• B.C. Indian Arts and Welfare Society (BCIAWS)

    The non-Indigenous–operated B.C. Indian Arts and Welfare Society (BCIAWS) was formed in the late 1930s to protect and promote Native arts and crafts. Led by Victorian educator Alice Ravenhill, it involved church and residential school leaders, such as missionary/collector Reverend George H. Raley. BCIAWS awarded scholarships and held exhibitions to encourage young Native artists attending residential and day schools to develop Native arts and craft skills. These activities aimed to find ways for Native communities to make money and become self-sufficient within the economic structure of colonial society.

  • Bacon, Yehuda (Czech/Israeli, b.1929)

    A Jewish artist and Holocaust survivor, Yehuda Bacon depicted his experiences in the Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, Mauthausen, and Gunskirchen concentration camps in ink drawings, which attempt to reconcile the artist with his traumatic history. Drawings of the gas chamber and crematoria at Auschwitz that he created following his liberation were used as evidence in the trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1961 and 1962 in Jerusalem.

  • Baillargé, François (Canadian, 1759–1830)

    A painter, sculptor, architect, and civic official, François Baillairgé began his career in religious painting and sculpture after abandoning his studies in Paris. His practice includes original compositions and copies. He became an important architect, responsible for the planning and design of Quebec’s Palace of Justice (1799), the old Quebec Prison (1808–11, today the Morrin College building), and the old Trois-Rivières Prison (1816–22).

  • Baldessari, John (American, 1931–2020)

    A California-based artist credited as one of the founders of Conceptual art. In the mid-1960s, Baldessari, then a painter, began incorporating photography and text into his work, and in the 1970s ventured into sculpture, installation, film, and printmaking. He often appropriated images and modified, erased, recombined, and placed them alongside text to transform their meaning, as well as to provide social commentary on contemporary culture. Baldessari is known for his photographic images overlaid with coloured dots.

  • Balla, Giacomo (Italian, 1871–1958)

    Primarily a painter and sculptor, Balla was a prominent member of the Italian Futurist movement, signing its second manifesto, on painting, in 1910 and exhibiting with the group in 1913. Interested in the nature of speed and movement and influenced by the motion photography of Étienne-Jules Marey, Balla’s paintings depicted what he called “dynamic sequences”: depictions of moving bodies that pushed their subjects into abstraction to capture motion.

  • Ballets Russes

    A Paris-based ballet company formed by the Russian impresario Sergei Diaghilev in 1909. Part of France’s early twentieth-century avant-garde, Ballets Russes performed its first season in Paris; it later toured France and abroad, influencing a resurgent interest in ballet. Productions were treated as collaborations of artists from various disciplines. Georges Balanchine, Jean Cocteau, Michel Fokine, Joan Miró, Anna Pavlova, Pablo Picasso, and Igor Stravinsky were among the many dancers, choreographers, painters, and composers associated with Ballets Russes, which disbanded in 1929.

  • Balthus (French, 1908–2001)

    Born Balthasar Klossowski de Rola, this self-taught painter, illustrator, and stage designer from a highly artistic family whose circle included writer Rainer Maria Rilke and artist Pierre Bonnard. Although precociously talented, Balthus was not widely appreciated until late in his career, perhaps because his classically inspired oeuvre appeared incongruent with the ethos of modernism, which dominated the fine arts of his era.

  • Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

    Established in 1933 as the Banff School of Drama, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is a post-secondary institution located in Banff National Park, Alberta. Founded by the University of Alberta, the Centre offers educational programs in the performing, literary, and visual arts. It is particularly well known for its artist residencies and practicum programs, having served as a site of artistic inspiration and creative practice for many Canadian artists since its founding.

  • Bannerman, Frances Jones (Canadian, 1855–1940)

    An oil painter, watercolourist, and poet, Bannerman was one of the earliest North Americans to work in the Impressionist style. She became the first woman to be elected an associate member of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1882. At the Paris Salon in 1883, Bannerman contributed Le Jardin d’hiver, a rare early representation of Canadian subject matter to be shown at the exhibition. Later in life, the artist developed rheumatoid arthritis and turned her focus to poetry.

  • Bannister, Edward Mitchell (Canadian/American, 1828–1901)

    A New Brunswick-born artist and member of the American Barbizon School, a group of Realist painters who, like the French Barbizon school they drew inspiration from, focused on the depiction of rural scenes and pastoral landscapes. Bannister spent the majority of his life in New England, where he became an influential figure in the Boston abolitionist movement. He was a co-founder of the Providence Art Club and the Rhode Island School of Design.

  • Barbeau, Marcel (Canadian, 1925–2016)

    A member of the Automatistes and a former student of its founder, Paul-Émile Borduas, at the École du meuble in Montreal. Barbeau alternated between a free approach in the Automatiste vein and painting in a hard-edge style with pure colour.

  • Barbeau, Marius (Canadian, 1883–1969)

    A pioneering anthropologist and ethnologist, Barbeau is considered the founder of folklore studies in Canada. Based at the National Museum of Canada, Ottawa, he studied French-Canadian and Indigenous communities, collecting songs, legends, and art, and documenting customs and social organization. His interests led him to work with several artists, including Emily Carr, A.Y. Jackson, and Jean Paul Lemieux.

  • Barbizon

    From the 1830s to the 1870s, Barbizon (a village on the edge of the forest of Fontainebleau near Paris) was a gathering place for French landscape painters who rejected the academic style in favour of realism. This informal group, later known as the Barbizon school, emphasized painting en plein air, in and directly from nature, setting the path for Impressionism. Major artists include Théodore Rousseau, Jean-François Millet, and Camille Corot.

  • Barclay, McClelland (American, 1891–1943)

    Illustrator best known for his 1920s and 1930s advertisement work depicting conventionally beautiful and fashionable women, boldly coloured and outlined. His work was published in many popular periodicals; he designed the “Fisher Body Girl” for General Motors, Hollywood movie posters, and recruitment posters during the Second World War.

  • Barkhouse, Mary Anne (Kwakwaka’wakw, b.1961)

    Born in Vancouver, Barkhouse is a sculptor and descendant of renowned Northwest Coast artists including Ellen Neel and Naka’pankam (Mungo Martin). She is currently based in Ontario. Wolves, coyotes, and owls frequently appear in her work as she grapples with the impact of colonialism and raises questions about rightful land stewardship. Barkhouse’s work is represented in Canada’s leading institutions and her many public art projects can be found across Ontario.

  • Barnard, George Grey (American, 1863–1938)

    Originally from Pennsylvania, Barnard studied at the Art Institute of Chicago before moving to France in 1883, where he attended the École des beaux-arts and was inspired by the work of Auguste Rodin. After he returned to the United States, he lived in New York City and he was celebrated for his sculptures for the Pennsylvania State Capitol.

  • Barnet, Will (American, 1911–2012)

    A painter and printmaker known for his flattened, geometric, and semi-abstract approach to figurative art. Based in New York since the 1930s, Barnet worked at the Art Students League before later holding teaching positions at the Cooper Union, Yale University, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. His unique, experimental style of figuration inspired a generation of burgeoning modernist artists such as Cy Twombly, Mark Rothko, and Marion Nicoll.

  • Barnsley, James M. (Canadian, 1861–1929)

    Born in Ontario, Barnsley grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and studied at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts. He travelled to Europe to continue his studies, enrolling at the Académie Julian and exhibiting at the Paris Salon. He later lived in Montreal, and he was known for his landscapes. He ceased painting in 1892 owing to health problems. 

  • Baroque

    The Baroque is a style of art popular during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries characterized by exaggerated movement, grandeur, and expression. Originating in Rome, it was the Catholic Church’s response to the Protestant Reformation, which privileged an austere spiritual engagement with the divine. In the Baroque, in contrast to Classicism, disorder replaces order and the affect is one of delusional grandeur.

  • Barr, David (American, 1939–2015)

    A Structurist sculptor known for his wall-hanging reliefs and large-scale public sculptures. The Michigan-based artist spent his fifty-year career creating artworks that draw on mathematics to explore the structures underlying the natural world. Barr founded the Michigan Legacy Art Park, an outdoor sculpture park located near Thompsonville, Michigan, in 1995.

