• P.Mansaram

    A Rajathstan, India-born artist who spent most of his professional life in Canada, P.Mansaram’s multidisciplinary body of work—encompassing painting, mixed-media collage, and photography—reflected his diasporic experiences and his deep engagement with global modernism. From 2014–17, the Royal Ontario Museum acquired approximately seven hundred of his works.

  • Pace Gallery

    Originally founded in Boston in 1960 by Arne Glimcher, Pace Gallery moved to New York City in 1963. Showing both American and international artists, the gallery has been an important venue for major movements in the New York art scene, from Abstract Impressionism and Minimalism to Pop, postmodern and contemporary art. Known for putting on museum-style shows and having long relationships with major American artists, Glimcher negotiated the first sale of a work by a living artist for over $1 million—Three Flags, by Jasper Johns in 1980. As of 2019, the gallery has outposts in Beijing, Hong Kong, London, and Menlo Park, California, as well as New York. 

  • 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.

  • painterly

    A characteristic or quality of a painting where the brushwork is intentionally visible. Colour, brushwork, and texture render form in painterly works. Artists whose oeuvre would be considered painterly include Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Tom Thomson.

  • Painters Eleven

    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 Château Ramezay. He married the artist Jori Smith in the early 1930s.

  • Palu, Louie (Canadian, b.1968)

    Toronto-born, Palu is an award-winning photojournalist and filmmaker who examines socio-political issues concerning human rights and war. He has documented conflict in countries such as Afghanistan, Ukraine, Mexico, and Pakistan, and has photographed detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Palu’s most recent work records the growing military presence in the Canadian Arctic and its impact on Inuit communities.

  • Panet, Louise-Amélie (Canadian, 1789–1862)

    An artist, writer, and musician, Louise-Amélie Panet studied painting in Montreal under Jeanne-Charlotte Allamand-Berczy and William Berczy, her future parents-in-law. After her marriage, she and her husband eventually settled in the seigneury of Sainte-Mélanie d’Ailleboust, where she hosted a literary salon.

  • papier mâché

    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, Mimi (Canadian, 1924–2005)

    A Surrealist painter best known for her dreamlike, whimsical, and highly symbolic canvases. She studied under Canadian painter Alfred Pellan (1906–1988) at the École des beaux-arts de Montréal before being expelled in 1948 for her participation in an anti-conformist campus art group. Her dissatisfaction with the traditionalism of the Canadian art scene led her to spend the rest of her artistic career in Paris.

  • 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.

  • parfleche

    A light and durable rawhide pouch used by Plains Indigenous peoples. A parfleche is often made from a single piece of dried, untanned animal skin that is folded and laced together with leather strings. The term may also refer to bags, often decorated, made from rawhide.

  • Paris Salon

    Beginning in 1667, the Paris Salon was a juried annual or biennial exhibition held at the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture (later the Académie des beaux-arts). It became the major marker of prominence for artists, especially between 1748 and 1890, and was known for its crammed display of paintings, covering the walls from floor to ceiling. Through exposure and the connections to patrons and commissions, artists’ careers could be made by their inclusion in the Salon.

  • 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.

  • Paste-ups or mechanicals

    A pre-digital method of laying out typographic elements on a publication page. A paste-up artist would decide on layout and affix the typographic elements to the page. Referred to as “mechanicals,” completed pages would then be photographed to create a negative that could be used to make a printing plate.

  • Paterson, Katie (Scottish, b. 1981)

    A multidisciplinary conceptual artist whose work emphasizes how humans engage with the natural environment and the cosmos. Combining technology and intensive research, Paterson’s projects include a light bulb that simulates moonlight and a live phone line broadcasting the sound of a glacier melting. Her Future Library, 2014–2114, is a new forest planted in Norway that will supply paper for books to be printed a century in the future.

  • patination

    Patination is the development or creation of a patina, or film, on the surface of a material due to age and exposure. In copper, bronze, and similar metals, a green patina, or verdigris, gives historic buildings and monuments their distinctive colour. Depending on the conditions under which it occurs, patination can protect materials, especially metals, from other types of damage and corrosion.

