Florence Wyle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Florence Norma Wyle
Loring Wyle.JPG
EducationFrances Loring
Known forSculptor and designer
Partner(s)Frances Loring
Patron(s)Elizabeth Bradford Holbrook

Florence Wyle RCA (November 14, 1881 – January 14, 1968) was an American-Canadian sculptor, designer and poet; a pioneer of the Canadian art scene.[1] She practiced chiefly in Toronto, living and working with her partner Frances Loring, with whom she shared a studio and home for almost sixty years.[2] In 1928, she co-founded and was a former president[1] of the Sculptors' Society of Canada with Loring, Alfred Laliberté, Elizabeth Wyn Wood, Emanuel Hahn and Henri Hébert,[3] and was the first woman sculptor to become a full member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.[4] Throughout her career, alongside Loring, she was a persistent and convincing advocate for policy, tax benefits and living wages for artist's work.


Wyle was born in Trenton, Illinois and in 1900 enrolled at the University of Illinois as a pre-med student where anatomy classes awakened in her a wonder and revererance for human anatomy.[5][1] Three years later (1903) she transferred to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she began studying clay modeling with Lorado Taft.[6] She studied modelling and sculptural design in the USA under Frances Loring.

Wyle moved to Toronto in 1913 to join Loring who had moved there the year before. Wyle worked as a sculptor in clay, plasticine, stone and wood until her death in 1968. Most of her carvings were executed by herself. One of her early works, Sun Worshipper (1916) is a bronze female nude "basking in the rays" and arching her body in a way that "hints more than a little at sexual pleasures."[2]

Wyle was a member of the Ontario Society of Artists (1920–1933, then from 1948), the Sculptors Society of Canada (1933), the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (associate 1920, full member 1938) and the Canadian Guild of Potters.[7]

Career and official commissions[edit]

Wyle preferred architectural projects that were large in scale compared to her partner Frances Loring. She was made a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.[8] Her work was often exhibited by the Women's Art Association of Canada.[9] Small figurines in wood which were part of the Dominion Drama Festival trophy set were among her commissions the year she was 80.[1] The Ontario Veterinary College has one of her pieces, a bas-relief panel 13' high depicting farm animal.[1] The late Pearl McCarthy, art critic for the Globe and Mail, once said that large or small, cats or heroes, the sculpture of Frances Wyle had a lyrical as well as classical quality.[1]

  • 1926 – St. Stephen War Memorial
  • 1957 – Mother and Children, Canadian National Exhibition

Posthumous honour[edit]

In 2000 the Canadian Portrait Academy made Wyle an Honorary Academician naming her one of the Top 100 Artists of the 20th Century.


  • Wyle, Florence (1959). Poems. Toronto: Ryerson Press.
  • Wyle, Florence; Kilbourn, Rosemary (1976). The shadow of the year: poems. Toronto: Aliquando Press.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Frances Wyle: Human anatomy classes turned her from medicine to sculpture". The Globe and Mail. January 15, 1968.
  2. ^ a b Pilcher, Alex (2017). A Queer Little History of Art. London: Tate Publishing. p. 33. ISBN 978-1-84976-503-9.
  3. ^ "Frances Loring, Florence Wyle – Themes – Celebrating Women's Achievements – Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved February 6, 2011.
  4. ^ Cameron, Elspeth (2007). And Beauty Answers: The Life of Frances Loring and Florence Wyle. Cormorant Books Inc. ISBN 1897151136.
  5. ^ Petteys, Chris, "Dictionary of Women Artists: An international dictionary of women artists born before 1900", G.K. Hall & Co., Boston, 1985
  6. ^ Boyanoski, Christine, Loring and Wyle: Sculptors Legacy, Art Gallery of Ontario, Musée des Beaux-Arts de l’Ontario, Toronto, 1987, pp. 1–3.
  7. ^ "WYLE, Florence". Canadian Women Artists History Initiative. Concordia University. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
  8. ^ "Members since 1880". Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Archived from the original on May 26, 2011. Retrieved September 11, 2013.
  9. ^ Holmlund, Mona; Youngberg, Gail (2003). Inspiring Women: A Celebration of Herstory. Coteau Books. p. 216. ISBN 978-1-55050-204-6. Retrieved July 5, 2014.

External links[edit]