Paterson Ewen wrote very little about his life or his work. Instead, he preferred to let his art speak for itself. Ewen was an avid reader, and his interests in art, literature, weather, and celestial phenomena are clearly visible in his paintings. The best analyses of his art and its influences were produced in the context of key exhibitions, in particular those held in Vancouver (1977), Saskatoon (1987), and Toronto (1988 and 1996).


Paterson Ewen photographed with Gibbous Moon, 1980
Paterson Ewen photographed with Gibbous Moon, 1980, at an exhibition of his work organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, in 1988, photograph by Doug Griffin. Ewen’s orange shirt matches the dominant hue of this moon, which seems to identify the artist even more intimately with this work.



Selected Solo Exhibitions


Gallery XII, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.



February, Parma Gallery, New York.




February 10–22, Galerie Denyse Delrue, Montreal.



November, Gallery XII, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.



March, Paterson Ewen Retrospective, Dunkelman Gallery, Toronto.



February, Paterson Ewen Retrospective, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.


October 31–November 18, Carmen Lamanna Gallery, Toronto.



January 6–25, Paterson Ewen Retrospective 1947–1969, 20/20 Gallery, London, Ontario.



January 5–20, Phenomena-scapes by Paterson Ewen, Carmen Lamanna Gallery, Toronto.



November 6–30, Paterson Ewen Retrospective, London Regional Art Gallery (now Museum London), Ontario.



Beginning May 1977, Paterson Ewen: Recent Works, Vancouver Art Gallery. Travelled to the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax; Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge; Sir George Williams Art Gallery, Montreal; Art Gallery of Windsor, Ontario; and Winnipeg Art Gallery.


June 13–September 12, 40th Venice Biennale, Italy.



November 26, 1982–January 16, 1983, Paterson Ewen, Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris, France.



November 20, 1987–January 3, 1988, Paterson Ewen: The Montreal Years, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon.



January 22–April 3, Paterson Ewen: Phenomena; Paintings, 1971–1987, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, and five other centres.



November 11–December 14, Carmen Lamanna Gallery, Toronto.



June 25–September 1, Paterson Ewen: Critical Works; Works on Paper, 1949–1992, Art Gallery of Hamilton.


September 17–October 10, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver.



May 4–June 5, Paterson Ewen: Recent Paintings, Paolo Baldacci Gallery, New York.


July 2–August 30, Paterson Ewen: Interior Motives, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon.



From September 20, Paterson Ewen: Earthly Weathers, Heavenly Skies, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.


September 28–October 26, Olga Korper Gallery, Toronto.



January 17–February 28, Olga Korper Gallery, Toronto.



January–February 5, Paterson Ewen: Recent Paintings, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.


September 28–October 28, Olga Korper Gallery, Toronto.



June 1–29, Olga Korper Gallery, Toronto. 



February 8–June 19, Paterson Ewen: Inspiration and Influence, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.



Key Group Exhibitions


March 14–April 9, 67th Annual Spring Exhibition, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.


L’Exposition des Rebelles, Montreal.



February 11–28, Espace 55, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.



December 1960–January 1961, The Non-Figurative Artists’ Association of Montréal, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Travelled to Brandon Allied Arts Centre; New Westminster Public Library; Norman MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina; Banff School of Fine Arts; Edmonton Art Gallery; and University of Alberta, Calgary.



June 26–August 23, La Peinture canadienne moderne, 5th Festival dei Due Mondi, Spoleto, Italy.



July–September, 7th Biennial of Canadian Painting, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.


March 19–31, Pie in the Sky, 77 Avenue Road, Toronto.



January 16–February 16, The Canadian Canvas. Travelling exhibition sponsored by Time Canada Ltd.: Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; Musée du Québec, Quebec City; Edmonton Art Gallery; Vancouver Art Gallery; Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Anna Leonowens Art Gallery and Dalhousie University Art Gallery, Halifax; Alberta College of Art, Calgary; and Winnipeg Art Gallery.


March 16–April 26, A Response to the Environment, Rutgers University Art Gallery, New Brunswick, New Jersey.



February 1976–March 1977, Changing Visions: The Canadian Landscape, organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, and the Edmonton Art Gallery; exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario and ten other centres.



June 11–July 16, Nine Canadian Artists / Kanadische Künstler, Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland.



July 9–October 2, 20th Century Canadian Painting. Travelling exhibition in Japan organized by the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.



November 13–19, Focus: Canadian Art, 1960–1985, Art Cologne, 20th Internationaler Kunstmarkt, Cologne, Germany.


May 1–July 2, Montreal Painting of the 1960s, Americas Society Art Gallery, New York.



November 18, 1992–January 31, 1993, The Crisis of Abstraction in Canada: The 1950s, organized by the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; exhibited at Musée du Québec, Quebec City, and four other centres.