  • 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.

  • Paul, Leonard (Mi’kmaq, b. 1953)

    A watercolourist and painter working in a high-realist style with interest in natural forms, like rivers and wildlife, as well as Mi’kmaq legends. Paul places importance in art’s role in therapy. He studied therapy counselling at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and suicide prevention training in Calgary. Paul has illustrated several books and was commissioned by the Nova Scotia government to create the province’s welcome sign.

  • Pearlstein, Philip (American, b.1924)

    A figurative painter known for his use of nude models rendered objectively and in oblique perspective as part of complex interior scenes that include various props. Pearlstein studied at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in the 1940s and began painting from life in the 1960s. His models often appear disinterested and take ungainly poses that emphasize the way the painter renders their bodies as form rather than flesh.

  • Peck, Robin (b.1950)

    A Red Deer, Alberta-born artist and writer known for his use of industrial debris to create amorphous, mixed-media sculptures and installations. He received his MFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (now NSCAD University) and has taught at institutions across Canada, including the University of Western Ontario, London; Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Vancouver; NSCAD University, Halifax; and the Alberta College of Art and Design, Calgary.

  • Peel, Mildred (Canadian, 1856–1920)

    Born in London, Ontario, Peel studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, as well as in Paris, where she lived with her brother, noted painter Paul Peel. A member of the Ontario Society of Artists, she was known for painting portraits and sculpting busts and she received a number of important commissions to depict historic figures.

  • Peeters, Clara (Flemish, c.1587–after 1636)

    The only known Flemish painter to have exclusively painted still lifes in the early seventeenth century, Clara Peeters was known for her banquet scenes depicting a variety of food and drink, tableware, and flowers, and for incorporating self-portraiture into her still lifes. Little is known about her life, and biographical details have proved difficult to establish, but evidence suggests she lived and worked in Antwerp. Peeters’s work circulated widely throughout Europe in her lifetime, and her technique influenced painters in the Netherlands and Germany.

  • 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 (now part of the Université du Québec à Montréal) 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. (See Alfred Pellan: Life & Work by Maria Rosa Lehmann.)

  • Pemberton, Sophie (Canadian, 1869–1959)

    A landscape and portrait painter, Pemberton 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 of Arts.

  • Penck, A.R. (1939–2017)

    A German artist who worked in a variety of mediums, including painting, printmaking, and sculpture. Penck was best known for his Neo-Expressionist paintings, in which he customarily used bright contrasting colours and featured stick figures, graffiti, and geometric symbols and patterns. A self-taught free thinker in both aesthetic and ideology, he was active in the East German underground art scene for several decades before moving to West Germany in 1980.

  • Penn, Irving (American, 1917–2009)

    Well-known in the United States, for decades he was one of the top photographers for Vogue magazine, where he was hired in 1943 by art director Alexander Liberman. With Vogue, he travelled around the world for portrait and fashion shoots, maintaining his own photographic practice which inventively re-invigorated older photographic printing techniques.

  • Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

    Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts was the first art school and art museum in the United States. In the nineteenth century, the school was one of the rare institutions to provide art education to women as well as men. The museum holds an important collection of American art from the eighteenth through twentieth centuries.

  • Pepper, George (Canadian, 1903–1962)

    An artist and teacher who spent much of his professional life in Toronto, Pepper studied under J.E.H MacDonald and J.W. Beatty and found inspiration in the work of the Group of Seven. An official Canadian war artist during the Second World War, he was commissioned by the Canadian Pacific Railway to paint a mural in one of their transcontinental trains. Pepper was married to prominent artist Kathleen Daly and the couple travelled to the Arctic in 1960 to study Inuit art. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.

  • 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.

  • Perehudoff, William (Canadian, 1918–2013)

    A Saskatchewan-born painter, Perehudoff studied at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Centre and became known for producing abstract works in which he drew on the wide open spaces of the prairies to create vibrant colour field paintings. He met his wife, the renowned landscape painter Dorothy Knowles, at the Emma Lake Artists’ Workshops, where both were regular attendees. Perehudoff was made a member of the Order of Canada in 1999.

