Pach, Walter (American, 1883–1958)
An author, critic, and artist who championed modern art. He organized the landmark International Exhibition of Modern Art, known as the Armory Show, in New York, Chicago, and Boston in 1913.
Pachner, William (American, b.1915)
Having fled Europe for the United States in 1939, Pachner became art director of Esquire magazine. Ending his career as a commercial artist, he turned exclusively to painting in response to the Holocaust. His Abstract Expressionist works are defined by swirling, multi-layered colours and texture.
Packer, Allan (Canadian, b. 1956)
Born in Windsor, Ontario, Packer travelled to Cape Dorset in 1980 to help develop the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative (now Kinngait Studios). His experiences there would have a profound influence on his later artistic development. Now resident in Seattle, Washington, Packer creates cast sculptures, often informed by his abiding interest in mathematics.
Paige, Mimi (n.d.)
An artist and muse of General Idea. She was involved in the collective’s early events and publications, and also appears in some of their videos, including Loco, 1982. She was one of four people crowned Miss General Idea in the collective’s satirical and experimental beauty pageants (Paige was retroactively crowned winner of the 1968 Miss General Idea Pageant).
Pailthorpe, Grace (British, 1883–1971)
A psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who explored aspects of the unconscious through her paintings, drawings, and poems. The artist Reuben Mednikoff introduced her to Surrealism in 1935; in 1936 they helped found the British Surrealist Group and participated in the First International Surrealist Exhibition, where Pailthorpe cemented her reputation as a leader of the movement in Britain. In the early 1940s she worked in Vancouver, lectured on Surrealism and exhibited there, and returned to Britain in 1946.
An artists’ group active from 1953 to 1960, formed by eleven Abstract Expressionist Toronto-area painters, including Harold Town, Jack Bush, and William Ronald. They joined together in an effort to increase their exposure, given the limited interest in abstract art in Ontario at the time.
Palardy, Jean (American/Canadian, 1905–1991)
A painter, writer, ethnologist, art historian, and filmmaker who studied at the Montreal School of Fine Arts. In 1941 he began a long association with the National Film Board as a director, screenwriter, cinematographer, and producer. His book on historical furniture design in Quebec was highly influential, and he became a consultant on restoration and museum projects, including the Grande Hermine (a replica of Jacques Cartier’s ship), the Fortress of Louisbourg, and the Chateau Ramezay. He married the artist Jori Smith in the early 1930s.
A material traditionally used to create small objects and sculpture, composed of wet pulped or shredded paper mixed with a binding agent, such as glue or tree resin. It hardens when baked or air-dried. Papier mâché is now extensively used in packaging.
Parent, Omer (Canadian, 1907–2000)
A painter, photographer, decorator, and filmmaker, and an important if secretive figure of the Quebec avant-garde. A close friend of Alfred Pellan and Fernand Léger, Parent moved with Pellan to Paris in 1926 to attend the École des arts décoratifs. He was the founder and first director of the École des arts visuels at Université Laval.
Paris World Exposition, 1867
The second Paris world’s fair, which took place under Napoleon III, in the Champ-de-Mars. Although largely dedicated to industry, it included fine art exhibitions; works by Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Gustave Courbet, and other painters now considered the era’s most important were not included, having been rejected by the selection committee.
Parizeau, Marcel (Canadian, 1898–1945)
A prominent Québecois architect and teacher who trained at Montreal’s École polytechnique and at the École des beaux-arts in Paris, where he lived for ten years. In 1933 Parizeau returned to Montreal, where he designed houses and municipal buildings—notably the huge silos of the city’s Old Port—in the stripped down International Style.
Parker, Al (American, 1906–1985)
Considered an innovator of illustration at his time, Al Parker was a prominent magazine illustrator from the 1940s to the 1960s. His work appeared in publications such as Sports Illustrated, Cosmopolitan, McCalls, Vogue, and the Saturday Evening Post.
Parkin, John C. (Canadian, 1911–1975)
A Toronto architect and teacher, Parkin founded John C. Parkin Associates (today Parkin Architects Limited) in 1947, now one of the ten largest architectural firms in the world. In 1970 he opened an office in Los Angeles, where he taught at the University of Southern California and the California Institute of Technology.
