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WALLIS, Katherine Elizabeth

Peterborough, Ontario, 1861
Santa Cruz, United States, 1957
Biography synopsis
Best known for her poignant sculptures of children and animals, which are often described as similar in style to the work of Rodin, Katherine Wallis' artistic training took her all over Europe. She studied in Edinburgh, London (where she won the Royal College of Art's bronze medal and the Modellers' Free Scholarship), Paris and, perhaps most notably, in Dresden and Italy with the famed animal sculptor, Oscar Waldmann. While in Paris, she exhibited her work at the Exposition Universelle, where she earned an honourable mention, the Spring Salon of the Artistes Français, the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, as well as in several cities in the United Kingdom. During World War I she worked as a nurse with the Canadian forces in Paris. After the war, she lived in Canada for a few years, before returning to Paris where, in 1929, she became the first Canadian to be elected a Sociétaire of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts for her work, "La lutte pour la vie." Forced to flee Paris at the advent of World War II, the artist moved to Santa Cruz, although she often returned to Canada and went abroad for exhibitions of her work, which was hung in the shows of the Royal Academy (1897), the Royal Canadian Academy (1904-37), the Ontario Society of Artists (1922), the National Gallery of Canada (1928), and at Wembley (1924-25), among others. Her work can be found in the collections of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the National Gallery of Canada, the Petit Palais (Paris), and the Walker Art Gallery (Liverpool). In addition to sculpture, Wallis also worked in watercolours and wrote poetry, publishing a collection entitled "Chips from the Block."
Media used
National Gallery of Edinburgh, Scotland
Royal College of Art, London, England
Private study (under Oscar Waldmann)
South Kensington Art Schools
Académie Colarossi, Paris (under Panteri)
Private study (under Stephen Webb and Lanteri, London)
File & Archive locations
Trent University Archives, ON
Art Gallery of Ontario - Edward P. Taylor Research Library and Archives
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts / Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, QC
National Gallery of Canada, ON - Library and Archives
University of British Columbia - Fine Arts Library
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC
Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada, ON

Writings about
"... de sculpture." Le Canada (Montreal) 15 Nov. 1908.
"A L'exposition de Paris: D'autres premiers prix remportés par les Canadiens." Le Soleil (Quebec) 18 Aug. 1900: 2.
"Acclaim Work of Sculptress." Peterborough Examiner 13 Nov. 1947.
"Approve Plan to House Wallis' Art." Peterborough Examiner 1 Feb. 1951.
"Art and Artists." Globe (Toronto) 29 Nov. 1920.
"Art Association 48th Spring Show High in Interest." Gazette (Montreal) 21 Mar. 1931.
"Art Association Denies Any Reference to Slight: Katherine Wallis' stone Mercury lies forgotten in Toronto museum." Peterborough Examiner 2 May 1936.
"Art in Life: Miss Katherine Wallis at Women's Art Society." Gazette (Montreal) 10 Nov. 1920.
"Artist Honored at Paris Painted Laurier's Portrait." Toronto Star 3 May 1927.
"At the Art Gallery: Private view of sculpture and bronzes to take place this afternoon." Witness (Montreal) 14 Nov. 1908.
"Awards at Paris. Complete List of the Canadian Prize Winners." Gazette (Montreal) 19 Oct. 1900: 7.
"Belated Recognition Asked for Sculptress: Mrs. Wm. Blackwell heads movement to honor Katherine E. Wallis." Toronto Star 2 May 1936.
"Bronze Baby Bought: Work of Miss Katherine Wallis for Ottawa." Gazette (Montreal) 24 Nov. 1920.
"Can. Sculptor to Have Exhibit: Miss Wallis states there is renewed enthusiasm for sculpture." Montreal Star 3 Jul. 1920.
"Canadian Artist at Work." Peterborough Examiner 26 Apr. 1951.
"Canadian Artists in Paris." Saturday Night 21.9 (14 Dec. 1907): 5.
"Canadian Sculptor Honored in France, Exhibits in Town." Globe (Toronto) 4 Nov. 1920.
"Canadian Sculptor Recovering at 93." News Chronicle (Port Arthur, Ontario) 21 Apr. 1953.
"Canadian sculptress dies in Calif." Times-Journal (St. Thomas, Ontario) 17 Dec. 1957.
"Chronique Parisienne." La Presse (Montreal) 7 Sept. 1900.
"Exhibits Sculpture: Clever work of Canadian woman admired at Art Association Gallery." Toronto Star 22 Nov. 1920.