September 14, 2012–January 25, 2013, If the Sky Falls: The Heavens in Canadian Art, Museum London, Ontario.



April 15–May 11, A Circle of Friends: The Doreen Curry Collection, McIntosh Gallery, Western University, London, Ontario.




Selected Writings by Paterson Ewen

“About Marian Scott.” 20 Cents Magazine 3, no. 9 (November 1969).


“An Autobiographical Statement.” Brick 32 (Winter 1988): 23–24.


Between Heaven and Earth: Paterson Ewen. Montreal: Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, 1997.


“Paterson Ewen, March, 1976.” In Artists Talk: 1969–1977, edited by Peggy Gale, 334–53. Halifax: The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 2004.



Critical Interpretations

Catalogue from the 1982 Venice Biennale
Cover of the catalogue from the 1982 Venice Biennale.

Bradley, Jessica. Paterson Ewen; Biennale di Venezia, 1982; Canada. Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 1982. Catalogue.


Campbell, James D. Startled Wonder: The Phenomenascapes of Paterson Ewen. Toronto: Carmen Lamanna Gallery, 1989.


Fraser, Heather A. “Paterson Ewen: The Turn from Non-Figurative to Figurative Painting.” Journal of Canadian Art History 13, no. 1 (1990):



Freedman, Adele. “Phenomenology.” Canadian Art 4, no. 4 (Winter 1987): 60–67.


Graham, Ron. “Paterson Ewen: The Artist’s Dilemma.” Canadian Art 13, no. 3 (Fall 1996): 70–79.


Hatch, John G. “The Story behind Asteroid 14060 Patersonewen.” In Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena VIII: City of Stars, Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series, volume 501, edited by Brian Patrick Abbott, 67–73. San Francisco: Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 2015.


Monk, Philip. Paterson Ewen, Phenomena: Paintings, 1971–1987. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 1987. Catalogue.


Rochon, Lisa. “The Bandaged Man: The Art of Paterson Ewen.” Brick 32 (Winter 1988): 19–22.


Teitelbaum, Matthew, ed., Paterson Ewen. Vancouver and Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre and the Art Gallery of Ontario, 1996. Catalogue.


Teitelbaum, Matthew. Paterson Ewen: The Montreal Years. Saskatoon: Mendel Art Gallery, 1987. Catalogue.



Key Interviews

The chronology in the 1996 catalogue by Matthew Teitelbaum contains an excellent selection of quotes from various interviews Paterson Ewen gave throughout his life, including the three Teitelbaum conducted and recorded between 1986 and 1990.


Book accompanying the 1996 exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario
Cover of Paterson Ewen, the book accompanying the 1996 exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.

Canadian Broadcasting Company. Paterson Ewen/Packaged: March 12, 1998, Edition of Adrienne Clarkson Presents. CBC, 1998. Videocassette.


Johnson, Nick. “Paterson Ewen: Rain.” artscanada 32, no. 1 (March 1975): 40–45.
Shadbolt, Doris, and Nick Johnson. Paterson Ewen: Recent Works. Vancouver: Vancouver Art Gallery, 1977. Catalogue.



Audio and Video

Paterson Ewen. 11 min. Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Groupe de recherche en arts médiatiques, 1997. Videocassette.  


Paterson Ewen: A Mural Commission for the University of Lethbridge. 44 min. The University of Lethbridge Library, 1981. Videocassette.



Further Reading

Grace, Sherrill E. Canada and the Idea of North. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001.


Catalogue for Nine Canadian Artists / Kanadische Künstler, 1978, Kunsthalle, Basel
Cover of the catalogue for Nine Canadian Artists / Kanadische Künstler, 1978, Kunsthalle, Basel.

Nasgaard, Roald. Abstract Painting in Canada. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2007.


Newlands, Anne. Canadian Paintings, Prints and Drawings. Richmond Hill, ON: Firefly Books, 2007.


O’Brian, John, and Peter White. Beyond Wilderness: The Group of Seven, Canadian Identity, and Contemporary Art. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007.


Reid, Dennis. A Concise History of Canadian Painting, 3rd ed. Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press, 2012.


Paterson Ewen was particularly fond of literature, and Goethe, Thomas Mann, and Vladimir Nabokov were among his favourite authors. Other titles that were important to him include:


Ashton, Dore. Philip Guston. New York: Grove Press, 1960.


The Evergreen Review.


Lloyd, Goodrich. Albert P. Ryder. New York: George Braziller Inc., 1959.


Sagan, Carl, and Ann Druyan. Comet. New York: Random House, 1985.


Van der Wolk, Johannes, and Ronald Pickvance. Vincent van Gogh: Drawings. Milan: Mondadori, 1990.


Watts, Alan. Instant Weather Forecasting. Toronto: General Publishing Co., 1968.

Download Download