  • Barraud, Cyril (Canadian, 1877–1965)

    Barraud immigrated to Canada from England in 1913 as an established painter and graphic designer known for his drawings and etchings. He became an official Canadian war artist during the First World War after being injured while serving with the 43rd Battalion in 1916. A prominent teacher at the Winnipeg School of Art (now part of the University of Manitoba), Barraud taught etching to notable students such as Walter J. Phillips.

  • Barthes, Roland (French, 1915–1980)

    A major figure in twentieth-century intellectual history, Barthes was a semiotician, literary and social critic, philosopher, and essayist. Works such as Writing Degree Zero, 1953, and Mythologies, 1957, helped to usher in structuralism as a dominant theoretical framework, while Camera Lucida, 1980, his rumination on photography, remains one of the most influential books of photo theory ever written.

  • Bartholdi, Frédéric-Auguste (French, 1834–1904)

    Known for designing the Statue of Liberty in New York, Bartholdi studied painting under Ary Scheffer (1795–1858) and sculpture under Antoine Étex (1808–1888) and Jean-François Soitoux (1824–1891). He became fascinated by monumental sculptures in the mid-1850s after seeing the Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza in Egypt.

  • Bartlett, William Henry (British, 1809–1854)

    A British illustrator who travelled extensively in North America from the 1830s to 1850s, making landscape drawings for various illustrated volumes. Bartlett contributed 120 drawings to Canadian Scenery Illustrated (1842), a project of the eminent American writer and editor Nathaniel Parker Willis.

  • Bartók, Béla (Hungarian, 1881–1945)

    A composer, pianist, and ethnomusicologist, Béla Bartók brought Hungarian folk influences to his classical compositions. Along with Zoltán Kodály, in the early years of the twentieth century he collected and transcribed traditional music throughout rural Hungary. His compositions made use of the dissonance and dynamic rhythms he discovered through his research and incorporated the influences of both nineteenth-century classical composers and twentieth-century modernists. Unable to remain in Hungary as Nazi power extended through Europe, Bartók immigrated to New York in 1940.

  • bas-relief

    A type of sculpture in which the decorative motif projects slightly from the background plane. Bas-reliefs are common to exterior architectural design around the world.

  • Bastien-Lepage, Jules (French, 1848–1884)

    A leading French Naturalist painter, Bastien-Lepage was especially known for his rural scenes and portraits of famous performers. He studied with Alexandre Cabanel at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris 1867 and was awarded the prestigious Legion of Honour in 1879 for his Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt.

  • Bates, Maxwell (Canadian, 1906–1980)

    An architect and artist whose expressionistic paintings are held at major institutions across Canada. As a soldier with the British Territorial Army during the Second World War, Bates was captured in France and spent five years in a POW camp. He recounted the experience in his book A Wilderness of Days (1978).

  • Batik

    An artistic technique of wax-resist dyeing cloth to create decorative patterns, text, and designs. While the technique originated in Java, Indonesia, it is also popularly practiced in India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Central and Western Africa. Batik entails using a dye-resistant wax to draw designs on cloth. The cloth is then soaked in a single colour of dye. Next, the wax is removed with boiling water, and, if desired, the process is repeated with different colours in order to produce a pattern.

  • Baudelaire, Charles (French, 1821–1867)

    An influential poet and art critic who inspired the Symbolist movement and revelled in the sensual contradictions between the ruins of urban life and beauty, Baudelaire is perhaps best known for his 1857 poetry collection Les fleurs du mal, which explored taboos around bourgeois values. He is associated with philosopher and cultural critic Walter Benjamin and the figures of the flâneur and the bohemian.

  • Bauhaus

    Open from 1919 to 1933 in Germany, the Bauhaus revolutionized twentieth-century visual arts education by integrating the fine arts, crafts, industrial design, and architecture. Teachers included Josef Albers, Walter Gropius, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and László Moholy-Nagy.

  • Baumgarten, Lothar (German, 1944–2018)

    A conceptual installation artist, photographer, and filmmaker interested in the Western ethnographic tradition and how the colonialist perspective has been constructed. Baumgarten was criticized for his 1984–85 work Monument for the Native People of Ontario, which Saulteaux artist Robert Houle referred to as “romantic anthropology.” Baumgarten teaches at the Universität der Künste Berlin.

  • BAXTER&, IAIN (Canadian, b. 1936)

    A seminal figure in the history of Conceptual art in Canada. In 1966, he co-founded, with Ingrid Baxter, the N.E. Thing Co. Conceptual artists’ collective, and that same year launched the gallery and the visual arts program at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C. His work typically incorporates photography, performance, and installations. In 2005, Iain Baxter changed his name to IAIN BAXTER& to reflect his non-authorial approach to art production.

  • Bayefsky, Aba (Canadian, 1923–2001)

    Commissioned as an Official War Artist in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1944, Bayefsky was a painter and teacher at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto. In 1945 he documented the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp after its liberation. He remained committed to confronting anti-Semitism in his art for the remainder of his career and created a number of works exploring his own Jewish heritage. Bayefsky was awarded the Order of Canada in 1979.

  • Baylinson, A.S. (American, 1882–1950)

    Born in Russia and having emigrated to the United States in the early twentieth century, Baylinson was a Cubist painter in New York City in the 1910s and 1920s. His paintings became more representational after a studio fire destroyed most of his earlier work in 1931. From 1918 to 1934 he served as secretary of the Society of Independent Artists in New York, during which time he caused a public controversy over his decision to show the painting Father, Forgive Them for They Know Not What They Do, by Swiss artist Jean-François Kaufman, at a Society exhibition.

  • beadwork

    Refers to art and objects created or decorated with beads, commonly threaded together or sewn onto a surface as a form of embroidery. Beadwork is an ancient art form practiced by cultures around the world and is often used to decorate religious or ceremonial objects.

  • Beal, William “Billy” (American/Canadian, 1874–1968)

    A Massachusetts-born photographer who emigrated to Manitoba in 1906 as one of the earliest Black settlers in the Swan River Valley. An engineer by trade, Beal taught himself photography and opened a studio, where he took portraits and images of life in his rural community from 1915 to 1925.

  • Beals, Jessie Tarbox (Canadian/American, 1870–1942)

    One of the first women to work as a photojournalist in the United States, Hamilton, Ontario-born Beals had a remarkable career producing portraits of celebrities, ethnographic portraits, and other photographs for a variety of newspapers and magazines. Later in life she established her own studio in Greenwich Village, New York.

  • Bealy, Allan (Canadian, b.1951)

    A Montreal-born, Brooklyn-based artist working primarily with collage and mixed media. Bealy attended the School of Art and Design at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. A member of the artist-run gallery Véhicule Art, Bealy used the printing press there to publish his first art and literary magazine, Davinci. After moving to New York in 1975, he worked as an advertising art director and founded the interdisciplinary arts magazine Benzene, which ran through the 1980s.

  • Beam, Carl (Ojibwe, M’Chigeeng First Nation, 1943–2005)

    A mixed-media artist who experimented with the photographic medium and spearheaded the reclamation of space by contemporary Indigenous artists in Canada. Beam often worked in photographic collage that featured family photos, text, drawings, and recurring images such as bird anatomy, Christian iconography, and famed freedom fighters. His painting The North American Iceberg, 1985, was the first work recognized as contemporary art by an Indigenous artist purchased by the National Gallery of Canada. In 2005 he received the Governor General’s Award for Visual and Media Arts.

  • Beament, Harold (Canadian, 1898–1984)

    A prominent figurative and landscape artist and a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, Beament was an official Canadian war artist during the Second World War. During his tenure as a war artist, he depicted scenes based on his experiences as a naval commander in the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic, the English Channel, and Newfoundland waters.

  • Bear, Shirley (Wolastoqi, 1936–2022)

    A member of the Tobique First Nation and the Wabanaki language group of New Brunswick, Shirley Bear was a multidisciplinary artist, writer, and activist known for her gestural, painterly canvases that often drew on Wabanaki cultural history and symbolism. She has exhibited throughout Canada and the United States and was named to the Order of Canada in 2011, in recognition of her influential artistic career and her long-standing advocacy for Indigenous rights and representation.