Pascin, Jules (Bulgarian, 1885–1930)
Active most of his life in Paris, Pascin produced prints, paintings, and drawings that capture a bohemian existence spent in brothels, in nightclubs, on nighttime city streets, and travelling in the southern United States and Cuba. His best-known works are studies from the 1920s of nude or half-dressed teenage girls.
Passion of Christ
The sufferings of Christ during his last days, including the Crucifixion. The Passion of Christ is a popular subject in Christian religious and folk art.
Patton, Andy (Canadian, b. 1952)
A Toronto-based painter, scholar, and teacher at OCAD University. Patton’s work over the past decade has been deeply inspired by classical Chinese calligraphy, particularly its dual nature as both a visual and a literary art.
Pellan, Alfred (Canadian, 1906–1988)
A painter active in Paris art circles in the 1930s and 1940s. In Montreal Pellan taught at the École des beaux-arts from 1943 to 1952. He was the leader of the short-lived Prisme d’yeux (1948), a painters’ group that opposed and wanted to discredit the ideas of the Automatistes. His work from the 1950s on is markedly Surrealist.
Pemberton, Sophie (Canadian, 1869–1959)
A landscape and portrait painter first trained in San Francisco and London and then at the Académie Julian in Paris, where she became the first Canadian and the first woman to win a prestigious Prix Julian. Pemberton participated in the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition and showed her work at the Paris Salon and the Royal Academy.
Pepper, Kathleen Daly (Canadian, 1898–1994)
A painter trained by members of the Group of Seven J.E.H. MacDonald and Arthur Lismer (among other prominent early twentieth-century painters), and whose work is closely associated with theirs, though her stylistic interpretation of her subjects and use of colour is unique. She married painter George Pepper in 1929; the two worked closely together until his death in 1956. She exhibited in Canada and internationally, including at the Tate Gallery in London.
Père Couturier (French, 1897–1954)
Père Marie Alain Couturier was a Dominican friar, Catholic priest, and designer who played a major role in revivifying mid-twentieth century sacred art in France. He believed that the liturgy and beauty were connected, and sought to join contemporary artistic tendencies to ecclesiastical decoration. Through his efforts, modern masters, including Henri Matisse, Fernand Léger, Marc Chagall, and Le Corbusier, came to create works for French churches. Couturier had a significant influence on the development of modern art in Quebec as a result of his stays in Montreal and Quebec City during the Second World War.
Perron, Maurice (Canadian, 1924–1999)
A photographer close to the Automatistes, Perron first met Paul-Émile Borduas when he was a student at Montreal’s École du meuble, where Borduas taught until 1948. His elegant and sometimes striking photographs of the group’s members, activities, artwork, and performances illustrate most of the Automatistes’ publications. Perron was a signatory to the 1948 Refus global manifesto.
Petrov-Vodkin, Kuzma (Russian, 1878–1939)
A painter and writer, and an important figure in twentieth-century Soviet art. His compositions were often allegorical and idealistic, and combined old and new styles to remarkable affect; his most famous painting, Bathing of the Red Horse, 1912, became iconic among Russian avant-gardists on its debut that same year at the Mir Iskusstva (World of Art) exhibition.
Pflug, Christiane (German/Canadian, 1936–1972)
A painter born in Germany during the Second World War, who lived in Paris and Tunisia before moving to Toronto with her young family in 1959. She was represented in her adopted city by the influential Isaacs Gallery and became well known for her precise, otherworldly paintings of her domestic surrounds.
A photomechanical process—that is, a means of translating photographs into ink-based prints—in use since the 1950s. Offset lithographs are composed of differently coloured dots, visible under magnification, that blend together when viewed by the naked eye, thus creating the illusion of continuous tone.
A technique of collage that uses photographs and/or photographic reproductions to create compositions, often employed to express political agendas or dissent.
An art style that reached its peak in the United States in the 1970s, in which paintings—often large-format acrylics—imitate or even duplicate photographs. Also called Hyperrealism and Superrealism, Photorealism has been most famously practised by Chuck Close, Malcolm Morley, and Richard Estes.
Picabia, Francis (French, 1879–1953)
A painter, poet, and leader of the anti-rationalist and antiwar Dada movement in Europe that arose in protest against the art establishment and the First World War. Picabia’s artistic production was so diverse as to remain unclassifiable; beginning as a Post-Impressionist, he experimented with Fauvism, Cubism, Orphism, and Futurism.
