ARCA BCSA BHG CGP
1877 - 1971
Fishing Boats, Montreal
oil on board
signed and on verso inscribed "#6195 9671-20 TOLL 2845-2V"
12 x 16 in, 30.5 x 40.6 cm
Estimate: $8,000 - $10,000
Sold for: $6,875
Sold sale of Canadian Art, Joyner Fine Art, May 26, 1995, lot 120
Private Collection, Toronto
Mabel May began her training in 1902 at the Art Association of Montreal, where she studied with William Brymner. In 1912, she traveled to Paris with fellow artist Emily Coonan, with trips to England and Scotland. She returned to Canada in 1913, opening a studio in Montreal. Summers were spent painting at the family cottage in Hudson, and she painted with her friends in the Eastern Townships, New England and Baie-Saint-Paul in the Lower St. Lawrence area. She won the AAM's Jessie Dow Award in 1914 and 1918, and in 1915 became a member of the Royal Canadian Academy. Hired by the Canadian War Memorials Fund in 1918 to memorialize the war effort, May documented women involved in munitions work. May's early work was influenced by Impressionism.
In 1920, May became a founding member of the Beaver Hall Group in Montreal, and she exhibited in the two Beaver Hall exhibitions in 1921 and 1922.
Her landscapes after 1920 show the influence of the Group of Seven - exhibiting a fine understanding of light and atmosphere, and strong forms depicted with confident brush-strokes. Group member A.Y. Jackson was involved with the Beaver Hall Group, and she maintained ties with Jackson and other members of this group throughout her life.
May's work has been widely exhibited domestically and abroad. She participated in the Art Association of Montreal's spring exhibitions from 1910 to 1967, and in the exhibitions of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts from 1910 to 1952. She also showed with the Group of Seven in Toronto in 1928, 1930 and 1931 and, as a founding member of the Canadian Group of Painters in 1933, she also exhibited with them. From 1938 to 1947 she showed her work with a group called Le Caveau. May's international exposure in group shows included the influential British Empire Exhibition in Wembley, England, the Musée du Jeu de Paume in Paris, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC as well as the Tate Gallery in London, among others.
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