A. J. Casson Award

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The A. J. Casson Award is given to an artist whose work is considered the best submission to the annual “Open Water” competition organized by the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour (CSPWC). It is named after Alfred Joseph Casson (1898–1992), painter.[1] and a member of Canada's “Group of Seven”.[2] It is officially given “for outstanding achievement in watercolour painting” and is considered Canada's most significant award in this most challenging medium.[3]

"Open Water" is as implied open to any artist working in watercolour. The juried exhibitions have over the years been held in a number of notable exhibition venues including The National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa, Ontario), The Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto, Ontario), The Beaverbrook Art Gallery (Fredericton, New Brunswick), The University of Alberta [Edmonton], The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Halifax), The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (British Columbia), The Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (Brampton, Ontario) and the John B. Aird Gallery (Toronto, Ontario).

The competition has attracted a distinguished series of jurors and entries from not only Canada but from many other countries.

The award consists of a bronze medal created by Dora de Pedery-Hunt which carries an image inspired by one of Casson's most iconic landscapes. The naming of the award in honour of a beloved CSPWC member and the longest surviving founder of the Society was approved by Casson himself shortly before his death. He was actively involved in the selection of the image and in approving the first sculpted maquette.[3]

Accompanied by a cash award the medal was first presented in 1991 when it replaced the CSPWC's Honour Award, a diploma, which had been presented annually from 1956 onwards to the “outstanding watercolour of the year”.[4] During a transition period 1991 to 1997 the medal was accompanied by the Honour Award diploma but the latter was phased out in 1998.


1956-1990 Honour Award Recipients 1991-2011 A. J. Casson Award Winners
1956 Tom Hodgson 1991 Michael Dobson[5]
1957 Maxwell Bates 1992 Sam Black[6]
1958 Ethel Raicus 1993 June Selznick Drutz
1959 Marion Greenstone 1994 John Inglis[7][8]
1960 William Roberts 1995 Neville Clarke [9]
1961 Bobs Cogill Haworth[10] 1996 Anthony J. Batten[9][11]
1962 Peter Kolisnyk 1997 June Selznick Drutz
1963 Herbert Ariss[12] 1998 David Ladmore[13][14]
1964 Goodridge Roberts 1999 Neville Clarke[3][9]
1965 Ray Cattell[9] 2000 Daniel Barklay[15]
1966 D. Mackay Houston[16] 2001 Marilyn Blumer Cochrane
1967 John Henry Martin 2002 Vivian Thierfelder[9]
1968 Bobs Cogill Haworth 2003 Chow Jian Sheng[17]
1969 Harriet Manore Carter 2004 Karen Wilson[18]
1970 Eric Freifeld 2005 David McEown[19]
1971 Ray Cattell[9] 2006 Jennifer Annesley[20]
1972 Tom LaPierre 2007 Joanne Lucas Warren[21][22]
1973 John Newman 2008 Linda Kemp[5][9]
1974 Dainis Miezajs 2009 William Rogers[23]
1975 Ray Cattell[9] 2010 Josy Britton[24]
1976 June Selznick Drutz 2011 Pat Fairhead[25][26][27]
1977 Les Tait 2012 Daniel Barkley
1978 recipient unknown 2013 Andrew Kish III
1979 Janet Mitchell[28] 2014 Lisa O’Regan
1980 Tom LaPierre[29]
1981 Osvald Timmas[30]
1982 Sam Black
1983 Dainis Miezajs
1984 Ann MacIntosh Duff[9]
1985 Sam Black
1986 Bobs Cogill Haworth
1987 Vivian Thierfelder[9]
1988 Pat Clemes[31]
1989 June Selznick Drutz
1990 Susan Leopold


  1. ^ “A.J. Casson, A Tribute” by Paul Duval, Published by Cerebrus/Prentice Hall, 1980, ISBN 0-920892-02-7, ISBN 978-0-920892-02-2 , ISBN 978-0-13-000596-0
  2. ^ “A.J. Casson. My favourite watercolours 1919-1957” by Paul Duval, Published by Cerebrus/Prentice Hall, 1982, ISBN 978-0-920016-13-8
  3. ^ a b c Awards Archived July 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ “Aquarelle, a history of the CSPWC 1925-1988” by Rebecca Sisler, Printed by Porcupine Quill and Press.
  5. ^ a b Water Colour March 2009
  6. ^ Open Water Information Archived July 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Inglis Quest - Biography Archived August 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ John Inglis Integral Life
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Canadian Who's Who" 2010 edition, University of Toronto Press, Elizabeth Lumley editor, ISBN 978-1-4426-4155-6 [2010 ed.v 45]
  11. ^ Anthony J. Batten, bio
  13. ^ AskART - David Ladmore
  14. ^ David Ladmore Biography/Contact Archived July 11, 2012, at Archive.is
  15. ^ Awards for Daniel Barkley Archived February 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ Exploring hectic city life on canvas
  18. ^ Bedford Arts - The Watercolours of Karen Wilson, CSPWC
  19. ^ DAVID McEOWN bio Archived September 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  20. ^ "Diocletian's Palace" Archived September 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ Auction Warren Archived August 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  22. ^ Now showing: Oakville Images
  23. ^ Water Colour October 2009
  24. ^ Josy Britton Exhibitions Archived September 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  25. ^ The Newsletter of The Arts & Letters Club of Toronto, December 2011 Archived March 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  26. ^ The Ontario Society of Artists Archived January 7, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  27. ^ ARTisSpectrum
  28. ^ Glenbow Museum - Janet Mitchell fonds Archived July 6, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  29. '^ l*+thomas)&order=native('every+AR')&bio=LAPIERREThomas.html Artists in Canada - La Pierre Thomas
  30. ^ Osvald Timmas Biography Archived July 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  31. ^ Pat Clemes Biography Archived July 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.