  • Péret, Benjamin (French, 1899–1959)

    A Surrealist poet, Péret employed various automatic processes in his compositions, seeking to liberate language by engaging the unconscious. As a soldier in the First World War, he began writing after discovering the work of Guillaume Apollinaire and after the war became part of André Breton’s Surrealist circle in Paris. An editor of Surrealist publications as well as a writer, he played an essential role in the movement. Although Péret had joined the Communist Party alongside Breton and other noted Surrealists in 1926 and remained a Trotskyist until the end of his life, he criticized the way his peers used poetry as a vehicle for their political beliefs, calling it a form of propaganda.

  • Peretz, Isaac Leib (Polish, 1852–1915)

    A prolific Yiddish writer of the late nineteenth to early twentieth century, Peretz is credited for creating a modern Yiddish literature and was a proponent of the language as a place of Jewish cultural identity. His poems, plays, humorous sketches, and especially his short stories experimented with form and brought psychological realism to his characters. His role as mentor to a generation of Jewish writers in Warsaw ushered in a new literary era for the Yiddish language.

  • performance art

    A genre of art presented live and in which the medium is the artist’s body in time. The performance may involve multiple participants, as well as the audience. Performance art originated in the early twentieth century with movements like Dadaism and Futurism and found wider prominence in the 1960s and 1970s after the decline of Modernism. Common themes of this genre concern the dematerialized art object, ephemerality, the artist’s presence, anti-capitalism, and the integration of art with life.

  • 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 effect; 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.

  • Philadelphia School of Design for Women

    Now Moore College of Art and Design, the Philadelphia School of Design for Women was founded by Sarah Worthington Peter in 1848. Peter sought to provide women with training that would enable them to achieve financial independence through work in Philadelphia’s growing design industries. It was the first visual arts college for women in the United States.

  • Phillips, Coles (American, 1880–1927)

    Commercial illustrator well-known for his “fade-away girl” designs, figures whose clothing colour-matched and merged with the background and embraced negative space. Phillips was largely self-taught and trained formally for only three months at the Chase School of Art in New York (now Parson’s School of Design). In 1908 he published his first cover for LIFE magazine—a stylish woman rendered in a bold style, which reflected a new ideal of the modern women emerging in popular media.

  • Phillips, W.J. (British/Canadian, 1884–1963)

    Watercolourist and printmaker known for popularizing Japanese woodcut colour printing in Canada, with subjects including still lifes, portraits, and landscapes. Phillips moved to Winnipeg in 1913 and became a prominent art critic for The Winnipeg Evening Tribune from 1926 to 1941. In 1925 he helped re-establish the Manitoba Society of Artists and from 1940 to 1959 taught at the Banff School of Fine Arts (now the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity).

  • photo-offset lithography

    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.

  • photographic lantern slide

    Invented in 1848 by brothers William and Frederick Langenheim, photographic lantern slides were positive photographs produced on a glass base that could be viewed with the aid of a “magic lantern,” a device that predates the slide projector.

  • Photogravure

    A process for reproducing photographs that was invented in the nineteenth century. This method involves preparing a metal plate with an acid bath to etch the photographic image onto the metal surface. Ink is applied to the plate and then wiped off with a cloth. The plate is pressed into paper that has been lightly moistened, which picks up the pigment remaining in the etched grooves, creating a printed image.

  • photomontage

    A technique of collage that uses photographs and/or photographic reproductions to create compositions, often employed to express political agendas or dissent.

  • Photorealism

    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.

  • phylactery

    A phylactery—or speech scroll—is a visual device that illustrates speech or other types of sound in various works of art. Appearing in works from medieval tapestries to contemporary comics, they convey the words spoken by the characters depicted in a work of art.

  • 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, 1907, 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.

  • pictographs

    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.

