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HAHN, Sylvia

Toronto, Ontario, 1911
Whitby, Ontario, 2001
Biography synopsis
The daughter of artist and teacher Gustav Hahn, this versatile artist was skilled in metal work, handicrafts, drawing, wood engraving, and painting. Upon graduating from the Ontario College of Art (1929-1932), she was awarded a Governor General's Medal for achievement. In 1934, she joined the staff of the Royal Ontario Museum, to which institution she dedicated almost her entire artistic career. As an employee in the Display Department, Hahn completed a number of creative projects, including identification drawings for the museum's catalogue, eleven murals for the department itself (1935-46), models of jewels in the museum's collection (which were sold in the gift shop), a reproduction of a mural originally on the walls of an Etruscan tomb (for which she attempted to capture the original colours before air and moisture faded them), and the decoration of the Athens Gallery (including detail work on a model of the Acropolis). In addition to her work at the museum, Hahn received commissions for altarpieces from a number of Ontario churches, including The Chapel of The Society of St. John the Evangelist in Bracebridge, The Lady Chapel and The Chapel of the Holy Child St. Mary Magdalene in Toronto, the R.C.A.F. Chapel in Aylmer, and the Victoria College Chapel at the University of Toronto. She also completed stone sculpture for St. Augustine of Canterbury Church, and much of the decoration of St. Philip's Church, both in Toronto. Smaller projects included illustrations (engravings) for "The Forehead's Lyre," a book of Swedish poems, and "A Naturalist's Guide to Ontario." In 1934, Hahn began exhibiting with the Society of Canadian Painter-Etchers and Engravers (of which she was elected a member in 1936). Like her father, Hahn also taught, becoming an instructor in metal work for the University of Toronto's Occupational Therapy Course, and in general handicrafts at the Northern Vocational School. She is represented in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada.
Media used
Artists' illustrated books
Jewellery making
Mural painting and decoration
Ontario College of Art & Design (formerly Ontario School of Art), 1929 - 1932 (under Gustav Hahn (design), J. W. Beatty (landscape) and Archibald Barnes (portraits))
Ontario Society of Artists, 1943
Canadian Society of Painters, Etchers and Engravers, 1936
Women's Art Association of Canada
File & Archive locations
Hamilton Public Library, ON - Local History and Archives Department
Art Gallery of Ontario - Edward P. Taylor Research Library and Archives
London Public Library, ON
National Gallery of Canada, ON - Library and Archives
Toronto Reference Library, ON
University of British Columbia - Fine Arts Library
University of Calgary Library, AB
Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada, ON
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC

Writings about
Paintings by Sylvia Hahn : Forty Oil Sketches Spanning Sixty Years. Oshawa: Robert McLaughlin Gallery, 1995
"16 Prints sold at show." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 28 Mar. 1959: 15
"A.J. Casson heads artists' society." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 11 Mar. 1943: 5
"Ancient City Reborn in Museum" Globe and Mail (Toronto) 21 Mar. 1962: 13
"Dear Mr. Stacey." University of Toronto Graduate 5.3 (1978)
"Edith L. Groves H.S. Elects Year's Officers." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 2 May 1936: 12
"Etchers to Feature Hornyansky Prints." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 30 Mar. 1963: 16
"Havergal College 1934 Prizewinners." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 20 Jun. 1934: 8
"O.S.A. New Exhibition Holds Gallery Stage." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 7 Mar. 1942: 10
"Obituaries." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 5 Jan. 2001
"Ontario College of Art Awards, Scholarships." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 14 May 1932: 16
"Social and Personal Notes: Elect Officers." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 31 Mar. 1958: 16
"The Homemaker: Tribute from WAA." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 21 Oct. 1946: 12
Ainslie, Patricia. Images of the Land: Canadian Block Prints 1919-1945 Calgary: Glenbow Museum, 1984
American Federation of Arts. Who's Who in American Art, 1962. New York: R.R. Bowker, 1962
Art Gallery of Ontario. Sparkling Water: Mary Wrinch and her contemporaries: Paintings and prints. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 1970
Bradfield, Helen, et al. Art of the Spirit: Contemporary Canadian Fabric Art. Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1992
Brender à Brandis, G. The White Line: Wood Engraving in Canada Since 1945. Erin, ON: Porcupine's Quill, 1990
Dempsey, Lotta. "Person to Person." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 14 May 1955: 17
Dickson, Lovat. The Museum Makers: The Story of the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum, 1986
Graham, J. Walter. "A New Model of the Athenian Acropolis." Phoenix 14.3 (Autumn 1960): 146-150
Graham, J. Walter. "Acropolis and Parthenos: New Models in the Royal Ontario Museum." Greece and Rome 10 (1963): 77-84 [supplement]
Graham, J. Walter. "The Athens Gallery." Phoenix 17.2 (Summer 1963): 113-122
Hill, C.C. and P.B. Landry, eds. National Gallery Catalogue, Canadian Art. Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 1988
Hume, Christopher. "New Galleries Bring ROM Back to Life." Toronto Star 5 Jul. 1986: F4
Longley, Penny. "Designing Woman Prefers Greece." Toronto Daily Star 24 Dec. 1962
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.
McCarthy, Pearl. "Art and Artists." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 8 Apr. 1939: 8
McCarthy, Pearl. "MacDonald Exhibition at Hamilton Gallery." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 9 Mar. 1957: 10
McCarthy, Pearl. "Montreal shines in Toronto show." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 15 Apr. 1944: 16
McCarthy, Pearl. "Museum Duplicates Ancient Jewelry." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 9 Dec. 1952: 3
McCarthy, Pearl. "New Mural at Museum Copy of Etruscan Scene." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 2 Dec. 1953
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
Merrill, Anne. "Wings in the Wind: Pelicans Take to Water Soon after Leaving Eggs." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 11 Apr. 1953: 12
Ontario College of Art. Ontario College of Art Student Annual (1935 & 1936). Toronto: Ontario College of Art, 1936
Ontario Library Review. Who's Who in Canadian Art: From Ontario Library Review, November 1947-August 1962. Toronto: Government Printer, 1948
Ontario Library Review. Who's Who in Ontario Art. Toronto: Ontario Library Review, 1951
Patrick, Douglas. "Philatelist's private collection a study of the printmaker's art." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 23 Jul. 1983: C16
Pepper, David. "Sylvia Hahn. Mural in Currelly Gallery." Ontario College of Art Alumnus Newsletter 1980
Worthington, Helen. "Museum Staff is Depicted in her Murals." Toronto Daily Star 6 Mar. 1972

Writings by
Corkett, Anne; illustrated by Sylvia Hahn. The Salamander's Laughter, and Other Poems. Toronto: National Heritage/National History, 1985
Graham, J. Walter; illustrated by Sylvia Hahn. A New Model of the Athenian Acropolis in the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1960
Hahn, Sylvia. Shadowcat: Poems and Engravings. Moonbeam, Ontario: Penumbra Press, 1983
Hahn, Sylvia, and Herbert Spencer Clark. A Guide to Printmaking Media. Toronto: Society of Canadian Painter-Etchers and Engravers, 1962
Judd, William Wallace; illustrated by Sylvia Hahn. A Naturalist's Guide to Ontario. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1964
Kidd, Kenneth E.; illustrated by Sylvia Hahn. Canadians of Long Ago: The Story of the Canadian Indian. Toronto: Longmans, Green, 1951
McLachlan, Roberta; illustrated by Sylvia Hahn. Indians. Toronto: Longmans, Green, 1959
McLachlan, Roberta; illustrated by Sylvia Hahn. Pioneers. Toronto: Longmans, Green, 1959
Mole, Elsie Hadden; illustrated by Sylvia Hahn. A Christmas Tree From Puddin' Stone Hill. Moonbeam, Ontario: Penumbra Press, 1985
Nice, Margaret Morse; illustrated by Sylvia Hahn. An Address Book For Naturalists. Toronto: National Heritage/National History, 1983
Saunders, R.M.; illustrated by Sylvia Hahn. Carolina Quest. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1951
Selby, Gertrude; illustrated by Sylvia Hahn. Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds at Lookout Point. Toronto: Ontario Federation of Naturalists, 1955
Tanser, H.A.; illustrated by Sylvia Hahn. Westward to the Americas. Toronto: Longmans, Green, 1954
Von Haartman, Lars; illustrated by Sylvia Hahn. The Forehead's Lyre: Poems from the Swedish. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1962

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