, especially for jazz musicians such as John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday.
Martin, John (Canadian, 1904–1965)
A painter, watercolourist, printmaker, and illustrator and member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and the Canadian Group of Painters, Martin taught design at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto. His work is held by the National Gallery of Canada.
Martin, Ron (Canadian, b. 1943)
An abstract painter, Martin is concerned with the process and performance of artmaking. Since 1965 his paintings have been shown globally in solo and group exhibitions, including at the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Masaccio (Italian, 1401–1428)
An early Italian Renaissance master, whose signature use of light (to model his figures) and perspective (to situate them in three-dimensional space) influenced the development of Florentine painting. His Holy Trinity, a fresco in the church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, exemplifies his innovative style. Masaccio died at the age of 27 in Rome.
Masciuch, John (Canadian, b. 1944)
An active member of the 1960s Vancouver art scene who creates light-and-sound sculptures. These are sometimes interactive, activated by the viewer’s body. Also known as John Neon, Masciuch began collecting neon tubes to use in his work beginning in the late 1960s, eventually amassing five thousand of them.
Masson, Henri (Belgian/Canadian, 1907–1996)
Masson emigrated from Belgium to Canada as a teenager. In his early professional life he worked as an engraver, painting in the evenings. His first solo exhibition of paintings was at the Picture Loan Society in 1934. He exhibited internationally, and today his work is held in major institutions in Canada, including the Vancouver Art Gallery, Ontario Art Gallery, and National Gallery of Canada.
Mathieu, Georges (French, 1921–2012)
A sculptor, designer, illustrator, and painter who became interested in abstract painting in the 1940s. Mathieu’s work is associated with several similar postwar European movements—including Tachism and Art Informel—that privilege geometric abstraction and spontaneous mark making, and which he helped to pioneer.
A painting technique whereby successive layers of thickness and impasto are applied, and sometimes non-traditional matter, such as sand, gravel, plaster, or wax. The technique is generally associated with the European Art Informel movement of the 1950s and can be traced to the works of Jean Fautrier and Jean Dubuffet.
Matisse, Henri (French, 1869–1954)
A painter, sculptor, printmaker, draftsman, and designer, aligned at different times with the Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, and Fauvists. By the 1920s he was, with Pablo Picasso, one of the most famous painters of his generation, known for his remarkable use of colour and line.
Art derived from the Maya civilization, which emerged in the region of what is today Mexico and Central America. Mayans had advanced artistic practices, producing stone sculptures, painted ceramics, delicate figurines, jade jewellery, and masks. These art objects featured remarkable detail and colour.
McCarthy, Doris (Canadian, 1910–2010)
Trained by members of the Group of Seven, McCarthy went on to produce hundreds of landscape and abstract paintings and educate generations of students over the course of her remarkable eighty-year career. She was the first female president of the Ontario Society of Artists.
A Montreal museum of local and national history, opened in 1921. Included in the McCord’s diverse collection is the Notman Photographic Archives: approximately 1.3 million photographs by William Notman, his studio employees, and other photographers from the 1840s to the present, as well as photographic equipment and related material.
McCurry, H.O. (Canadian, 1889–1964)
An avid collector and advocate for the arts and art education in Canada, H.O. McCurry was patron to artist Tom Thomson and close with members of the Group of Seven. He was director of the National Gallery of Canada from 1939 to 1955.
McEwen, Jean (Canadian, 1923–1999)
Although he painted with the gestural and impasto techniques of the Automatistes, McEwen is properly called a Post-Automatiste painter because of the more structured and rigorous procedures of his signature all-over surfaces of texture and variegated hues. In Paris in 1952–53, he came under the influence of Jean-Paul Riopelle and Sam Francis, and with them discovered the work of Claude Monet.
McInnes, Graham Campbell (Australian, 1912–1970)
A diplomat and author, journalist, and broadcaster who immigrated to Canada in 1934, McInnes wrote several books, including A Short History of Canadian Art (1939).
McKague (Housser), Yvonne (Canadian, 1898–1996)
A painter and teacher, and a founding member of the Canadian Group of Painters and the Federation of Canadian Artists. Associated with the Group of Seven and the Art Students’ League, McKague painted Canadian landscapes in an increasingly abstract and expressionist style. She was awarded the Order of Canada in 1984.