"Exposition Universelle de 1900: Liste Officielle des récompenses accordées au Canada." Paris-Canada (15 Sept. 1900): 3-6.
"For Miss Wallis." Ottawa Journal 30 Nov. 1934.
"High Standard Set by R.C.A. Pictures: Forty-Fourth Exhibition Opened With Private View Last Night." Gazette (Montreal) 17 Nov. 1922: 9.
"Honneur aux Canadiens." La Presse (Montreal) 21 Aug. 1900: 5.
"Internationally Known Sculptor Lives Here." Riptide (Santa Cruz) 15 Aug. 1947.
"Katherine E. Wallis and Oscar Waldmann..." Vancouver Province 1 Feb. 1931.
"Katherine E. Wallis, famed Peterborough-born sculptress, poet, dies at 96." Peterborough Examiner 17 Dec. 1957.
"Katherine Wallis, Portraitiste." Toronto Mail 17 May 1928.
"Katherine Wallis: The Charming Sculptor of Childhood." Canadian Century 1.9 (5 Mar. 1910): 11.
"La Lutte Pour La Vie: sculpture." Journal, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada 8.5 (Jan. 1931).
"La vie artistique: Le Salon du Printemps." Le Canada (Montreal) 27 Mar. 1931: 1.
"Le 56e Salon de l'Académie." La Presse (Montreal) 25 Nov. 1935.
"Miss Katherine E. Wallis, noted sculptress, dies." Gazette (Montreal) 17 Dec. 1957.
"Museums AAM Spring Exhibition." Herald (Montreal) 1 Apr. 1910.
"National Gallery accepts work of Katherine Wallis." Evening Examiner (Peterborough) 10 Sept. 1947.
"Notable Little Exhibition at the Art Gallery: Sculptural Work of Miss K. E. Wallis and Prof. Oscar Waldmann." Montreal Star 14 Nov. 1908.
"Noted sculptor revisiting Canada: Miss Katherine Wallis will exhibit work in Toronto early next month." Gazette (Montreal) 8 Oct. 1930.
"Obituary." Gazette (Montreal) 17 Dec. 1957.
"Obituary." Peterborough Examiner 17 Dec. 1957.
"Opens Exhibit of Sculpture: Miss Katherine Wallis has effective works at art gallery." Gazette (Montreal) 16 Oct. 1920.
"Sculpteur et poète, Mlle Wallis avait vécu 30 ans à Paris." La Presse (Montreal) 19 Dec. 1957.
"Sculptress, 93, better." Toronto Star 21 Apr. 1953.
"Sculpture Miniatures by Canadian Artist on Exhibition in Paris." Montreal Star 19 Jun. 1920.
"Successful Abroad." Globe (Toronto) 26 Dec. 1928.
"Successful Artist." Telegram (Toronto) 29 Nov. 1923.
"Talented Sculptress: Canadian girl, Miss Kate Wallis, wins fame in Paris." Evening Telegram (Toronto) 5 Jan. 1925.
"The lot of the Canadian sculptors is a sad one..." Journal, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (Dec. 1935): 198.
"The Spring Exhibition at the Art Gallery." Montreal Star 28 Apr. 1910.
"To Exhibit Sculpture: Miss Katherine Wallis coming from Paris." Gazette (Montreal) 26 Apr. 1920.
"Varied work of Miss Wallis." Toronto Star 27 Nov. 1920.
"Visiting artist closed studio and devoted time to nursing in auxiliary hospital." Gazette (Montreal) 2 Jul. 1920.
"Wallis Sculpture Comes Home for Good." Peterborough Examiner 15 Jun. 1951.
"Wallis Sculpture Gift to City: Full catalogue." Peterborough Examiner 28 Jun. 1951.
Art Association of Montreal. Catalogue of an exhibition of sculpture and water colours by Katherine E. Wallis and Oscar Waldmann. Montreal: Art Association of Montreal, 1920.
Benezit, Emmanuel. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs. Paris: Librairie Grund, 1976.
Bengough, Thomas. "Miss Katherine Wallis, Canadian Sculptor." Globe (Toronto) 30 Dec. 1911.
Bernard, Charles. "Le Canada à l'exposition." Paris-Canada (1 Dec. 1900): 1-2.
Collins, A. Roger. A Biographical Sketch of Katherine E. Wallis, Canadian artist. Hamilton: Collins, 1949.
Collins, A. Roger. Katherine E. Wallis: Canadian Sculptor. Fort Erie, Ontario: Review, 1948.