  • Beardsley, Aubrey (British, 1872–1898)

    A writer, draftsman, and illustrator, and a major figure in the late nineteenth-century movements of Art Nouveau and Symbolism. Beardsley produced a remarkable body of work in his short life; among his most famous drawings are those he made for Oscar Wilde’s Salome (1894).

  • Beardy, Jackson (Oji-Cree, Wasagamack First Nation, 1944–1984)

    A painter known for employing a graphic style that incorporates flat areas of warm colour and for depicting Indigenous legends and spiritual and cosmological concepts in his work. A founding member of the Professional Native Indian Artists Inc., Beardy spent most of the latter part of his career as an Aboriginal arts advisor and educator.

  • Beatty, J.W. (Canadian, 1869–1941)

    An influential painter and educator at the Ontario College of Art (now OCAD University), Toronto, who sought to develop a uniquely Canadian style of painting. Beatty was a contemporary of Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven, though his painting style retained more traditional aesthetics than their work did. His most renowned painting, The Evening Cloud of the Northland, 1910, is held at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.

  • Beaury-Saurel, Amélie (French, 1849–1924)

    Primarily a portrait painter and an arts educator, Amélie Beaury-Saurel taught at and oversaw the Académie Julian in Paris after marrying her husband, founder Rodolphe Julian. She became the director after his death in 1907. Beaury-Saurel was awarded the Legion of Honour in 1923 for her dedication to arts education.

  • Beaux arts

    An architectural style that originated in Paris, France, in the nineteenth century. The beaux arts style takes its name from the city’s École des Beaux-Arts, where the style was developed and taught in the context of an academic approach to architecture. It draws on classical Greek and Roman influences but incorporates both modern materials such as glass and steel and elements borrowed from other historic styles. Beaux arts architecture, with its classical proportions and varied ornamentation, spread throughout Europe and North America to become one of the defining styles for public and institutional buildings of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

  • Beaux-Arts

    An academic style taught by the École des beaux-arts in Paris to students in architecture, graphic arts, painting, and sculpture. Mainly based on the art of Greek and Roman antiquities, the style was especially popular during nineteenth century. In sculpture, the style initially favoured the idealized forms of neoclassicism but increasingly absorbed naturalism as the century progressed.

  • Beaver Hall Group

    A group of approximately twenty-nine Montreal-based artists (1920–23), named after its headquarters on Montreal’s Beaver Hall Hill. Half of the group’s members and associates were women. Like the Group of Seven (founded just weeks earlier), it promoted modernist art, but the Beaver Hall Group went beyond landscapes to concentrate on urban and rural scenes, portraiture, and the human figure. Prominent adherents included Emily Coonan, Adrien and Henri Hébert, Prudence Heward, Edwin Holgate, Mabel May, Sarah Robertson, Albert Robinson, and Anne Savage.

  • Beaverbrook Art Gallery

    A public art gallery located in Fredericton, New Brunswick, which opened in 1959 and is named after its original funder, the British publisher and media mogul William Maxwell Aitken (known as Lord Beaverbrook). With over 7,000 objects in its collection, it is best known for its extensive selection of British artworks dating from the Elizabethan to modern eras.

  • Bécart de Granville, Charles (Canadian, 1675–1703)

    Born in New France, this mapmaker and draftsman was also an attorney of the King of France in the provost’s court in Quebec City. Among his contemporaries his drawing skills were renowned; his talent as an artist continues to be recognized by historians of New France.

  • Becher, Bernd and Hilla (German, 1931–2007, 1934–2015)

    A duo who focused on architectural photography in Europe and North America and were influential professors of The Düsseldorf School of Photography. They were particularly interested in documenting industrial architecture, and are well-known for their black and white aesthetic, conceptual approach to architectural photography, and grouping their photographs into grid formations.

  • Bechtle, Robert (American, b.1932)

    A painter and leading figure of Photorealism. The stunning realism, seemingly benign subject matter (cars, houses, families), and haphazard composition of his paintings all indicate his use of photographic source material, an important part of his process since the 1960s. A major retrospective of his work was held at SFMOMA in 2005 and travelled to other major art institutions.

  • Beckett, Clarice (Australian, 1887–1935)

    A painter, Clarice Beckett lived and worked in Melbourne, Australia. She was a student of the Tonalist painter Max Meldrum, and her work follows the mode he established, using tonal variation and layering to create atmosphere. Beckett is known for depicting scenes from her local environment, often in the early morning or evening light and cloaked in mist. Although overlooked during her lifetime, her work is now held in important Australian collections.

  • Beckett, Samuel (Irish, 1906–1989)

    Working in both English and French, Samuel Beckett wrote novels, poetry, and essays before gaining renown with his play Waiting for Godot in 1953. His narratives, involving characters who suffer through extreme and absurd situations in which meaning is illusory, focus on a kind of elemental humanity stripped of the trappings of society. He is one of the primary authors of the French theatre of the absurd. Beckett won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1969.

  • Belcourt, Christi (Métis, b.1966)

    An artist, activist, and author known for her intricately patterned paintings that are inspired by floral motifs from traditional Métis beadwork. Belcourt’s paintings often feature bountiful and brightly coloured flowers, plants, and animals against a stark black ground. While celebrating the wonder and abundance of the natural world, Belcourt also directs our attention to the precarity of nature at this time of environmental crisis. She is the recipient of many prestigious honours including the Governor General’s Innovation Award (2016).

  • Bell-Smith, F.M. (British/Canadian, 1846–1923)

    A prolific watercolour and oil painter best known today for his landscapes and especially for his views of the Rocky and Selkirk mountain ranges. The English-born Bell-Smith studied art in London before immigrating in 1867 to Canada, where he worked and taught in Montreal, Hamilton, Toronto, and elsewhere in southern Ontario. He made his first visit to British Columbia in 1887 on free passes supplied by the Canadian Pacific Railway, and his intense engagement with the mountains would draw him back several times over the next three decades.

  • Bell, Clive (British, 1881–1964)

    An art critic and member of the Bloomsbury Group, Bell was among the first to promote the French Post-Impressionists in England. With Roger Fry, he was a proponent of formalism and developed the idea of “significant form” as a property common to all works of art, distinct from beauty and necessary to arousing emotional responses in viewers. Bell was married to British painter Vanessa Stephen, sister of the writer Virginia Woolf.

  • Bell, Vanessa (British, 1879–1961)

    An interior designer and painter, Bell was a member of the Bloomsbury group, a British avant-garde circle of writers, artists, and intellectuals. An early adopter in Britain of non-representational painting, Bell reverted to a more naturalistic style after the First World War.

  • Bellefleur, Léon (Canadian, 1910–2007)

    A painter and printmaker best known for his painterly, textured canvases composed of overlapping geometric shapes and blended, bright colours. Bellefleur studied at the École des beaux-arts de Montréal and was highly influenced by the Surrealist and automatist experiments of his artist colleagues, who included figures such as Jean Benoît (1922–2010), Mimi Parent (1924–2005), and Alfred Pellan (1906–1988).

  • Bellocq, E.J. (American, 1873–1949)

    An obscure commercial photographer active in New Orleans in the 1910s, whose portraits of local prostitutes, taken on 8-by-10-inch glass plates, became famous after Lee Friedlander acquired the plates and reprinted them.

  • Bellows, George (American, 1882–1925)

    A painter and lithographer, famed student of Robert Henri, and co-organizer of the Armory Show. Bellows’s varied and prolific career—he quickly moved from portraits of child labourers to scenes of illegal boxing matches to seascapes—was cut short by his death from a ruptured appendix.

  • Belmore, Michael (Ojibway, Lac Seul First Nation, b. 1971)

    A sculptor and installation artist primarily working with stone carving and copper metalsmithing techniques to create forms that reflect on Indigenous and settler relationships to nature. In response to the treatment of nature as a commodity, Belmore depicts the environment’s understated actions: watersheds, changing shorelines, the weathering of stone, and the landscape’s experience of time. He is the recipient of several awards and a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. 