  • Pictorialism

    An international movement that flourished from the 1880s to the first decades of the twentieth century and promoted the idea of photography as art rather than as a scientific or documentary tool. Pictorialists experimented with a variety of photographic techniques to achieve artistic effects. Their photographs are broadly characterized by soft focus and diffuse lighting.

  • Picture Loan Society

    Established by Douglas Duncan and others in 1936, this Toronto 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.

  • picture plane

    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.

  • picturesque

    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 draftsman 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.

  • Pierrot

    A character derived from commedia dell’arte, a type of professional theatre that originated in Italy and was popularized in Europe from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. Pierrot started to appear as an unmasked character with a painted face in the late seventeenth century, and eventually came to be personified as the “sad clown.”

  • 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.

  • Pinsky, Alfred (Canadian, 1921–1999)

    An artist and art educator, Pinsky was an influential force for art pedagogy and education in Canada in the latter half of the twentieth century. With Leah Sherman, he founded the Department of Fine Arts at Sir George Williams College (now Concordia University) in Montreal in 1960, eventually serving as Dean of Fine Arts from 1975 to 1980. He was the founder of the Child Art Council and chair of the Canadian Society for Education through Art. Primarily a painter, Pinsky taught classes at Concordia, Saskatoon Teachers’ College, and the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, and wrote essays and art criticism.

  • Piper, Adrian (American, b.1948)

    A Conceptual artist and philosopher whose work addresses issues of race, gender, and class, and is often inspired by her professional and personal experiences. Encompassing performance, installation, and photography, Piper’s practice has informed the work of other visionary feminist artists, including Barbara Kruger and Cindy Sherman. Among her best-known works is My Calling Card, 1986–1990, a performance piece in which she gave personally written cards to people that addressed racist comments they had made.

  • 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.

  • Pitseolak, Jamasie (Kinngait, b.1968)

    Jamasie Pitseolak is an Inuit artist who creates sculptures of everyday objects, including motorcycles, guitars, and tables and chairs. Rather than carve from single pieces of stone, he assembles his pieces from many individually carved components, creating collage-like works that incorporate a variety of types of coloured stone. The grandson of artist, photographer, and writer Peter Pitseolak, whom he considers his inspiration, Jamasie incorporates memory, emotion, and oral tradition into his art.

  • Pitseolak, Oopik (Kinngait, b.1946)

    A carver who began her career by helping her father-in-law, the artist Peter Pitseolak, Oopik often incorporates beadwork into her sculptures. She is the mother of contemporary Inuit artist Jamasie Pitseolak.

  • Pitseolak, Peter (Tujakjuak/Kinngait, 1902–1973)

    Pitseolak was a pioneer in photography—the first to capture images of traditional life in the Arctic from an Inuit perspective. In the 1940s and 1950s he documented his community in and around Kinngait (Cape Dorset) during a period of tremendous change and government incursion. In collaboration with his wife, Aggeok, Pitseolak developed innovative methods for printing photographs in harsh Arctic conditions.

  • Pitsiulak, Tim (Kimmirut/Kinngait, 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, Ottawa; the Winnipeg Art Gallery; and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.

  • 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 of 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 (now part of Université Laval) from 1963 to 1970.

  • Plaskett, Joseph (Canadian, 1918–2014)

    Known for his representations of everyday life in his paintings, Plaskett was born in British Columbia but spent most of his professional career living and working in Paris. Late in life he moved to the United Kingdom. In 2005 he formed the Plaskett Foundation, which currently awards $30,000 to a Canadian painter enrolled in or recently graduated from a master of fine arts program to fund a year in Europe.

  • plaster cast

    A copy of a sculpture created by a direct imprint or mould of the sculpture in negative space. When the mould is set and removed from the sculpture, plaster is poured into the mould, which when dried results in a perfect replica of the original sculpture. The use of a plaster cast facilitates wider access to study antiquities.

  • Plasticiens

    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).

  • plasticity

    A term used to describe art that is created on a flat surface—like a painting—but which has the illusion of being three-dimensional. These works achieve the quality of plasticity through artistic techniques such as the interplay of light and shadow or the rendering of shapes and textures to give the impression that a two-dimensional representation of an object takes up real space.

