Kathleen Munn

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Kathleen Munn (1887–1974) was a pioneering Canadian painter and exponent of international modernism.

Early years[edit]

Kathleen Jean Munn was born to a middle class family in Toronto in 1887 and was the youngest of six children. Her family owned and ran a jewellery store at the intersection of Yonge and Bloor, and the family lived in the apartment above.[1] Munn began her formal art education in 1904 when she began attending the Westbourne School in Toronto, studying under Farquhar McGillivray Knowles. Beginning in 1909, she began to show her work in exhibitions with the Ontario Society of Artists, the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, and the Canadian National Exhibition.[2] In 1912, Munn left her native Toronto to begin her studies at the Art Students League in New York City.[3] Munn's family was extremely supportive of her career and paid for her art education in both New York and Philadelphia.[4] She developed a devotion to international modernism and by 1920 "her style had evolved from the loose colourful brushwork of Impressionism to the more hard-edge geometric fragmentation of natural form".[3] This resulted from her study of the French artist Paul Cézanne.

Philosophy of Art[edit]

Munn kept extensive notebooks of her studies at the Art Students League, which continued on and off until the late 1920s. She read constantly and kept extensive notes on art theory, philosophy, literature, and music, including Synchromism, Cubism, and Theosophy, embracing an intellectual and spiritual approach to art. She was extremely influenced by the writings of Jay Hambidge and his theory of dynamic symmetry, which was instrumental in the development of her Passion Series.[5]

Later Success[edit]

Munn sought to convey spiritual truths within a formal order "like her colleague and admirer Lawren Harris".[3] She was invited to contribute to the 1928 Group of Seven exhibition and submitted her work Composition. The work was purchased later on by Bertram Brooker who praised the painting for its "musicality".[3]

In her day, most Toronto art critics were not sure of her pioneering innovations. However she was noted as "one of the ablest...of women painters and one of the most advanced".[3]

References[edit]

  • Newlands, Anne (2000). Canadian Art: From Its Beginnings To 2000. Firefly Books Ltd. p. 229. ISBN 978-1-55209-450-1. 

[6]

  1. ^ "Art Canada Institute - Institut de l'art canadien". www.aci-iac.ca. Retrieved 2016-03-08. 
  2. ^ "Art Canada Institute - Institut de l'art canadien". www.aci-iac.ca. Retrieved 2016-03-08. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Newlands, Anne (2000). Canadian Art: From Its Beginnings To 2000. Firefly Books Ltd. p. 229. ISBN 978-1-55209-450-1. 
  4. ^ "Art Canada Institute - Institut de l'art canadien". www.aci-iac.ca. Retrieved 2016-03-08. 
  5. ^ "Art Canada Institute - Institut de l'art canadien". www.aci-iac.ca. Retrieved 2016-03-08. 
  6. ^ Uhlyarik, Georgiana (2014): Kathleen Munn, Life and Work: an e-Book, Art Canada Institute, http://www.aci-iac.ca/kathleen-munn