  • Belmore, Rebecca (Anishinaabe, Lac Seul First Nation, b.1960)

    Widely recognized for her contributions to Canadian art, Belmore is a prominent performance and installation artist known for her politically charged work addressing the unresolved issues of history, trauma, and identity in the colonial spaces of Canada and the Americas. Among her most recognized works is the performance video Vigil, 2002, which calls attention to the hundreds of Indigenous women gone missing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. In 2005 Belmore became the first Indigenous woman to represent Canada at the Venice Biennale.

  • Belzile, Louis (Canadian, b. 1929)

    Born in Rimouski, Belzile trained as a painter in Toronto and Paris in the 1940s and 1950s. On returning to Quebec he became a founding member of the Plasticiens in 1955, working geometrically. Later he practised a more lyrical form of abstract art in contrast to that championed by the group.

  • Benner, Ron (Canadian, b. 1949)

    An artist, writer, and activist from London, Ontario. Benner studied agricultural engineering at the University of Guelph, and food production and consumption are the consistent subjects of his artworks. His widely exhibited photographic, mixed media, and garden installations have been exhibited internationally and are held by major Canadian institutions, including the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.

  • Bennett, Jordan (Mi’kmaq, b.1986)

    A multidisciplinary Mi’kmaq artist born in Ktaqmkuk (Newfoundland). His practice spans painting, sculpture, textile, installation, and film and often utilizes vibrant colours and patterns inspired by Mi’kmaq and Beothuk culture. He earned his BFA from Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland, and his MFA from the University of British Columbia Okanagan, and he has been nominated four times for the Sobey Art Award.

  • Benoît, Jean (Canadian, 1922–2010)

    A Quebec City–born artist best known for designing mechanical, biomorphic sculptures and costumes. He studied at the École des beaux-arts de Montréal alongside fellow Surrealist artist Mimi Parent (1924–2005), whom he later married in 1948. Benoît joined the Surrealists in 1959, who dubbed him “The Enchanter of Serpents” in reference to the serpentine shapes and forms that often characterized much of his work.

  • Benton, Thomas Hart (American, 1889–1975)

    A painter, lithographer, and illustrator who believed strongly in art’s social function. Initially interested in abstraction, Benton soon rejected apolitical modernism, becoming a committed Regionalist and sought-after muralist. His monumental political narratives adorned numerous public and private buildings in his native Missouri, as well as in New York and Chicago.

  • Berczy, William (German, 1744–1813)

    Raised in Vienna, Berczy worked as a painter in Italy and England before travelling to Upper Canada in 1794. He became a popular portraitist in York (Toronto) and then in Montreal. Berczy’s most famous works include a full-length portrait of Joseph Brant, c.1807, and the group portrait The Woolsey Family, 1808–09.

  • Bergman, Eric (German/Canadian, 1893–1958)

    Born in Germany, Bergman arrived in Canada in 1914. The following year he found success as a commercial wood- and photo-engraver for Brigdens of Winnipeg Limited, where he worked on the Eaton’s catalogue among other projects. His fine art prints depict mainly natural landscapes and plant studies in black and white, showing high contrasts and attention to detail. He served as president of the Manitoba Society of Artists.

  • Bergson, Henri (French, 1859–1941)

    A French philosopher interested in the differences between mechanical time and lived time (duré; in English, “duration”) and their ramifications for change, evolution, and consciousness. He is also well known for his theorization of multiplicity. An influential figure for late twentieth-century philosophers including Gilles Deleuze, Bergson won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1927.

  • Bernini, Gian Lorenzo (Italian, 1598–1680)

    Gian Lorenzo Bernini was a sculptor and architect during the Baroque period. Beginning his career in Rome, he rejected the popular style of mannerism in favour of formal and conceptual freedom. He established himself quickly with highly original and complex individual sculptures, followed by architectural monuments that reveal his mastery of technique. His compositions adorn public fountains, and his monuments decorate the churches and royal chapels of Rome. As an architect, Bernini created total environments that include grand sculptural arrangements that fill the surrounding structure.

  • Bertillon, Alphonse (French, 1853–1914)

    A nineteenth-century criminologist and anthropologist who is known for integrating photography into systems of policing. He created the first system of record-keeping to identify criminals, which combined taking measurements and photographing. He also introduced photography into forensics by using it to document crime scenes and evidence.

  • Besant, Annie (British, 1847–1933)

    A prominent social reformer who was active with numerous causes from the 1870s through the 1920s, chiefly women’s and workers’ rights, women’s health, national education, and Indian independence. In 1893 Besant settled in India, where she established the Indian Home Rule League and became an important member of the Indian National Congress. She was a member and a leader of the Theosophical Society, contributing to the worldwide spread of this esoteric spiritual movement

  • Bethune, Norman (Canadian, 1890–1939)

    A well-known physician and the inventor of several medical implements and the “mobile medical unit,” Bethune was a social justice advocate for the poor in Canada and an outspoken Communist. He engaged in international political struggles, notably in Spain during the Spanish Civil War and in China during the Sino-Japanese War.

  • Betty Parsons Gallery

    A gallery founded by art dealer, collector, and painter Betty Parsons in 1946 in Manhattan. Betty Parsons Gallery was an early supporter of many American Abstract Expressionist artists. The gallery closed in the 1980s.

  • Beuys, Joseph (German, 1921–1986)

    A versatile visual artist, performer, teacher, and political activist whose “expanded concept of art,” as he put it, held that every individual could act creatively and that creativity could infuse every aspect of life. Animals are an important theme in Beuys’s frequently Symbolist and expressionistic works. He also made use of felt and fat in his artworks, as these materials held deep significance for him.

  • Beveridge, Karl (Canadian, b.1945)

    A Toronto-based artist who has collaborated with Carole Condé as an artistic duo since the late 1960s. Their early interest in the Conceptual art movement gave way to creating socially engaged art in the 1970s. Condé and Beveridge have collaborated with numerous trade unions and community organizations to produce staged photographic images that address the connections between paid labour, environmental issues, human rights, and class divisions.

  • BGL

    Founded in 1996, BGL is an art collective based in Quebec City, Quebec. Its three members, Jasmin Bilodeau, Sébastien Giguère, and Nicolas Laverdière (the initials “BGL” are taken from their last names), create large-scale installation work, often incorporating ironic humour and irreverence, as well as kinetic elements. Shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award in 2006, BGL represented Canada at the 2015 Venice Biennale with the installation Canadassimo.

  • Biéler, André (Swiss/Canadian, 1896–1989)

    An important figure in Canadian art history for his arts activism (which contributed to the eventual founding of the Canada Council for the Arts), teaching, and prolific creative output. His paintings, murals, prints, and sculptures fuse a modernist concern for form, line, and colour with regionalist subjects: rural landscapes, figures, and genre scenes.

  • Bierstadt, Albert (German/American, 1830–1902)

    One of the preeminent American landscape painters of the nineteenth century, Bierstadt is known for his large-scale paintings of the American West. When he was two his family moved from Prussia to Massachusetts. Bierstadt would return to Europe to study and train throughout his twenties. His career flourished when he began applying his technical proficiency to panoramic landscapes steeped in symbolism. Bierstadt was among the last generation of artists of the Hudson River School.

  • Binning, B.C. (Canadian, 1909–1976)

    Vancouver artist Bertram Charles (B.C.) Binning, one of the first Canadian modernist painters on the West Coast, was influenced by modernist architecture. A belief in the intermingling of art, architecture, and life led him to found, along with Fred Amess, the Art in Living Group at the Vancouver School of Art in 1943. He also founded the School of Fine Arts at the University of British Columbia in 1949. 

  • Biocentrism

    In contrast to anthropocentrism, Biocentrism is an ethical stance that values all forms of life equally rather than placing more inherent value on human beings over nature. Tied to environmental ethics and activism, biocentrism considers every species as part of an interdependent community and calls for a rethinking of humans’ relationship to their environment.

  • Biomorphic Abstraction

    A form of abstraction that draws on rounded, natural forms, “biomorphic” appears as a descriptive term for abstract art around the 1930s, though it is not limited to this time period. It can be seen in the design elements of Art Nouveau and in the surrealist paintings and sculptures of Jean Arp and Joan Miró, as well as in the work of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, and in American design from the 1940s through the 1960s.