  • platinum process

    A photographic process whereby iron salts and platinum salts are used to create light-sensitive paper that is then exposed and developed as a print. Popular from the 1870s through to the early twentieth century, platinum prints (also called “platinotypes”) are characterized by their subtle tones and permanence—both of which result from the fact that the image is absorbed directly onto the paper rather than suspended in an emulsion, as in the silver print process.

  • Podeswa, Yehuda (Polish/Canadian, 1924 or 1926–2012)

    Born into a family of artists, Yehuda Podeswa was a painter and Holocaust survivor. He created memory paintings while he was interned at Kaufering, a satellite camp of the larger Dachau concentration camp in Germany. After the war, Podeswa moved to Toronto, where he studied at the Ontario College of Art (now the Ontario College of Art and Design University).

  • 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.

  • Poindexter Gallery

    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.

  • Pointillism

    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.

  • Poitras, Edward (Métis, b. 1953)

    A mixed-media sculptor and installation artist known for his combination of dissimilar materials, such as eroded animal bones, beadwork, transistor boards, audiotapes, and electrical wires, to explore the interrelationships between Indigenous and European or settler cultures. From 1975 to 1976 Poitras studied with Domingo Cisneros in La Macaza, Quebec. In 1995 he became the first Indigenous artist to represent Canada at the Venice Biennale. 

  • Poitras, Jane Ash (Cree, b.1951)

    A painter, printmaker, and writer known for using postmodern techniques such as collage to confront the history and lived experience of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Poitras has a background in microbiology and holds an MFA from Columbia University. She is the recipient of many distinguished awards including the Order of Canada (2017). Her work is widely represented in public institutions across the country.

  • Polaroid

    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.

  • Pollard, Ingrid (British, b.1953)

    A Guyanese-born British photographer and media artist whose portraits and landscape works explore representations of race, identity, and sexuality in English culture. A leading figure in the Black British art movement of the 1980s, Pollard was a co-founder of the Association of Black Photographers in 1988, a photographic arts agency in London now known as Autograph ABP.

  • Pollock, Griselda (British Canadian, b.1949, South Africa)

    One of the foremost feminist art historians, Pollock’s groundbreaking contributions to the field include Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology (1981, with Rozsika Parker), Vision and Difference: Feminism, Femininity and Histories of Art (1988), and Differencing the Canon: Feminism and the Writing of Art’s Histories (1999). She has also produced monographs on Mary Cassatt, Vincent Van Gogh, and Charlotte Salomon. Pollock is Professor of Social and Critical Histories of Art at the University of Leeds.

  • Pollock, Jack (Canadian, 1930–1992)

    A gallerist, art dealer, and educator known for an eccentric, vibrant personality and his early support of young artists, including Norval Morrisseau and David Hockney. In 1960 Pollock opened the Pollock Gallery in Toronto and two years later mounted a solo exhibition of Morrisseau’s works, the first time an Indigenous artist was shown in a contemporary Canadian gallery. He closed the Pollock Gallery in 1981.

  • 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.

  • Pont-Aven School

    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.

  • Pooley, Henry (British, active 1812–1843)

    A nineteenth-century British military engineer who made sketches of sites in the Ottawa region at the request of the Governor General Lord Dalhousie. Pooley’s watercolour sketches of the Rideau Canal in the 1830s document the displacement of Indigenous peoples at the hands of European colonizers.

  • Pootoogook, Annie (Kinngait, 1969–2016)

    Annie Pootoogook was 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, Eegyvudluk 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. (See Annie Pootoogook: Life & Work by Nancy G. Campbell.)

  • Pootoogook, Cee (Kinngait, 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, Goo (Kinngait, b.1956)

    An Inuit graphic artist, Pootoogook makes drawings that depict the natural world and traditional life. The brother of fellow artists Annie Pootoogook and Cee Pootoogook and the son of the artists Napachie Pootoogook and Eegyvudluk Pootoogook, he lives and works in Kinngait.

