Robert Houle

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Robert Houle
Robert Houle 414.jpg
Born (1947-03-09)March 9, 1947
St. Boniface, Manitoba, Canada
Nationality Saulteaux First Nations, Canadian
Education BA, Art History University of Manitoba; BE, Art Education McGill University
Known for oil painting, photography, installation, multimedia art
Notable work The Place Where God Lives (1989), Seven in Steel (1989), Kanata (1992)

Robert Houle (born 1947) is a Saulteaux First Nations Canadian artist, curator, critic,[1] and educator. Houle has had an active curatorial and artistic practice since the mid-1970s. He played an important role in bridging the gap between contemporary First Nations artists and the broader Canadian art scene through his writing and involvement in early important high-profile exhibitions such as Land, Spirit, Power: First Nations at the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa, 1992). As an artist, Houle has shown both nationally and internationally. He is predominately a painter working in the tradition of Abstraction, yet he has also embraced a pop sensibility by incorporating everyday images and text into his works.

Early life and education[edit]

Houle was born in St. Boniface, Manitoba on 9 March 1947.[2] He was raised in his traditional Saulteaux tribal culture and in the Roman Catholic religion.[1] He attended the Residential School at Sandy Bay First Nation (Kawikwetawankak).[3]

Houle earned his Bachelor of Arts in Art History from the University of Manitoba in 1972. After graduating, he augmented his art training by attending the Salzburg International Summer Academy focusing on painting and drawing. In 1975 he earned his Bachelor of Education degree in Art Education at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.[1]


His paintings have been exhibited at the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, and the Stedelijk Museum.

In Canada, he has shown work at the Mendel Art Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, the Carleton University Art Gallery, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Art Gallery of Peterborough and the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

His artwork has been collected throughout Canada and in parts of the United States and Australia.


Houle was curator of Indian Art at the National Museum of Man in Ottawa from 1977 to 1980. He has been a visiting artist at Hood College, Gettysburg College, the Heard Museum, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. For years, he taught as an instructor at the Ontario College of Art and Design, from which he is now retired. He was made a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.[4] In 2015 he was awarded the Governor General's Award for Visual Arts. [1]


Houle's work is in public collections including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Heard Museum, Laurentian University Museum and Arts Centre, McGill University, and National Gallery of Canada.[5]


  1. ^ a b c "Robert Houle." National Gallery of Canada CyberMuse. (retrieved 21 March 2011)
  2. ^ "Robert Houle", Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art. (retrieved 21 March 2011)
  3. ^ Raza, Ali (2016-09-09). "Anishinaabe artist Houle's paintings to be featured at Latcham Gallery in Stouffville |". Retrieved 2017-09-28.
  4. ^ "Members since 1880". Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  5. ^ "Robert Houle Bio", Tamarind Institute, University of New Mexico, 3 April 2009 (retrieved 21 March 2011)

Further reading[edit]

  • Madill, Shirley J. R. Robert Houle: Sovereignty over Subjectivity. Winnipeg, MB: Winnipeg Art Gallery, 1992. ISBN 978-0-88915-190-1.

External links[edit]