    An acronym for Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, the term is applied in North American contexts to centre the experiences of these groups, to recognize that they are impacted by systemic racism, and to demonstrate solidarity among them. The introduction of the term has been traced to 2013 but it has become more widely used since the 2020 racial justice uprisings in response to police brutality.

  • birchbark scroll

    Sacred scrolls made of birchbark, on which the Anishinaabe draw geometrical shapes and patterns to depict songs and other details of rituals. The scrolls are used in religious ceremonies and as a means of cultural transmission.

  • Bisson, Henri (Canadian, 1900–1973)

    A Montreal artist and educator, Bisson worked primarily in sculpture, producing numerous works in plaster and contributing bronzes to public monuments including the Monument à la gloire des Patriotes commemorating regional heroes of the 1837 rebellion in what is now Quebec. He was also an academic painter of still lifes and genre scenes. One of Bisson’s students was the artist Jean Paul Riopelle as a youth.

  • Blackstock, Harriet (Hattie) (Canadian, b.1894–?)

    Born in Toronto and a student of Mary Hiester Reid, Hattie Blackstock was an artist. After pursuing a course of study at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, she went on to become a medical illustrator at the medical faculty at McGill University in the 1920s.

  • Blackwood, David (Canadian, 1941–2022)

    A Newfoundland-born printmaker known for his epic narrative depictions of life and mythology set across the province’s rugged seascapes and landscapes. Blackwood was named Honorary Chair of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in 2003. He was the subject of a major retrospective exhibition at the AGO in 2011 as well as of an Academy Award-nominated documentary, Blackwood, in 1976.

  • Blake, William (British, 1757–1827)

    A poet, visual artist, and mystical philosopher, considered a seminal figure of the Romantic period. Deeply religious and unconventional, Blake was fervently anti-rationalist and anti-materialist. Among his small circle of admirers were the Ancients (a group of English artists) and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

  • Blanc, Joseph (French, 1846–1904)

    Known for his paintings of religious, mythological, and historical subjects, as well as portraits, Joseph Blanc was a French painter trained at the École des beaux-arts. He won the Prix de Rome in 1867 and later participated in the decoration of several important buildings in Paris, including the Panthéon, the Opéra-Comique, and the Hôtel de Ville.

  • Blaue Reiter

    Formed in 1911, a collective of artists of disparate styles and concerns—including Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, August Macke, and Franz Marc—regarded as representing the apex of German Expressionism. The group had only two exhibitions before disbanding with the onset of the First World War.

  • Blavatsky, Helena (Russian, 1831–1891)

    A spiritualist and the prolific author of books on ancient wisdom traditions, the occult, and esoteric religions, Madame Blavatsky was a co-founder of the Theosophical Society in New York City in 1875.

  • Bley, Carla (American, b. 1936)

    A pianist and composer who figured prominently in the free-jazz movement of the 1960s, which emphasized improvisation over fixed composition, and whose pieces have been performed by musicians including George Russell and Jimmy Giuffre. Bley helped found the influential Jazz Composers’ Guild in New York in 1964.

  • Blom, Willem A. (South African/Canadian, b. 1927)

    An artist and curator, Willem (Wim) Adriaan Blom was research curator at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, from 1962 to 1968, when he became an administrator; in 1963 he was the founding editor of the National Gallery of Canada Bulletin. After leaving his post at the gallery in 1970, he devoted himself to painting, producing primarily ordered, still-life compositions of domestic objects rendered in a stark, realistic style.

  • Bloomsbury Group

    An informal group of writers, artists, and intellectuals who met regularly at the home of Vanessa Bell (the sister of Virginia Woolf) in London, England. They discussed and shared innovative ideas on aesthetics, literature, economics, politics, feminism, and sexuality, which are considered to have influenced modern attitudes and art; however, the group is often criticized for their elitist lifestyles. Notable members include Clive Bell, Roger Fry, John Maynard Keynes, Edward Morgan Forster, and Virginia Woolf.

  • Bloore, Ronald (Canadian, 1925–2009)

    A founding member of the abstract painting group The Regina Five, Ronald Bloore was an abstract painter and art teacher. Seeking to achieve a transcendental quality to his art that he saw captured in the ancient architecture of Greece, Turkey, and Egypt, in the early 1960s Bloore destroyed his earlier work and began explorations in black and white, employing bold, organic shapes. Architecture continued to inform his work and he began to link with the practice technically, making small, three-dimensional maquettes of his pieces before creating them in their full size.

  • Blue Barn Gallery

    Initially a furniture store, the Blue Barn Gallery became Ottawa’s leading contemporary art space in the 1960s. Located in Bells Corners, an Ottawa suburb, the gallery was led by artist Duncan de Kergommeaux, who organized exhibitions by prominent Canadian artists, including Takao Tanabe, Richard Gorman, and Harold Town. Significantly, the core collection of the Carleton University Art Gallery came from the Blue Barn Gallery’s roster. The gallery closed in 1967.

  • Blue Mountain Pottery

    Founded in 1953 by Denis Tupy and Jozo Weider and closed in 2004, Blue Mountain Pottery was based in Collingwood, Ontario. The pottery is recognizable by Blue Mountain’s signature glazing technique called “reflowing decorating,” in which light and dark glazes are applied simultaneously to produce a distinctive streaked effect.

  • Boas, Franziska (American, 1902–1988)

    Notable dancer, teacher, and percussionist who pioneered the integration of dance with activism, therapy, and anthropology. In 1933, in New York, Boas founded the Boas School of Dance, one of the few racially integrated schools at the time. She served as its director until 1949. Prominent students of the Boas School include Françoise Sullivan, Merce Cunningham, and John Cage. Forgoing technical perfection, Boas approached dance as socially, politically, and emotionally driven.

  • Bob, Dempsey (Tahltan, Tlingit, Wolf Clan, b. 1948)

    A master woodcarver, bronze sculptor, and arts educator recognized for his Tlingit-style bowls, masks, and totem poles, Bob began carving in 1969 when studying with the famed Haida artist Freda Diesing in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. He often works with alder and cedar wood and references the oral histories of his community. In 2013 Bob was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

  • Bobak, Bruno (Canadian, 1923–2012)

    The youngest official Canadian war artist appointed during the Second World War, Bobak was a Polish-born painter and printmaker. Influenced by the European Expressionists, he is best known for his figure studies and, in the 1950s, became a prominent member of the postwar Vancouver art scene. He was married to fellow painter Molly Lamb Bobak and, from 1962 to 1988, served as director of the Art Centre at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton.

  • Bobak, Molly Lamb (Canadian, 1920–2014)

    Vancouver-born artist Molly Lamb Bobak studied with Jack Shadbolt at the Vancouver School of Art. She served in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps during the Second World War and, in 1945, became the first woman to be named an Official War Artist. Her work includes both delicate floral studies in watercolour and depictions of interiors and of the crowds that animate scenes of regional life rendered in oil. In the 1950s and 1960s she gave televised art courses that were broadcast on various regional networks. (See Molly Lamb Bobak: Life & Work by Michelle Gewurtz.)

  • Boccioni, Umberto (Italian, 1882–1916)

    A painter, sculptor, and Futurist theorist, Umberto Boccioni was one of the authors of the 1910 “Manifesto of Futurist Painting” and the 1912 “Manifesto of Futurist Sculpture,” which advocated a style built on Filippo Marinetti’s Futurist philosophy of violence, speed, and power. His paintings capture the dynamic energy of the movement in swirling, fragmented figures; his sculptures draw on Cubist principles, which he adapted to Futurist themes executed in unconventional materials including wood and cement.

  • Bodmer, Karl (Swiss/French, 1809–1893)

    A painter and draftsman who in the early 1830s was hired to accompany an expedition to the American West specifically to record images of its cities, landscapes, and people. His depictions of the American wilderness were greatly admired in his time for their beauty and anthropological detail. In 1848 Bodmer joined the Barbizon School of painters in France, whose inspiration came from nature.

  • bodycolour

    Watercolour pigment mixed with gum or binder and white pigment added to make it opaque. Bodycolour is often used interchangeably with gouache, although the terms and techniques have slight differences in history and composition, with bodycolour being traditionally made with an animal-derived binder and gouache with gum arabic (acacia gum).