Picasso of the North
The moniker refers to Ojibway artist Norval Morrisseau, who was called this by the French media when his work was exhibited in Magicians of the Earth at Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris in 1989.
Picasso, Pablo (Spanish, 1881–1973)
One of the most famous and influential artists of his time, Picasso was a prominent member of the Parisian avant-garde circle that included Henri Matisse and Georges Braque. His painting Les demoiselles d’Avignon, 1906–7, is considered by many to be the most important of the twentieth century.
Picher, Claude (Canadian, 1927–1998)
A landscape painter who studied in Quebec City under Jean Paul Lemieux before attending the New School for Social Research in the United States and Paris’s École du Louvre and École des beaux-arts. His boldly graphic compositions are sometimes so stripped of detail and colour modelling as to border on abstraction.
An ancient art form, pictographs constitute a category of rock art in which images were created by applying, with a finger or brushes, paints or dyes (commonly red ochre, black, white, and yellow) to rock surfaces.
Picture Loan Society
Established by Duncan Douglas and others in 1936, this gallery was the first in Canada to lease art to prospective clients in a system of low-cost rental fees. The Picture Loan Society also provided affordable exhibition space for artists. Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald, Paul-Émile Borduas, Harold Town, Isabel McLaughlin, and Bertram Brooker were among the many artists who were affiliated with the gallery.
The surface of a picture, and the area where its foreground elements reside. The picture plane can be thought of as a window through which the viewer sees a depicted world, or the point where the viewer’s eye makes contact with that world.
A term developed in late eighteenth-century Britain that refers to a particular variety of landscape and to a style of painting and design. The wilder areas of the British Isles, for example, were understood as perfectly “picturesque.” It draws from contemporary notions of the sublime and the beautiful.
Pierron, Jean (French, 1631–1700)
A Jesuit priest and missionary and talented draughtsman and painter, who developed a method of conversion based upon didactic imagery. He arrived in New France in 1667 to assist with the reopening of the Iroquois missions around the Hudson Valley, and later travelled through New England. He returned to France in 1678.
Pilot, Robert (Canadian, 1898–1967)
A painter of landscapes, seascapes, and murals best known for his soft, atmospheric depictions of Maritime coastlines, the St. Lawrence River, and snow-capped Rocky Mountains. He was the stepson of Maurice Cullen, from whom he received much of his early training.
Pissarro, Camille (Danish/French, 1830–1903)
An influential art teacher and innovator who was largely self-taught, Pissarro was born in Saint Thomas (now in the U.S. Virgin Islands) and moved to Paris in 1855. He participated in all eight Impressionist exhibitions, but in the 1880s his style tended to Post-Impressionism, and he explored the technique of Pointillism.
Pitsiulak, Tim (Canadian, 1967–2016)
A prominent member of the artistic community of Cape Dorset. His meticulous prints, drawings, sculptures, and jewellery convey the natural environment and everyday life. His work is held by numerous public institutions, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Winnipeg, and the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Plamondon, Antoine (Canadian, 1804–1895)
A painter of religious and secular subjects, trained in the Neoclassical style in Paris by the court painter Jean-Baptiste Paulin Guérin, himself a pupil of the celebrated Neoclassicist Jacques-Louis David. Plamondon was the leading Quebec portraitist of his day and was patronized by members the city’s rising bourgeoisie.
Plamondon, Marius (Canadian, 1914–1976)
A notable glass artist and sculptor, Plamondon first studied stained glass design in Paris with Henri Charlier in the late 1930s. On returning to Quebec he completed numerous important commissions, including a series of ten windows for St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal. He was director of the École des beaux-arts de Québec from 1963 to 1970.
A Montreal-based artists’ group active from 1955 to 1959. Although not opposed to their contemporaries the Automatistes, the Plasticiens encouraged a more formalist, less subjective approach to abstract art, such as that of Neo-Plasticist Piet Mondrian. Members included Louis Belzile, Jean-Paul Jérôme, Fernand Toupin, and Jauran (Rodolphe de Repentigny).
French for “open air,” used to describe the practice of painting or sketching outdoors to observe nature and in particular the changing effects of light.
Pohorecky, Zenon (Ukranian/Canadian, 1928–1998)
An artist, human rights activist, and University of Saksatchewan professor of anthropology and archaeology for more than thirty years. One of Pohorecky’s major scholarly contributions was his pioneering research and writing on the culture, history, and rights of Saskatchewan’s Indigenous peoples.