McLaren, Norman (Scottish/Canadian, 1914–1987)
McLaren began his career at General Post Office (GPO) in Scotland before following film producer John Grierson to the National Film Board in Canada. An innovative filmmaker, McLaren created abstract and animated films and experimented with techniques such as drawing directly on celluloid, cutout animation, and superimpositions. He created 72 films over the course of his career.
McLaughlin, Isabel (Canadian, 1903–2002)
A modernist painter of landscapes and cityscapes. McLaughlin’s early paintings were influenced by the Group of Seven, though her work evolved toward a simplified aesthetic that integrated pattern and design. She was a founding member of the Canadian Group of Painters, becoming president of the society in 1939.
McLean, J.S. (Canadian, 1876–1954)
A business leader and art patron who amassed a major collection of Canadian modern art from 1934 to 1954. The collection, particularly strong in work by A.Y. Jackson, Carl Schaefer, Paraskeva Clark, and David Milne, was the subject of an exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada in 1952 and at the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1999; it is today conserved in large part at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
McLean, Jason (Canadian, b. 1971)
A London, Ontario–born artist whose highly personal paintings, sculptures, and drawings record his experiences in a spontaneous, cartoon-like idiom that combines text with recognizable figures and forms. His work is included in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada and the Vancouver Art Gallery, among many others.
McLuhan, Marshall (Canadian, 1911–1980)
A media theorist and public intellectual who became an international star with his 1964 book Understanding Media and who garnered a committed following within the 1960s counterculture. His phrase “the medium is the message” has reached the status of popular aphorism. He developed and directed the Centre for Culture and Technology (now the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology) at the University of Toronto.
McNeely, Tom (Canadian, b.1935)
A watercolour painter whose illustrative work was commissioned for television documentaries, print journalism, and books. Notably, McNeely illustrated the endpapers for many books by the popular Canadian historian Pierre Berton.
Mead, Ray (British/Canadian, 1921–1998)
A founding member of Painters Eleven, Mead was an Abstract Expressionist painter whose work, characterized by bold planes of colour, black and white shapes, and sophisticated composition, was inspired by his internal reflections on memories.
Developed by Norval Morrisseau and also called “Legend Art,” this is art created by the painters of the Woodland School. The term alludes to secret legends and healing power contained within the works’ images.
Usually carried by shamans in North American Indigenous cultures, a medicine bag contains sacred items personal to its carrier and used in various rituals. Contents might include feathers, healing plants, stone pipes, or animal skins.
Mednikoff, Reuben (British, 1906–1972)
An artist and poet who became the consort of Dr. Grace Pailthorpe. He introduced this influential teacher to the Surrealist technique of automatism. Mednikoff and Pailthorpe exhibited work at the International Surrealist Exhibition in London in 1936 and Andre Breton praised theirs as the best shown by British artists. Medinkoff, along with Pailthorpe, was also a founding member of the British Surrealist Group.
Mekas, Jonas (Lithuanian/American, b. 1922)
Considered the godfather of American avant-garde cinema, Mekas began making 16mm films upon arriving in New York in 1949. He was instrumental in forging and advocating for the city’s underground film scene. He organized screenings, founded the journal Film Culture, co-founded the Anthology Film Archives, and collaborated with artists including Salvador Dalí, Allen Ginsberg, John Lennon, and Andy Warhol.
Mexican mural painting
Commissioned by the Mexican government following the Mexican Revolution of 1910–20, Mexican mural paintings are highly visible public-art pieces that often depict common labourers and scenes of revolution. Prominent Mexican mural painters include José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siqueiros.
Michelangelo (Italian, 1475–1564)
A sculptor, painter, architect, engineer, and poet during the High Renaissance, Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was renowned during his lifetime and is considered one of the greatest artists in history. His best-known works include the sculptures David and Pietà, the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, and his design for the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome.
In Anishinaabe legend, this powerful water creature, “The Great Lynx,” lives in the Great Lakes and waters of the surrounding areas and can be a force of protection or destruction. Many images of Micipijiu can be found on rocks in the region, the most renowned on Lake Superior’s Agawa rock.
The formal, ceremonial rituals marking various passages of life for the Midewiwin, including birth, naming, first kill, puberty, marriage, and death.
A closed, ritual society mostly of Anishinaabe men, based in the upper Great Lakes region, the northern prairies, and some areas of the subarctic. Also called the Grand Medicine Society. The Midewiwin are responsible for their communities’ spiritual and physical health and healing.
Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig (German, 1886–1969)
A leading twentieth-century architect, furniture designer, and teacher largely responsible for the development of modernist architecture. He was director of the Bauhaus from 1930 until he closed it, under pressure from the Nazis, in 1933. In 1938 he moved to Chicago, where he taught and practised into the 1960s.
Miller, Alfred Jacob (American, 1810–1874)
A painter known for his Romantic depictions of the American West. Sweeping and dramatic or quietly intimate, these oil paintings of landscapes, fur trappers, and indigenous peoples arose from the hundreds of watercolour sketches Miller made in the 1830s while part of an expedition to the Rocky Mountains.
Milne, David (Canadian, 1881–1953)
A painter, printmaker, and illustrator whose work—principally landscapes—displays the tonal brilliance and concern with process of his Impressionist and Post-Impressionist influences. Milne lived in New York early in his career, where he trained at the Art Students League and participated in the Armory Show in 1913.
A branch of abstract art characterized by extreme restraint in form, most popular among American artists from the 1950s to 1970s. Although Minimalism can be expressed in any medium, it is most commonly associated with sculpture; principal Minimalists include Carl Andre, Donald Judd, and Tony Smith. Among the Minimalist painters were Agnes Martin, Barnett Newman, Kenneth Noland, and Frank Stella.
Mir Iskusstva (World of Art)
An art group and subsequently the name of a journal edited by Sergei Diaghilev, founder of the Ballets Russes. In the group, artists with Symbolist and Aestheticist tendencies prevailed, but there was little stylistic coherence among its members. The group and the journal promoted individualism and unity in the arts.
Miró, Joan (Spanish, 1883–1983)
A prolific artist and important figure in the history of abstract art in the twentieth century. Miró engaged with painting, sculpting, printmaking, and decorative arts, and throughout his long career sustained thematic interest in the influence of his native landscape on his artistic creation. French Surrealism influenced his work, though he is recognized to have developed his own deeply personal style.
Miskwaabik Animiiki (Copper Thunderbird)
The Anishinaabe name given to Norval Morrisseau when he was gravely ill as a young man. In Anishinaabe cosmology, copper holds sacred strength and the Thunderbird is a powerful manitou, or spirit, of the sky world.
A movement extending from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century in all the arts, modernism rejected academic traditions in favour of innovative styles developed in response to contemporary industrialized society. Beginning in painting with the Realist movement led by Gustave Courbet, it progressed through Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, and Cubism and on to abstraction. By the 1960s, anti-authoritarian postmodernist styles such as Pop art, Conceptual art, and Neo-Expressionism blurred the distinction between high art and mass culture.
Molinari, Guido (Canadian, 1933–2004)
A painter and theorist who was a member of the Plasticien movement in Montreal. His work, beginning in the mid-1950s, set new models for geometric painting internationally. His “razor-edged” Stripe Paintings create the illusion of a dynamic space, evoked by the viewer’s active engagement with how colours appear to change as they rhythmically repeat themselves across the canvas.
Mondrian, Piet (Dutch, 1872–1944)
A leading figure in abstract art, known for his geometric “grid” paintings of straight black lines and brightly coloured squares, whose influence on contemporary visual culture has been called the most far-reaching of any artist. Mondrian saw his highly restrictive and rigorous style, dubbed Neo-Plasticism, as expressive of universal truths.
Monet, Claude (French, 1840–1926)
A founder of the Impressionist movement in France, whose landscapes and seascapes are among the canonical works of Western art. Introduced to plein-air painting as a teenager, Monet returned to it throughout his life as a means of exploring the atmospheric effects and perceptual phenomena that so interested him as an artist.
A printmaking technique invented by Giovanni Castiglione around 1640 and revived in the late nineteenth century by, most notably, Paul Gauguin and Edgar Degas. A monoprint is produced by printing from a plate that is inked but otherwise untouched; the process typically yields only one good impression.
A type of print resulting from a process that yields only one impression. A monotype is produced by drawing or painting an image directly onto a bare matrix and then transferring it to paper under the pressure of a printing press.
Moore, Henry (British, 1898–1986)
One of the twentieth century’s most important sculptors. From its beginning, Moore’s work was influenced by non-European sculpture; later he also drew from natural sources, such as bones and pebbles. His technique most often involved carving directly into his material, whether wood, stone, or plaster.
Moreau, Gustave (French, 1826–1898)
A painter and educator, Moreau prefigured the Symbolist and Surrealist movements. He painted biblical stories and mythology, suffusing his work with a sense of the mystical. He taught Henri Matisse, Georges Rouault, and Albert Marquet at the École des beaux-arts in Paris.