Corbett, Gail H. Katherine Wallis. Peterborough, Ontario: Woodland Publishing, 1997.
Davies, Blodwen. "Canadian Sculptress Wins French Honors." Saturday Night (22 Feb. 1930).
F., M. L. "Miss Kathleen Wallis, a Canadian sculptor of international repute." Toronto Star Weekly 14 Dec. 1920.
Fiegehen, Sheri. "A Voice for Local Artist." Examiner (Peterborough) 24 May 1997.
Fleming, J. H. "A Piece of Statuary: Letter." Toronto Star 7 May 1936.
Graves, Algernon. The Royal Academy of Arts: A Complete Dictionary of Contributors and Their Works from its Foundations in 1769 to 1904. London: Henry Graves & Co. and George Bell & Sons, 1905.
Hardistry, Esther B. "Beaux Arts Member Katherine Wallis, Canadian Sculptor's Success Followed Study of Peasant Women and Lovely Babies of Central Europe." Vancouver Province 12 Feb. 1938.
Hardisty, Esther B. "Katherine Wallis, Beaux-Arts Member." Vancouver Province Feb. 1938.
Harper, J. Russell. Early Painters and Engravers in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1970.
Jeanette. "Trip to Peterborough Art Exhibit." Peterborough Examiner 15 Jan. 1921.
Johnson, Jane and A. Greutzer. Dictionary of British Artists, 1880-1940. Woodbridge: Antique Collectors' Club, 1976.
Kerr, Kathy. "Shroud inspired Wallis' Mask of Christ." Peterborough Examiner 12 Apr. 1979.
Lyle, John M.. "Fifty-First Annual Exhibition Royal Canadian Academy of Arts." The Journal, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (Jan. 1931): 4-10.
MacDonald, Colin S. The Dictionary of Canadian Artists. (Volumes 1-8 by Colin S. MacDonald, and volume 9 by Anne Newlands and Judith Parker) Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 2009.
McMann, Evelyn de Rostaing. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Formerly Art Association of Montreal: Spring Exhibitions, 1880-1970. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988.
McMann, Evelyn de Rostaing. Royal Canadian Academy of Arts/Académie royale des arts du Canada: Exhibitions and Members 1880-1979. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1981.
Morgan, Henry James. The Canadian Men and Women of the Time: A Handbook of Canadian Biography. Toronto: William Briggs, 1898.
National Gallery of Canada. Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture, Vol. 3: Canadian School. Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 1960.
National Gallery of Canada. Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture: Canadian School. Ottawa: Trustees of the National Gallery of Canada, 1957.
Petterson, Lynette. "Katherine Wallis - Sculptress." Portraits: Peterborough Area Women Past and Present. Peterborough: Portraits' Group, 1975: 90-3.
Petteys, Chris, et al. Dictionary of Women Artists: An International Dictionary of Women Artists Born Before 1900. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1985.
Purser, Mona. "The Homemaker: Adventuring with book calls for spare time." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 3 Jun. 1950.
Royal Academy of Arts. Exhibitions 1905-1970: A Dictionary of Artists and their Work in the Summer Exhibitions of the Royal Academy of Arts. East Ardsley: EP Publishing, 1982.
Thieme, Ulrich and Felix Becker. Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart. Leipzig, Germany: E. A. Seamans, 1962.

Writings by
Wallis, Katherine E. Before the West Became the East; Being Reminiscences of the Life of a Canadian Artist. Peterborough: Trent University Archives, 17 Dec. 1938 [Fonds 69-002 Box 4 Vol. 8].
Wallis, Katherine E. Katherine Wallis. Truro, Nova Scotia: Woodland Publishing, 1997.
Wallis, Katherine E. "Canadian Artists in Paris: letter." Saturday Night (Sept-Oct. 1926).
Wallis, Katherine E. and Alice Roger Collins. Hepaticas [poem and musical score]. Toronto: Anglo-Canadian Music Pub. Association, 1912.
Wallis, Katherine Elizabeth. Chips from the Block: Poems by Katherine E. Wallis. New York: Exposition Press, 1955.