A commercial gallery established by the Canadian-born art dealer and collector Elinor Poindexter in New York City in 1955. The gallery showed work by artists from California and New York—including Richard Diebenkorn, Jules Olitski, and Michael Snow—before closing in 1978.
A painting technique developed in 1886 by Georges Seurat and Paul Signac as an offshoot of Impressionism. In this style, rather than broken brushstrokes, artists used thousands of small dots of intense and complementary colours that coalesced to make their images. In this way they developed an understanding of how the human eye works and the reality of light as a spectrum of colour.
An American company founded in 1937 by the chemist and inventor Edwin H. Land, most famous for its instant film cameras. Released onto the market in 1948 amid great excitement, Polaroid cameras were immensely popular with photographers, artists, and the general public until the rise of digital photography in the 1990s.
Poliakoff, Serge (French, 1906–1969)
Born in Russia, the painter Poliakoff moved first to London and then to Paris. Influenced most notably by Robert Delaunay, he became increasingly devoted to abstract art after 1938. He is known primarily for his exceptional mastery of colour and remains a significant figure in postwar abstract painting.
Pollock, Jackson (American, 1912–1956)
Leader of the Abstract Expressionist movement, best known for his drip paintings of the 1940s and 1950s. Pollock is also closely associated with action painting, in which the act of painting is gestural and the artist approaches the canvas with little notion of what he or she will create.
Pommier, Hugues (French, 1637–1686)
A priest, missionary, and painter, who spent fourteen years in New France working in six different developing parishes. Pommier has been called the only portrait painter in Quebec in his time; only three of his portraits survive, located in various Quebec institutions.
Also called the Nabis. Pont Aven is a commune (town and township) in Brittany, famous in the late nineteenth century for its picturesque charm and inexpensive accommodation. Numerous artists, among them Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, and the Canadian Paul Peel, frequented Pont Aven, a place where artists practised very different styles of painting, from academicism to Impressionism. Some, influenced by Gauguin, called themselves Synthetists, because they worked with non-realist elements, pure colours, and flattened images.
Poole, Nancy (Canadian, b. 1930)
A writer, gallerist, educator, museum director, and leading member of the arts community of London, Ontario, from the late 1960s to the 1990s. Through Nancy Poole’s Studio—her gallery in London and another in Toronto with the same name—she supported and promoted emerging artists, including Jack Chambers and Tony Urquhart.
Pootoogook, Annie (Canadian, 1969–2016)
One of Canada’s most prominent Inuit artists, whose non-traditional and very personal drawings and prints convey her experience of present-day life in Cape Dorset. Her extraordinarily artistic family includes her parents, Eegyvadluq and Napachie Pootoogook, and her grandmother Pitseolak Ashoona. In 2006 Annie Pootoogook won the prestigious Sobey Art Award and in 2007 was exhibited in Germany at Documenta 12.
Pootoogook, Cee (Canadian, b. 1967)
A carver since about 1990, Cee Pootoogook turned to drawing and stonecut printmaking in 2009. His work depicts both contemporary and traditional subjects: scenes of daily Cape Dorset life as well as Arctic wildlife and Inuit spirits. A third-generation artist, he is the brother of Annie Pootoogook and is Shuvinai Ashoona’s first cousin.
Pootoogook, Napachie (Canadian, 1938–2002)
Napachie Pootoogook was born in Sako, a camp on the southwest coast of Baffin Island, and took up drawing in the late 1950s alongside her mother, Pitseolak Ashoona. While her earliest prints and drawings largely depict the Inuit spirit world, from the 1970s she concentrated on more earth-bound subjects, including historical events and traditional life and customs.
A movement of the late 1950s to early 1970s in Britain and the United States, which adopted imagery from commercial design, television, and cinema. Pop art’s most recognized proponents are Richard Hamilton, David Hockney, Andy Warhol, and Roy Lichtenstein.
post-colonial art history
An art history informed by critical theorization of the social, political, and cultural consequences of colonialism or imperialism for both the colonizers and the colonized. Post-colonial or settler art history explores questions of national identity, ethnicity, agency, and authenticity in the work of artists within cross-cultural contexts.
A term coined by the British art critic Roger Fry in 1910 to describe painting produced originally in France between about 1880 and 1905 in response to Impressionism’s artistic advances and limitations. Central figures include Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, and Vincent van Gogh.