Morisot, Berthe (French, 1841–1895)
A painter and printmaker who found success at the Paris Salons before becoming involved, in the late 1860s, with the fledgling Impressionist movement. She became one of its most significant figures, best known for paintings of domestic life.
Morisset, Gérard (Canadian, 1898–1970)
A lawyer by training, Morisset soon left the profession to dedicate himself to the study and promotion of Quebec culture. He was the director of the Musée du Québec from 1953 to 1965, and his collection of data and documentation related to Quebec artwork, begun in 1937, remains a valuable resource.
Morrice, James Wilson (Canadian, 1865–1924)
One of Canada’s first modernist painters and first artists to gain international recognition, during his lifetime Morrice was nonetheless more celebrated in Europe than he was at home. He is best known for richly coloured landscapes that show the influence of James McNeill Whistler and Post-Impressionism.
Morris, Michael (British/Canadian, b. 1942)
A versatile artist who has worked under multiple pseudonyms (including Marcel Dot and Marcel Idea) and in media from paint to video. Morris often works collaboratively and has emphasized the importance of artists’ networks throughout his career. Exemplifying this tendency is the Image Bank, a system for the exchange of information and ideas between artists, which he co-founded with Vincent Trasov in 1969. He (as Marcel Dot) was crowned Miss General Idea in 1971 in The 1971 Miss General Idea Pageant, 1971, an elaborate performance General Idea staged at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto.
Mortimer-Lamb, Harold (British/Canadian, 1872–1970)
career was in the mining industry, he was also an art critic. In appreciative
articles in The Canadian Magazine and Britain’s The Studio, to introduce the Group of Seven. As a photographer and
collector of paintings, ceramics, and photography, he co-founded the Vanderpant
Galleries in Vancouver and played a leading role in the Vancouver art scene. He
helped found the Vancouver Art Gallery. (See Robert Amos, Harold Mortimer-Lamb: The Art Lover.)
Motherwell, Robert (American, 1915–1991)
A member of the New York School, a major figure in Abstract Expressionism, and an influential teacher and lecturer, Motherwell employed the automatist technique to create many of his paintings and collages. Over the course of his career, he produced a series called Elegy to the Spanish Republic, inspired by the Spanish civil war.
Mousseau, Jean-Paul (Canadian, 1927–1991)
A painter, illustrator, and designer, and a fervent advocate of integrating art into architecture. Mousseau was a favoured protege of Paul-Émile Borduas and the youngest of the Montreal-based Automatistes. He was a prominent figure of the Montreal arts scene and worked in a range of media, including plastic, neon, and aluminum.
Muhlstock, Louis (Galician/Canadian, 1904–2001)
A painter and draftsman known for his sensitive and intimate representations of Depression-era Montreal. His celebrated talent for drawing comes through in his portraits, cityscapes, and interiors, which often show the effects of economic decline. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1991.
Munch, Edvard (Norwegian, 1863–1944)
Prefiguring the Expressionist movement, Munch’s work prominently represented the artist’s own emotions—fear, loneliness, sexual longing, and dread. A revered and prolific painter, printmaker, and draftsman, Munch is best known for his painting The Scream.
Murray, Robert (Canadian, b. 1936)
A New York–based, Saskatchewan-raised sculptor trained in Saskatoon, Regina, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Murray moved permanently to the United States in 1960; the same year, Saskatoon awarded him the first of his many public commissions. His work is held by major institutions throughout the United States and Canada.
A Toronto institution dedicated to the development, production, and presentation of experimental music, founded in 1976 by Peter Anson and Al Mattes, original members of the nine-piece “free-music orchestra,” the CCMC.
Muybridge, Eadweard (British, 1830–1904)
A landscape and experimental photographer best known for his groundbreaking motion studies. From 1872—when he famously photographed the gait of Leland Stanford’s horse—to the 1890s, Muybridge made thousands of photographs capturing the movements of animals and humans; some 20,000 were included in the portfolio Animal Locomotion (1887).
Myre, Nadia (Canadian, b. 1974)
A multidisciplinary artist and member of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation, Myre explores issues of identity, language, loss, and desire in her practice. Her work often involves the participation of others, such as in her ongoing Scar Project (begun in 2004), which asks viewers to express their “wounds” through specific creative processes. Myre won the prestigious Sobey Art Award in 2014.