Full text pdfs of exhibition reviews
Royal Canadian Academy Annual Exhibition.: (Toronto, March 1904) "Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Society is Holding Its Twenty-Fifth Annual Exhibition. Oils and Water Colours from Pictures Now Shown Will Be Selected Those For St. Louis Exposition."  Montreal Star  March 18, 1904.  p.5.   Full-text pdf
Royal Canadian Academy Annual Exhibition.: (Toronto, March 1904) "Royal Academy Exhibition."  Montreal Witness  March 19, 1904.  p.2.   Full-text pdf
Art Association of Montreal Annual Spring Exhibition: (Montreal, April 05, 1910) St. G. B..  "Art and Artists."  Montreal Herald  April 09, 1910.  p.9.   Full-text pdf
Art Association of Montreal Annual Spring Exhibition: (Montreal, March 21, 1922) "Exhibits Drawn From Wide Area. Growing Importance of Spring Art Exhibition More Generally Recognized."  Gazette (Montreal)  March 21, 1922.  p.5.   Full-text pdf
Royal Canadian Academy Annual Exhibition: (Montreal, November 16, 1922) "High Standard Set by R.C.A. Pictures. Forty-Fourth Exhibition Opened With Private View Last Night."  Gazette (Montreal)  November 17, 1922.  p.9.   Full-text pdf
Royal Canadian Academy Annual Exhibition: (Montreal, November 24, 1927) Albert Laberge.  "Appréciation de quelques toiles du Salon des artistes Canadiens."  La Presse (Montreal)  December 03, 1927.  p.52.   Full-text pdf
Royal Canadian Academy Annual Exhibition: (Montreal, November 24, 1927) "The Royal Academy of Arts at Montreal. Stylists and Conventionalists Draw Contradictory Opinions."  Canadian Homes and Gardens  January 1928.  5:1: pp.64,66.   Full-text pdf
Art Association of Montreal Annual Spring Exhibition: (Montreal, March 20, 1931) "Art Association 48th Spring Show High In Interest."  Gazette (Montreal)  March 21, 1931.  p.16.   Full-text pdf
Art Association of Montreal Annual Spring Exhibition: (Montreal, March 20, 1931) Henri Girard..  "La vie artistique. Le salon du printemps."  Le Canada (Montreal)  March 27, 1931.  p.1.   Full-text pdf
Royal Canadian Academy Annual Exhibition: (Montreal, November 19, 1931) "Wide Range of Art In R.C.A. Exhibition."  Gazette (Montreal)  November 20, 1931.  p.10.   Full-text pdf
Royal Canadian Academy Annual Exhibition: (Montreal, November 19, 1931) "Landscapes, Portraits, Water Colors, Sculpture, Viewed at Exhibition of Royal Canadian Academy."  Montreal Star  November 25, 1931.  p.11.   Full-text pdf
Art Association of Montreal Annual Spring Exhibition: (Montreal, March 21, 1935) "Nearly 500 Works at Spring Exhibit. Variety in Show at Galleries of Art Association of Montreal. 1,080 Items Submitted. Judges Reveal Open Minds and 52nd Annual Contains Much to Meet Differing Tastes."  Gazette (Montreal)  March 22, 1935.  p.3.   Full-text pdf
Art Association of Montreal Annual Spring Exhibition: (Montreal, March 21, 1935) "Spring Exhibition of Art Association Opened on Thursday."  Montreal Star  March 22, 1935.  p.17.   Full-text pdf
Royal Canadian Academy Annual Exhibition.: (Montreal, November 21, 1935) Reynald.  "Le 56e Salon de l'Académie. A défaut de révéler des tendances neuves, le Salon garde une allure distinguée et une belle tenue d'ensemble. Plus de "bon ton" que de vitalité. Maints portraits."  La Presse (Montreal)  November 22, 1935.  p.19.   Full-text pdf
Royal Canadian Academy Annual Exhibition.: (Montreal, November 21, 1935) "The Fifty-Sixth Exhibition of the Canadian Academy."  Montreal Star  November 22, 1935.  p.13.   Full-text pdf
Royal Canadian Academy Annual Exhibition.: (Montreal, November 21, 1935) "Art Gallery Scene of R.C.A. Exhibition. Paintings and Other Works from Various Canadian Points Total 444. Much Good Portraiture."  Gazette (Montreal)  November 23, 1935.  p.19.   Full-text pdf
Royal Canadian Academy Annual Exhibition.: (Montreal, November 21, 1935) H. Poynter Bell.  "The Fifty-Sixth Annual Exhibition of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts."  Royal Architectural Institute of Canada  December 1935.  pp.195-198, 202.   Full-text pdf
Royal Canadian Academy Annual Exhibition: (Montreal, November 18, 1937) "Royal Canadian Academy Show is Opened at Art Association. Portraiture Represented by Good Examples and Landscapes as Usual Predominate."  Gazette (Montreal)  November 19, 1937.  p.12.   Full-text pdf

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