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Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1905
New York, New York, 1980
Biography synopsis
Taçon was adopted by Mrs. Jane MacFarlane of Goderich, Ontario. Throughout her youth she pursued her interest in music and painting and in 1927 Taçon graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Music. In 1929 she married Percy Henry Taçon and together they moved to Hamilton, Ontario, where she continued her musical and artistic practice. In 1941, under the auspices of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Taçon traveled to New York to study at the Museum of Non-Objective Painting where she worked with Wassily Kandinsky, who greatly influenced her work. Taçon worked in oil, watercolour, gouache, ink on paper, and collage, which she referred to as paper plastics. Her abstract and non-representational works reflect her interest in the links between non-objective art and music. In 1943 Taçon began working at the MNOP, giving guided tours to visitors at the museum. The following year in 1944 the Guggenheim Foundation purchased three of her oil on vellum works. Taçon was a member of the Ontario Society of Artists and held many solo exhibitions at the Eaton’s Fine Art Galleries between 1941 and 1947 and exhibited regularly in New York. She also taught design and art history at the Toronto Western Technical School. After divorcing her second husband Paul Arnold in 1949, Taçon stopped exhibiting publicly although she continued to paint. Her work can be found in the collection of the Guggenheim, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Robert McLaughlin Gallery.
Media used
University of Toronto, ? - 1927 (under Sir Ernest MacMillan)
Ontario Society of Artists
File & Archive locations
National Gallery of Canada, ON - Library and Archives
Art Gallery of Ontario - Edward P. Taylor Research Library and Archives
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts / Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, QC
Toronto Reference Library, ON
Guggenheim Archives Collection, NY

Writings about
Edna Taçon Outstanding Canadian Non-objective Painter Toronto, Ontario: Eaton's College Street Gallery, 1945
Edna Taçon, Jessie Faunt, Michael Foster, Gordon Webber: exhibition, May, 1943 Toronto, Ontario: Art Gallery of Toronto, 1943
The Guggenheim Museum Collection: paintings, 1880-1945 New York, New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1976
"Exhibition, Chinese Gallery." Art Digest 21 (Nov. 1946): 21
"Exhibition, Chinese Gallery." ARTnews 47 (Mar. 1948): 47
"Exhibition, Chinese Gallery." ARTnews 45 (Nov. 1946): 58
"Kathleen Munn & Edna Taçon. Concordia Art Gallery." Gazette (Montreal) 11 Mar. 1989: H4
"Paintings, Chinese Gallery." Art Digest 22 (Feb. 1948): 23
Boyanoski, Christine. The 1940s: a Decade of Painting in Ontario Toronto, Ontario: Art Gallery of Ontario, 1984
Cameron, Elspeth. Canadian Culture: an Introductory Reader Toronto, Ontario: Canadian Scholars' Press, 1997
Dason, Kenneth. "Edna Taçon: Exponent on Non-Objective Painting." Canadian Reviews of Music and Art 3.7-8 (Aug-Sept. 1944): 21-24
Duncan, Ann. "Avant-Garde Artists Were Too Quickly Forgotten." Gazette (Montreal) 11 Mar. 1989: H4
Foss, Brian, Anne Whitelaw, and Sandra Paikowsky. The Visual Arts in Canada: The Twentieth Century Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University PRess, 2010
Hume, Christopher. "Forgotten Female Artists Finally Recognized." Star (Toronto) 21 Oct. 1988: E23
Lerner, Loren R. and Mary F. Williamson. Art and Architecture in Canada: A Bibliography and Guide to the Literature to 1981 Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991
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.
MacKay, Mary. "Exhibition Revives Forgotten Abstracts." Windsor Star 9 Dec. 1988: 139
McCarthy, Pearl. "The Taçon Art Comes of Age." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 1945
Murray, Joan. Canadian Art in the Twentieth Century Toronto, Ontario: Dundurn Press, 1999
Nasby, Judith. Rolph Scarlett: Painter, Designer, Jeweller Montreal, Quebec: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2004
Nasgaard, Roald. Abstract Painting in Canada. Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, 2008
Niergarth, Kirk. Art and Democracy: New Brunswick Artists and Canadian Culture between the Great Depression and the Cold War. Saint John, New Brunswick: University of New Brunswick, 2007
Pageot, Edith-Anne. "Ambiguités de la réception critique de l'exposition 'Canadian Women Artists', Riverside Museum, New York, 1947." RACAR 27.1-2 (2000): 123-34
Prakash, A. K. Independent Spirit: Early Canadian Women's Art Buffalo, New York: Firefly Books, 2008
Punter, Jennie. "Forgotten Women: Experimenters in Modernism." Whig-Standard (Kingston) 7 Oct. 1989: 1
Tippett, Maria. By a Lady. Toronto: Viking, 1992
Toulsey, Nancy. "Shows Try to Resurrect Forgotten Careers." Calgary Herald 02 May 1990: F8
Westbridge, Anthony R. The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction. Vancouver: Westbridge Publications, 2001
Zemans, Joyce, Elizabeth Burrell and Elizabeth Hunter. New Perspectives in Modernism in Canada: Kathleen Munn, Edna Taçon. Toronto: Art Gallery of York University, 1988

Writings by
Tacon, Edna. "Annual Exhibition of Non-Objective Paintings." Toronto Daily Star 22 Sept., 1945

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