Doris Shadbolt

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Doris Shadbolt
Born (1918-11-28)November 28, 1918
Preston, Ontario
Died December 22, 2003(2003-12-22) (aged 85)
Awards Order of Canada, Governor General's Award

Doris Shadbolt, OC, née Meisel, (November 28, 1918 – December 22, 2003)[1][2] was a Canadian art curator, writer and co-ordinator of exhibitions.

Early life[edit]

Born in Preston, Ontario, Shadbolt attended the University of Toronto[3] where she studied Fine Arts as an undergraduate under painter Charles Comfort.[4] After graduating, she worked as a research assistant at the Art Gallery of Ontario (then the Art Gallery of Toronto) and the National Gallery of Canada.[5] She moved to Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband, painter Jack Shadbolt, in 1945.[5]


In Vancouver, Shadbolt started a long career with the Vancouver Art Gallery, starting first as a volunteer, then serving as a docent, curator, and director.[5] She curated several groundbreaking exhibitions, including "Art of the Raven" (1967), which showcased the work of First Nations artists. Her 1970 exhibition "New York 13" introduced Vancouverites to Robert Morris, Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol.[5]

Shadbolt was also an active art historian and biographer. Her biographies of Bill Reid and Emily Carr remain the authoritative books on the artists. She won several awards for her non-fiction; her Bill Reid won the 1987 Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize. She was awarded honorary doctorate degrees from Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia, and Emily Carr College of Art and Design.[6][7] She was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1976, and in 2000 received a Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts for her contributions to literature and the arts.[8][9]

The Shadbolt Centre for the Arts in Burnaby, British Columbia, is named for the Shadbolts, and the couple also started the Vancouver Institute for the Visual Arts (which was renamed the Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation after their deaths).[8][10]

Longtime residents on Capitol Hill in Burnaby, the Shadbolts also maintained a summer home on Hornby Island[11] where they were active in the artists colony there. A passionate collector of B.C. ceramics, she bequeathed her 170 piece collection of pottery by Wayne Ngan, Glenn Lewis, Tam Irving, and others to the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery.[12] Beginning in the 1950s, Shadbolt designed silver jewelry, exhibiting at the New Design Gallery in 1961. Her sculptural abstract forms were inspired by natural forms and African art.[13][14]

Selected works[edit]


  1. ^ Milroy, Sarah (January 10, 2004). "Guardian, visionary, pioneer: Doris Shadbolt, an appreciation". Globe & Mail: R7. 
  2. ^ O'Brian, Amy (December 23, 2003). "Doris Shadbolt was curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery two decades". Vancouver Sun: B4. 
  3. ^ "Doris and Jack Shadbolt". Special Collection. National Gallery of Canada. Retrieved 13 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "Doris Shadbolt fonds". MemoryBC. British Columbia Archival Information Network. Retrieved 14 April 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Doris Shadbolt". Vancouver in the Sixties. Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery. Retrieved 13 April 2014. 
  6. ^ "In memoriam: Doris Shadbolt (1918-2003)". Inuit Art Quarterly (vol. 19, no.2): 46–47. Summer 2004. 
  7. ^ "Doris Shadbolt Receives Honorary Doctorate". Inuit Art Quarterly (v. 9, n.3): 48. Fall 1994. 
  8. ^ a b "Shadbolt, Doris Meisel". Encyclopedia of British Columbia. KnowBC. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  9. ^ Governor General's awards in visual and media arts = Les prix du Gouverneur General en arts visuels et mediatiques. Canada Council. 2000. 
  10. ^ Laurence, Robin (May 1, 1997). "True Colours". Georgia Straight: 15–16. 
  11. ^ Hay, Norman (March 1979). "Shapes, Shadbolts and Hornby Island". Saturday Night: 66–68. 
  12. ^ Gogarty, Amy (September 2011). "The Doris Shadbolt Pottery Collection". Ceramics : Art & Perception (85): 72–73. 
  13. ^ Hassard, Kathy (December 7, 1961). "Silver Jewelry "Fun" for Creative Artist". The Vancouver Sun: 4. 
  14. ^ "B.C. jewelry". Western Homes & Living: 11–12. December–January, 1955-56.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

Further reading[edit]

  • Those Days: A Portrait of Doris Shadbolt. [film] Written & Directed by Karen Henry. Produced by the Western Front and the Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery, 2002. Running time 27 min.
  • Doris Shadbolt. Artists' File. Vancouver Art Gallery Library. Vancouver Art Gallery. Vancouver, B.C.
  • Doris Shadbolt sous-fonds, 1963-1983: finding aid : prepared by Alix Nay. Vancouver Art Gallery, 2014.
  • Doris Shadbolt: the Vancouver Art Gallery years: finder's guide to Vancouver Art Gallery archival resources relevant to Doris Shadbolt. Prepared by Karen Henry. Vancouver Art Gallery, 2002.
  • "Lion in Winter: A Governor General's award crowns a lifetime of arts advocacy for Doris Shadbolt" by Robin Laurence. Canadian Art (Summer 2000), p. 40-41.
  • "Doris Shadbolt: Quiet Dynamo in the World of Art" (Movers & Shakers) Chatelaine (February 1981), p. 42, 116.

External links[edit]