  • Pootoogook, Itee (Kinngait, 1951–2014)

    Born in Kimmirut, Nunavut, Pootoogook was an Inuit artist known for his photo-based coloured pencil drawings. Working at Kinngait Studios in Cape Dorset, he relied on source images from his own photography and from other Inuit artists and community members to create images that possess a documentary quality. Pootoogook’s artistic career did not start until late in life, and his drawings were exhibited in Toronto for the first time in 2007. Earlier, in the 1970s and 1980s, he had tried first carving and then drawing, but his interests in depicting contemporary aspects of Inuit life and in photography did not fit with dominant ideas of Inuit art at that time. 

  • Pootoogook, Kananginak (Kinngait, 1935–2010)

    One of the four carvers who helped James Houston start the print program at the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative in the 1950s, Kananginak became a prolific printmaker and graphic artist. Known for his nuanced and realistic representations of animals, especially owls, he has been called the “Audubon of the North,” but he also depicted social change in his community. The son of the important camp leader Pootoogook and uncle of the artist Annie Pootoogook, in 2017 Kananginak became the first Inuit artist to have work included in the Venice Biennale.

  • Pootoogook, Napachie (Kinngait, 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 series of autobiographical drawings was featured in a solo exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in 2004. 

  • Pop art

    A movement of the late 1950s to early 1970s in Britain and the United States, Pop art 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.

  • Post-Impressionism

    A French-borne art movement which was developed in the late nineteenth century and built upon the preceding Impressionist movement. Practitioners rejected the naturalistic use of light and colour and infused their works with more abstract qualities, emphasizing harsher lines and shapes, a heavier use of paint and pigment, and expressive, thickly textured brushstrokes. Key figures include Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, and Paul Cézanne.

  • Post-Minimalism

    A term used to refer to work created after the rise of Minimalism in the 1960s; in reaction to the austere, self-contained, and impersonal qualities favoured by the Minimalist movement, Post-Minimalist art often utilized organic and unconventional materials rather than industrial ones, while also emphasizing the process of creation over the physicality of the finished artwork.

  • Post-Painterly Abstraction

    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, Toronto. 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.

  • post-structuralist theory

    A body of critical cultural theory that rose to prominence during the second half of the twentieth century. Post-structuralism is interested in how knowledge is produced, and its theories are premised on a rejection of the existence of universal truths. It posits that knowledge is not fixed or absolute, but instead depends upon one’s social, cultural, and political positioning. The work of French theorist Jacques Derrida has been particularly influential to post-structuralist thought, especially for theorists contesting dominant and hegemonic claims about concepts such as gender, sex, race, and class.

  • postmodernism

    A broad art historical category of contemporary art that uses  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.

  • potlatch

    From the Chinook word patshatl, the potlatch is a ceremony integral to the governing structure, culture, and spiritual traditions of various First Nations living on the Northwest Coast and in parts of the interior western Subarctic. It redistributes wealth; confers status and rank upon individuals, kin groups, and clans; and establishes claims to names, powers, and rights to hunting and fishing territories. Potlatches called on the skills of cultural practitioners such as singers, dancers, sculptors, weavers, and storytellers, thereby retaining and supporting the lived integrity and cultural richness of these communities and the relations among them.

  • potlatch ban

    As an amendment to the Indian Act, the potlatch ban was in place from 1884 to 1951. The ban deepened the devastating effects of government control over Northwest Coast and western Subarctic Indigenous groups. Colonists and missionaries saw the sharing of wealth that took place at potlatches to be excessive and wasteful, and understood that forbidding a practice that was integral to Indigenous cultures would advance the erasure of these cultures. In 1921 Chief Dan Cranmer’s six-day potlatch resulted in the arrest of fifty people, jail sentences for twenty-two, and the forced surrender of countless cultural objects that became part of colonial museum collections.

  • 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, 1935–2022)

    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, 1935–2018)

    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. (See Mary Pratt: Life & Work by Ray Cronin.)

  • Pre-Raphaelites

    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

    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.