A style of modernist painting championed by the critic Clement Greenberg, who invented the term as the title for a significant exhibition he curated for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art that also toured to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Art Gallery of Ontario. The style favoured the openness and clarity of thinly applied planes of colour. Artists associated with the style include Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, and the Canadians Jack Bush and Kenneth Lochhead.
A broad art historical category of contemporary art that uses both traditional and new media to deconstruct cultural history and deploys theory in its attack on modernist ideals. Canadian postmodern artists include Janice Gurney, Mark Lewis, Ken Lum, and Joanne Tod.
Poussin, Nicolas (French, 1594–1665)
A leading figure in Baroque-era painting, although his pictures repudiated specifically Baroque stylistics. He arrived in Rome from France in 1624, and would live and work in this capital of Renaissance art for the rest of his life. Poussin is known for his classicizing style, which would influence later artists, including the masterful neoclassicist Jacques Louis David.
Pratt, Christopher (Canadian, b. 1935)
A renowned Newfoundland painter and printmaker whose work is characterized by precision, flatness, intense focus on a single subject, and an almost artificial sense of light. His pictures of ordinary local scenes and figures have an otherworldly quality. He designed the provincial flag of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1980.
Pratt, Mary (Canadian, b. 1935)
One of Canada’s most prominent artists, whose use of light in particular transforms quotidian objects and moments into deeply meaningful subjects. Pratt’s style developed in response to the demands on her time as the mother of four children; unable to paint scenes that struck her in the moment, she began recording them with a camera for later use.
A group of artists and critics founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and John Everett Millais who sought to combine the spirituality and intensity of fifteenth-century art with the naturalism of their own time. The original group had disbanded by the early 1850s, but strains of its doctrines and stylistics carried on in the work of associated and later artists into the twentieth century.
Precisionism was a tendency, rather than a formal school or organized movement, in American art of the 1920s and 1930s. It is characterized by simple, sharply outlined forms; the smooth handling of paint; and American regionalist, urban, or industrial subjects. Leading Precisionists included Charles Sheeler and Elsie Driggs.
Prent, Mark (Canadian, b. 1947)
A sculptor whose dark and often disturbing forms were not usually favoured by the Canadian art establishment of the 1970s when he emerged on the scene. Invited with decreasing frequency to participate in exhibitions at home, he moved to Vermont with his family in 1983. His work has been the subject of major exhibitions in Germany and at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
A sensibility in various aspects of early European modern art in which non-Western and European folk-art forms and tribal objects were idealized, as was a simple way of life associated with Indigenous cultures. Pablo Picasso, Paul Gaugin, and the Expressionist group Die Brücke (“The Bridge”) embraced elements of primitivism.
Prisme d’yeux manifesto
An artists’ manifesto published on February 4, 1948, in Montreal, Prisme d’yeux was drafted by Jacques de Tonnacour and co-signed by fifteen artists, including Alfred Pellan, the founder of the group. Conceived of in opposition to the prescriptive Automatiste movement, Prisme d’yeux called for an art free of all aesthetic and ideological constraints.
The transparent ink colours cyan, magenta, yellow and black used to reproduce full-colour photographs or artworks in offset lithographic printing.
Professional Native Indian Artists Inc.
Informally founded in the early 1970s and incorporated in 1975, this avant-garde association of Woodland School artists championed the inclusion of Indigenous art in mainstream Canadian art circles and aimed to foster revisionist thinking about Indigenous art and culture. Members included Jackson Beardy, Eddy Cobiness, Alex Janvier, Norval Morrisseau, Daphne Odjig, Carl Ray, and Joseph Sanchez.
Pudlat, Pudlo (1916–1992)
A prolific first-generation Inuit artist who began his career in the 1950s, drawing with a lead pencil. As his career progressed, he adopted other media, including felt-tip pen and coloured pencil, and his iconography included imagined scenes, animals, and airplanes. His work is known to be imbued with the artist’s unique sense of humour.
Punch, Pulchinell, Petroushka
A centuries-old stock character born of the Italian commedia dell’arte. Many regional variations on Pulchinello (in Italian) exist, developing as the character spread across Europe beginning in the 1600s. Under the Bolsheviks in Russia, the Petroushka character defended poor peasants and attacked wealthy landlords.