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Ottawa, 1909
Ottawa, 2000
Biography synopsis
Betty Davison (nee Elizabeth Mary Gertrude Young) was born in Ottawa . She studied life drawing and sculpture with Lionel and Ernest Fosbery at the High School of Commerce. At the same time, Davison joined the Ottawa Little Theatre. In 1939, Davison married Richard Lewis, who passed away three years later. To support her family financially, Davison painted portraits and took on secretarial work at the Department of External Affairs in Ottawa. In 1952, the artist married Arthur Davison, an architect and fellow actor at the Ottawa Little Theatre. During the 1960's, Davison took several art classes at Carleton University and at the Ottawa Municipal Art Centre. Her work is often humorous, with sexual references. Davison's works have been feature in solo and group exhibitions across Canada and the United States. She has exhibited with notable artists such as Louise Nevelson and Frank Stella. In the 1970's, Davison began studying printmaking with Hilde Schreier, who also introduced her to the process of casting paper. One of Davison's cast paper prints, "Paper Roses" (1974), won her an award of $1,000 from the Ontario Arts Council. Over her lengthy career, Davison garnered numerous prizes and distinctions, including the Martha Jackson Gallery Purchase Award (1977), the Reid Memorial Award (1977), the Harold Pitman Prize (1979) and the Ontario Arts Council 'Editions I' Award (1974).
Media used
Mixed media
High School of Commerce, Ottawa, 1930 - 1932 (under Lionel and Ernest Fosbery)
Ottawa Municipal Art Centre, 1962 (under Alma Duncan)
Carleton University, Ottawa, 1968 - 1969 (under Duncan De Kergommeaux)
Ottawa Municipal Art Centre, 1972 - 1974 (under Victor Tolgesy)
File & Archive locations
Alberta Culture and Community Spirit - Arts Branch
London Public Library, ON
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
Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, QC - Media Centre
Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada, ON
Artexte Information Centre, QC - Documentation Centre
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC

Writings about
Burant, Jim & de Kergommeaux, Duncan et al. History of Art and Artists of Ottawa and Surroundings, 1790-1970: Part III, 1946-1970. Ottawa: Ottawa Art Gallery, 1995.
Burrett, Deborah. Lasting Impressions: The Canadian Printmakers' Showcase, 1969-1974. Ottawa: Carleton University Art Gallery, 1997.
Heller, Jules and Nancy. North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century. New York: Garland, 1995.
Henry Vicki. Betty Davison - A Slice of Life/ Ufundi Gallery, December 6, 1987- January 16, 1988. Ottawa: Ufundi Gallery, 1987.
Henry, Vicki. A Slice of Life: Betty Davison. Ottawa: Ufundi Gallery, 1987.
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.
Mendel Art Gallery. Betty Davison, Sculptural Prints. Saskatoon: Mendel Art Gallery, 1982.
Roston, Margo. "Art Show Attracts Artistic Crowd to Studio." Ottawa Citizen (25 Apr. 1985).
University of Alberta Art Gallery and Museum. Childhood: Eight Canadian Artists. Edmonton, Alberta: University of Alberta Collections, 1979.
Walker, Kathleen. "International acclaim given Davison." Ottawa Citizen (9 Sept. 1978).

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