  • Préfontaine, Fernand (Canadian, 1888–1949)

    The Montreal architect Fernand Préfontaine was one of the founders of the magazine Le Nigog in 1918. In the pages of this magazine, he was a vocal critic of Montreal architecture. He and his spouse held many salons in Montreal that were attended by the French-Canadian intellectual elite. There they would discuss the topics of the day. 

  • 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 Amsterdam.

  • primitivism

    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 Gauguin, and the Expressionist group Die Brücke (The Bridge) embraced elements of primitivism.

  • Primus, Pearl (American, 1919–1994)

    A dancer, choreographer, teacher, and anthropologist who introduced the American public to African dances and their significance in order to dispel myths and stereotypes. Primus created several pieces about black American life, including Strange Fruit, 1945, which references violent racism and the lynching of African Americans. In 1959 Primus directed a new performing arts centre in Monrovia, Liberia, and later taught throughout the United States.

  • Prince, Richard (b.1949)

    A New York City-based artist recognized as a founding figure in the Appropriation Art movement. He pioneered the technique of “re-photography,” which entails the use and manipulation of existing images and media from pop culture to create new artworks. He is best known for his Cowboys series (1980–1992), which used images from Marlboro cigarette ads to explore masculine tropes in American consumer culture.

  • printmaking

    A process of artistic creation in which ink is transferred from one surface to another to make an impression. Printmaking generally involves drawing, carving, etching, or burning an image onto a screen, stone block, wood, or metal plate, rolling ink over that surface and imprinting onto paper, canvas, or another surface. Through this method, multiples of the same image can be made. Common types of printmaking include lithography, woodcut, screenprint, and intaglio.

  • 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.

  • process colours

    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.

  • Proustian

    Relating to the French novelist Marcel Proust (1871–1922), whose famous work In Search of Lost Time concerns personal memory, the nature of art, anxiety, and homosexuality. Proust’s prose is characterized by long and complicated sentences. To be Proustian is also to have a vivid memory, formerly unconscious, triggered by a sensual experience in the present.

  • Provincial Institute of Technology and Art

    Founded in Calgary in 1916 as one of the first publicly-funded polytechnic institutes in North America, the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art (PITA) offered vocational training programs alongside courses in visual and applied arts. In 1960, PITA was reorganized and renamed the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology while the institute’s art department became the Alberta College of Art (now known as the Alberta University of the Arts). Notable faculty included the Canadian painter Marion Nicoll, who taught at the school from the 1930s through the 1960s.

  • Pudlat, Pudlo (Ilupirulik/Kinngait, 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.

  • Pulford, Ted (Canadian, 1914–1994)

    Primarily a watercolour painter, Pulford was an influential faculty member at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, from 1949 until 1980. Originally from Saskatoon, he began teaching after graduating from Fine Arts at Mount Allison, his classes focusing on drawing and technique. His students, among them Mary Pratt and Christopher Pratt, brought attention to realist art in the Maritimes.

  • 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.

  • Puqiqnak, Uriash (Gjoa Haven, b.1946)

    Uriash Puqiqnak is a carver known for the playful forms of his figurative or animal subjects, creating work that can border on the grotesque. He is also a politician, and has served as the mayor of Gjoa Haven and as a member of the Nunavut legislature from 1999 to 2004. He works to combat forgeries of Inuit art.

  • Push Pin Studios

    An influential graphic design studio based in the United States. It was originally founded in 1954 by Seymour Chwast, Milton Glaser, and Edward Sorel, who were students together at Cooper Union in New York City. Designer Reynold Ruffins joined shortly after it was founded. It is known for its contemporary re-interpretation of historical styles in graphic design, illustration, and visual culture.

  • Puvis de Chavannes, Pierre (French, 1824–1898)

    Pierre Puvis de Chavannes was an academic painter-decorator. His works, often exhibited at the yearly Salon, were intended to decorate museums, palaces, and monuments. A follower of the Symbolist movement, he attempted to harmonize the relationship between painting and wall. He created allegorical works using techniques developed by the Renaissance artist Giotto.

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