  • Boigon, Brian (Canadian, b.1955)

    A designer, design and cultural theorist, and architect by training, Boigon directs and lectures in the Architectural Studies program at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on locomotive design and video game architecture.

  • Bolduc, David (Canadian, 1945–2010)

    One of Canada’s foremost abstract painters of his generation, Bolduc continued the modernist tradition of Jack Bush, Jules Olitski, and Robert Motherwell and is known for lyrical and contemplative works that consider how layers of colour influence the reflection of light. He draws on Chinese calligraphy, North African designs, and Persian miniatures. His works are in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, and Art Gallery of Alberta in Edmonton.

  • Bomberg, David (British, 1890–1957)

    Born in London’s East End and educated at the Slade School of Fine Art, Bomberg was a member of the early-twentieth-century British avant-garde and associated with the Vorticists and with the group of Anglo-Jewish writers and artists later known as the Whitechapel Boys. His angular, abstract paintings were included in the first Vorticist exhibition in London in 1915, though he had not signed the group’s earlier manifesto. After the First World War he began painting in a more naturalistic style.

  • Bond, Marion (Canadian, 1903–1965)

    A Nova Scotian artist best known for her Impressionistic landscape and portrait paintings. She studied at the Nova Scotia College of Art (now NSCAD University) and the Art Students League of New York before earning her MFA from Columbia University. She later taught painting at the Nova Scotia College of Art.

  • Bonham, Don (American, 1940–2014)

    A figurative sculptor known for his colourful personality and his fibreglass fusions of the human body with machines such as motorcycles and airplanes. In 1968, Bonham befriended sculptors Ed Zelenak and Walter Redinger and moved from the U.S. to London, Ontario, where he taught at H.B. Beal Technical School, Western University, and Fanshawe College. He was the first American to become a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.

  • Bonheur, Rosa (1822–1899)

    A French artist known for her realist, dramatic paintings of animals, with a particular focus on depictions of livestock and pastoral scenes. Born in Bordeaux and based in Paris for most of her life, she received widespread acclaim during her career and was the first female artist to be awarded the French Legion of Honour in 1865.

  • Bonington, Richard Parkes (British, 1802–1828)

    Romantic landscape watercolourist who emigrated to France at age fourteen. Bonington studied with Baron Gros at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and befriended Eugène Delacroix, who influenced him to paint historical subjects. He exhibited at the Paris Salon for the first time in 1822. Bonington died of tuberculosis in London, aged twenty-five.

  • Bonnard, Pierre (French, 1867–1947)

    A painter and printmaker associated with the Nabis, a group of French Post-Impressionist artists who emerged in the late 1880s and maintained a distance from the Parisian avant-garde. Bonnard often worked in a decorative mode and with an Impressionist use of colour; he painted interior scenes and landscapes, created posters and theatre sets, and designed household objects.

  • Borden, Lizzie (American, b. 1950)

    Born Linda Elizabeth Borden, the film director Lizzie Borden took the name of the notorious nineteenth century figure, who was famously tried and acquitted for the brutal murders of her father and step-mother, as an act of youthful rebellion. Beginning with Regrouping (1976), Borden’s films use feminist dystopias to address issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality and reject narrow framings of feminist discourse. 

  • Border Crossings

    A quarterly arts and culture magazine based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Border Crossings was founded in 1971. It publishes reviews, articles, interviews, and portfolios related to Canadian and international artists across all disciplines.

  • Borduas, Paul-Émile (Canadian, 1905–1960)

    The leader of the avant-garde Automatistes and one of Canada’s most important modern artists. Borduas was also an influential advocate for reform in Quebec, calling for liberation from religious and narrow nationalist values in the 1948 manifesto Refus global. (See Paul-Émile Borduas: Life & Work by François-Marc Gagnon.)

  • Bosch, Hieronymus (Netherlandish, c. 1450–1516)

    A highly influential artist known for pictures populated by multitudes of fantastic creatures and filled with marvellous detail. Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights (1490–1500)—a triptych depicting the pleasures of the Garden of Eden, the horrors of the Last Judgment, and the world in between—is among the most famous paintings in the Western art historical canon.

  • botanical drawings

    A form of rendering plant life with detailed accuracy as a way of visually recording and identifying various plant species, botanical drawings generally depict specific plant characteristics, germination processes, and, oftentimes, dissections.

  • Botticelli, Sandro (Italian, 1445–1510)

    A highly renowned Florentine painter and draftsman. Among Botticelli’s best-known works are his frescoes that decorate Rome’s Sistine Chapel, and his mythological paintings The Birth of Venus, 1482–85, held at the Uffizi Gallery Museum, Florence, and Venus and Mars, c. 1485, held at the National Gallery, London.

  • Boughton, Alice (1866–1943)

    A Brooklyn-born photographer best known for her portraits of notable celebrities, socialites, and artistic figures. Alongside her shots of famous painters, poets, and writers, she also created allegorical and theatrical images of women and children, often in outdoor settings. She was closely affiliated with the Photo-Secession movement, which advanced the idea of photography as a form of fine art, and often exhibited alongside the group.

  • Bouguereau, William (French, 1825–1905)

    A painter known for his traditional, academic approach to his craft, Bouguereau was arguably one of the most famous artists in France during his time. Many of his highly realist paintings were mythological and allegorical, and his interpretation of human subject matter was sentimental.

  • Boulanger, Gustave (French, 1824–1888)

    Often described as a Neoclassical painter, Boulanger was known for his paintings of life in ancient Greece and Rome, though he also painted scenes in North Africa, where he travelled in 1845. He later became a teacher at the École des beaux-arts and the Académie Julian. He encouraged his students to focus on the accuracy of their drawings.

  • Bourassa, Napoléon (Canadian, 1827–1916)

    Napoléon Bourassa was an architect, writer, painter, and sculptor. During his long career, he directed numerous church construction and decoration projects in French Canada. Of these, the most complex is Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes in Montreal. He was influenced by Michelangelo, Raphael, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, and Hippolyte Flandrin. Between 1870 and 1904, he designed and decorated eight churches.

  • Bourgeois, Louise (French/American, 1911–2010)

    Born in Paris, Bourgeois moved to New York City in 1938, where she would establish herself as an artist. Although she began her career in printmaking and drawing, she became known for her psychologically charged sculptures and installations. Bourgeois’s work draws on childhood trauma, her complicated relationships with her parents, and her relationship to sex and her body, often though recurring figures (the spider in particular). Overlooked for decades, her art began to attract wide acclaim in the 1970s, when its feminist implications became a subject of interest for critics, artists, and audiences.

  • Bourke-White, Margaret (1904–1971)

    A New York City-born photographer known for her documentary approach, covering social issues such as poverty, race relations, industrial conditions in America, and global politics. She was a pioneer in her field: she was the first female photojournalist hired at Life Magazine, the first woman to work as a war correspondent during the Second World War, and the first Western photographer to be allowed access into the Soviet Union.

  • Boutilier, Ralph (Canadian, 1906–1989)

    One of Nova Scotia’s leading folk artists, Ralph Boutilier established his reputation as a landscape painter before venturing into carving in the 1960s. Based in Milton, Nova Scotia, Boutilier is best known for his large wood and metal whirligigs modelled after various species of birds, although he also carved human figures. His work is found in the collection of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

  • Bowen, Deanna (American/Canadian, b.1969)

    A Montreal-based interdisciplinary artist, educator, and writer whose practice often draws on her Black Prairie pioneer heritage. Bowen is a descendent of Black settlers of Amber Valley and Campsie, Alberta. In examining personal and public archives, Bowen addresses histories of enslavement, migration, and discrimination. She holds a Masters of Visual Studies from the University of Toronto and in 2016 received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.

  • Bowman, James (American, 1793–1842)

    An itinerant portrait painter active in the United States, Europe, and Canada. In Quebec City, Montreal, and Toronto Bowman received commissions from leading society members and politicians; he completed ten paintings for Montreal’s Notre-Dame Basilica (eight of which are now lost).

  • Boyd, Leslie (Canadian, b.1956)

    The owner and director of Inuit Fine Art Gallery in Port Hope, Ontario, Boyd is a writer and curator specializing in Inuit art, especially that produced by artists in Kinngait (Cape Dorset). After travelling to Cape Dorset in 1980 for a temporary position at the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative (whose art division is now known as Kinngait Studios), Boyd spent the first decades of her career travelling back and forth between Toronto and Cape Dorset while working for the Co-op and its marketing and wholesale division, Dorset Fine Arts. She opened her Port Hope gallery in 2018.

  • Boyer, Bob (Métis, 1948–2004)

    A nonrepresentational painter known for his use of symmetric patterns of arrows, triangles, and rectangles found in Plains First Nations beadwork and hide painting. Boyer was influenced by colour-field painting and the Abstract Expressionism of the Regina Five in the 1960s. In the 1980s he began painting on blankets to signal the fraught Indigenous histories in Canada. From 1981 to 1998 and in 2004 Boyer served as Head of Visual Arts at the First Nations University of Canada (formerly the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College).

  • Boyle, John (Canadian, b. 1941)

    A largely self-taught painter who grew up in London, Ontario, Boyle is a founding member of the Nihilist Spasm Band and exhibited with the London Regionalists. An ardent Canadian, he is particularly noted for his contributions to sociopolitical art in Canada. Over the years, Boyle has been an important agitator for artists’ rights: he is a cofounder of the Niagara Artists Centre and the first spokesperson of Canadian Artists’ Representation Ontario (CARO).

  • Boyle, Shary (Canadian, b. 1972)

    A leading contemporary artist with a politically and personally oriented practice that incorporates drawing, sculpture, painting, and performance. She works independently and collaboratively: past collaborations include Universal Cobra, 2015, with Shuvinai Ashoona and Illuminations Project, 2005–15, with Emily Duke. Boyle represented Canada at the Venice Biennale in 2013.

  • Brakhage, Stan (American, 1933–2003)

    An experimental, non-narrative filmmaker interested in the act of seeing and in encouraging people to see differently. His film Dog Star Man, 1961–64, is considered a pivotal work of the 1960s American avant-garde. Following twenty years as a film history professor in Colorado, he retired to Canada in 2002.

  • Brancusi, Constantin (Romanian, 1876–1957)

    An abstract sculptor, with a unique focus on expressing natural forms as simply as possible, Constantin Brancusi influenced later sculptors, including Amedeo Modigliani and Carl Andre. Active for most of his life in Paris, Brancusi became known in America following his inclusion in the Armory Show, the 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art.

  • Brandtner, Fritz (German, 1896–1969)

    A prolific and influential visual artist in Canada, Brandtner immigrated to this country in 1928 and quickly established himself as a commercial artist and set designer; he also mounted a solo exhibition soon after his arrival. German Expressionism influenced his artistic output, as did his interest in social justice. He was an active teacher, and with Norman Bethune established the Children’s Art Centre, a Montreal arts school for poor children.

  • Braque, Georges (French, 1882–1963)

    A seminal figure in the history of modern art. Working alongside Picasso from 1908 to 1914, Braque developed the principles of major phases of Analytic and Synthetic Cubism and, along with the latter, the use of collage. After the First World War, he pursued a personal style of Cubism admired for its compositional and colouristic subtleties.

  • Breeze, Claude (Canadian, b.1938)

    Also known as C. Herbert, Claude Breeze began creating the brightly coloured Pop Art–influenced paintings for which he is best known in Vancouver in the 1960s. Breeze was the first Canadian artist to depict mediatized violence in his work, and his paintings often address social and political issues. An educator as well as a painter, he has held teaching positions at universities across Canada and is currently professor emeritus at York University in Toronto.

  • Breton, André (French, 1896–1966)

    A poet and the leader of the Surrealists, whose members included the artists Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí, and Man Ray, and the poets Paul and Gala Éluard. Breton outlined in successive manifestos the tenets and techniques of Surrealism, and he organized the group’s first exhibition in 1925.

  • Breton, Elisa (Chilean, 1906–2000)

    Elisa Breton, née Bindhoff, was a Surrealist artist and writer and the third wife of André Breton, leader of the Surrealist movement in Paris. She met Breton in New York City after she immigrated there in the early 1940s, and they married in 1945, moving to Paris in 1946. Although she is mentioned in André Breton’s works and was an active member of the Surrealist circle in Paris, Elisa Breton published and exhibited infrequently.

  • Breuer, Marcel (Hungarian/American, 1902–1981)

    An influential modernist designer and architect associated with the Bauhaus, Breuer designed sculptural furniture with lightweight metal or wood. In 1926 he created the iconic Wassily chair (named after Wassily Kandinsky). After emigrating to the United States in 1937, Breuer focused on architecture, though he continued to design furniture.

  • Brigden, Arnold (British/Canadian, 1886–1972)

    A commercial artist and, from 1914 to 1956, manager of Brigdens of Winnipeg Limited, a branch of one of Canada’s oldest printing and graphic design firms, founded by his uncle. Apprenticed in wood- and photo-engraving, Brigden employed, supported, and collected the works of many young artists, including Charles Comfort, Eric Bergman, and Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald. He served on the art committee that supervised both the Winnipeg School of Art and Winnipeg Art Gallery, his estate later donating most of his important Canadian art collection to the gallery.

  • British Columbia College of Arts

    The British Columbia College of Arts was a short-lived Vancouver institution founded by Jock Macdonald and Frederick Varley in 1933. Created after internal conflict and reduced pay forced its two founding members out of their teaching positions at the Vancouver School of Art, the college offered students multidisciplinary classes and took a modernist approach to aesthetics and artmaking. It closed in 1935 due to lack of funds.

  • British Empire Exhibition

    The British Empire Exhibition was a celebration of colonial industry, natural resources, and culture held in 1924 and 1925 at Wembley Park in London, England. Featuring gardens, pavilions, a stadium, and an amusement park, the grand exhibition was intended to enhance trade and economic connections between Britain’s various territories, fifty-six of which were participants. Canada’s pavilion highlighted not only the dominion’s dairy, mining, forestry, and rail industries, but also recent and contemporary Canadian art. The program included cultural as well as commercial events, attracting over 20 million visitors over the course of the exhibition.

  • Brittain, Miller (Canadian, 1912–1968)

    Brittain first trained with Elizabeth Russell Holt, a central figure of the arts scene in Saint John, New Brunswick, before studying at the Art Students League of New York from 1930 to 1932. His drawings, paintings, watercolours, and murals reveal an enduring interest in social realism and psychology. Brittain was a founding member of the Federation of Canadian Artists.

  • Broadhead, William S. (British, 1888–1960)

    A British painter and commercial artist who worked at Grip Limited with Tom Thomson and other artists who went on to form the Group of Seven. He accompanied Thomson on a sketching trip in northern Ontario in 1912.

  • Brodovitch, Alexey (American, 1898-1971)

    Born in Russia, Brodovitch immigrated to the United States and became a photographer, graphic designer, and teacher who had a profound impact on generations of American photographers through his Design Laboratory. He was the art director for Harper’s Bazaar from 1934 to 1958, where he spearheaded elegant and experimental pairings of typography and photography that became popular in the 1940s and 1950s.

  • Brooker, Bertram (Canadian, 1888–1955)

    A British-born painter, illustrator, musician, poet, Governor General’s Award-winning novelist, and Toronto advertising executive. In 1927 Brooker became the first Canadian artist to exhibit abstract art. His work is in the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, and other major collections. (See Bertram Brooker: Life & Work by James King.)

  • Brooks, Leonard (Canadian, 1911–2011)

    A Toronto-born official Canadian war artist during the Second World War, Brooks, who served in the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve, is notable for his wartime paintings of naval life on Canada’s east coast. In the late 1940s, Brooks and his wife Reva―a prominent photographer―emigrated to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, there forming an informal artist colony.

  • Broomfield, George (Canadian, 1906–1992)

    An accomplished painter and carpet designer who also produced etchings and engravings, Broomfield trained under Arthur Lismer at the Ontario College of Art (now OCAD University) and was mentored by members of the Group of Seven, including J.E.H. MacDonald and Franklin Carmichael at their Port Hope summer school in 1920 and 1921. Broomfield enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War, capturing his experiences in paint.

  • Brown, Adam David (Canadian, b. 1960)

    A multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto, Brown is known for minimalist works that examine silence, language, science, and time. His recent works have considered scarcity economies through the tension of heavy labour invested in a temporary medium, such as wall text in a gallery.

  • Brown, D.P. (Canadian, b. 1939)

    A painter from rural Ontario whose work consistently explores themes of time, society, and the inhabited landscape. As a boy he was mentored by A.Y. Jackson and Will Ogilvie, but it was his family’s temporary move to northern Europe, where he first encountered an art-historical pantheon that included Vermeer and Bruegel, that had the greatest impact on his technique and subjects.

  • Brown, Eric (British/Canadian, 1877–1939)

    As the first director of the National Gallery of Canada, Brown held the position from 1912 until his death. Earlier, he had been curator of the gallery’s collection, at the invitation of Sir Edmund Walker, a banker and major patron of the arts. Brown was a passionate builder of the gallery’s collections, both international and Canadian, and travelled often to Europe to make contacts with artists and dealers.

  • Brown, Frederick (British, 1851–1941)

    A British oil painter and art teacher, Brown energetically opposed the conservatism of the Royal Academy of Arts in both his own style and his teaching methods. He became a founding member of the New English Art Club in 1886. He was influenced by James McNeill Whistler, the rustic Naturalism of Jules Bastien-Lepage, and Impressionism. Brown served as principal of the Westminster School of Art from 1877 to 1892 and taught at the Slade School of Fine Art from 1893 to 1918.

  • Brownell, Franklin (Canadian, 1857–1946)

    Born in Massachusetts but based in Ottawa for most of his career, Brownell was a widely recognized landscape painter, educator, and administrator. He trained in Boston and Paris before becoming the director of the Ottawa Art School in 1886. He taught many accomplished artists, including Pegi Nicol MacLeod, Ernest Fosbery, and Goodridge Roberts. Brownell’s own style ranged from social realism to Impressionism. His works are widely represented in the National Gallery of Canada.

  • Bruce, William Blair (Canadian, 1859–1906)

    Regarded as one of Canada’s first Impressionist painters, Bruce studied at the Académie Julian in Paris and spent time at the artists’ colonies in Barbizon, Giverny, and Grez-sur-Loing, France. Two Canadian scholarships for artists are named in his honour, offering an opportunity to paint on the island of Gotland, Sweden, where he established an artist estate with his wife, the sculptor Carolina Benedicks-Bruce. A bequest of Bruce’s works by his wife and father to the City of Hamilton, Ontario, became the basis of the Art Gallery of Hamilton.

  • Bruegel, Pieter (Netherlandish, 1525–1569)

    An acknowledged master of the Northern Renaissance, known for the inventiveness of his work and its enduring and widespread popularity. His landscapes, parables, and religious images circulated widely as prints, ensuring the primacy of his creations within the visual culture of his era. Bruegel’s paintings often depicted the lives of Flemish commoners.

  • Brymner, William (Scottish/Canadian, 1855–1925)

    A painter and influential teacher who contributed greatly to the development of painting in Canada, Brymner instructed at the Art Association of Montreal. Several of his students, including A.Y. Jackson, Edwin Holgate, and Prudence Heward, became prominent figures in Canadian art. (See William Brymner: Life & Work by Jocelyn Anderson.)

  • Buchanan, Donald (Canadian, 1908–1966)

    An art historian, arts administrator, and the founder of the National Film Society of Canada (now the Canadian Film Institute). Buchanan worked for Canadian arts and media organizations throughout his career, including the National Film Board and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. In the late 1950s, he began a parallel career as a photographer; his work was exhibited several times before his final appointment as director of the International Fine Arts Exhibition at Expo 67.

  • Buchloh, Benjamin H.D. (German, b.1941)

    A German art historian and critic widely recognized for his influential analyses and writings on modern and contemporary art in America and Europe during the post-war period. He has held professorships at institutions including the University of Chicago, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Columbia University. Before retiring in 2021, he served as the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Modern Art at Harvard University.

  • Buñuel, Luis (Spanish/Mexican, 1900–1983)

    A Surrealist filmmaker, Luis Buñuel began his career with Un chien andalou, 1929, in collaboration with Salvador Dalí. Finding himself in conflict with Fascist Spain, Buñuel lived in exile from 1936 to 1960, settling in Mexico City in 1949, where he created small commercial films that nevertheless remain rooted in his Communist politics, eroticism, Surrealism, and rejection of religion. After he returned to Europe in the 1960s, Buñuel’s later works such as Belle de jour, 1967, and Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie, 1972, brought to a wide audience his Surrealist conception of a world in which violent dreams erupt into chaos.

  • Burliuk, David (Ukrainian/American, 1882–1967)

    The central figure in the Russian Futurist movement of the early twentieth century, David Burliuk was a painter, poet, and critic who promoted avant-garde art in the pre-Revolutionary Russian Empire, participating in and appearing at exhibitions that included performances. Following the Russian Revolution, Burliuk spent from 1920 to 1922 in Japan before moving to the United States.

  • Burne-Jones, Edward (British, 1833–1898)

    A largely self-taught painter, illustrator, and designer, who became interested in art after meeting William Morris at Oxford, where Burne-Jones had intended to study for the priesthood. In the 1850s he moved to London, joining the Pre-Raphaelites soon before they disbanded. Like his forerunners in the group, he chose subjects that were largely medieval and mythical.

  • Burri, Alberto (Italian, 1915–1995)

    A former doctor, Burri started painting as a prisoner of war in the United States in the early 1940s, eventually incorporating unorthodox materials into his work, such as burlap sacks and sand. In 1951 he co-founded—with Mario Ballocco, Ettore Colla, and Giuseppe Capogrossi—the Gruppo Origine, which opposed the decorative aspect of abstract art, preferring its “incisive, expressive function.”

  • Burroughs, William S. (American, 1914–1997)

    A prolific and celebrated Beat Generation writer, best known for the novel Naked Lunch, 1959. Permeated with an anarchic attitude, his work influenced later countercultural groups including hippies and punks. His life was famously marked by drug and alcohol addiction, criminality, and violence, including the murder of his second wife in Mexico, for which he never served a sentence.

  • Burton, Dennis (Canadian, 1933–2013)

    A painter, illustrator, and teacher who rose to prominence with his overtly sexual, semi-abstract paintings of the 1960s. He was represented by the Isaacs Gallery in Toronto in the 1960s and 1970s and was a co-founder of the Artists’ Jazz Band.

  • Burty, Philippe (French, 1830–1890)

    As a critic and collector, Philippe Burty advocated for the artistic importance of etching. Through his collecting, his writing, and his own work, he spearheaded a revival in printmaking. An enthusiastic collector of Japanese art, he coined the term japonisme in 1872.

  • Burtynsky, Edward (Canadian, b.1955)

    An award-winning photographer of international renown, Toronto-based Burtynsky is best recognized for his striking images of industrialism’s devastating effect on the environment. His large-scale, sublime photographic landscapes of the 1970s reflect his interest in the intersections between painting and photography. In 1985 Burtynsky founded the Toronto Image Works, a state-of-the-art photo laboratory, training centre, and darkroom rental facility. His recent work continues his exploration of human impact on the natural world, and he is a collaborator on the Anthropocene Project, a multidisciplinary investigation of the proposed term for our current geological era.

  • Bush, Jack (Canadian, 1909–1977)

    A member of Painters Eleven, formed in 1953, Bush found his real voice only after critic Clement Greenberg visited his studio in 1957 and focused on his watercolours. Out of these Bush developed the shapes and broad colour planes that would come to characterize a personal colour-field style, parallel to the work of Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland. With them, Bush participated in Greenberg’s 1964 exhibition Post Painterly Abstraction.

  • Butler, Geoff (Canadian, b.1945)

    Born on Fogo Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Butler is a painter, writer, and book illustrator. He received formal training at the Art Students League of New York. In the 1980s Butler self-published Art of War: Painting It out of the Picture, which explores his compositions about war and militarism.

  • Butler, Paul (Canadian, b. 1973)

    Born and based in Winnipeg, Butler is a multidisciplinary artist, whose artistic practice embraces and explores artistic exchange and collaboration. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles and La maison rouge in Paris.

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