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DAY, Mabel Killam

Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, 1884
Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, 1963
Biography synopsis
Mabel Killam Day was born in 1884 in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia to a prosperous family. She attended the Mount Allison Ladies' College where she studied under John Hammond. After graduation in 1904, she chose to continue her studies in New York at the Art Students' League with Robert Henri. In 1909, when Henri established his own school, Killam Day followed him, along with fellow students Edward Hopper and George Bellows. In 1910, she married Frank Parker Day, a Rhodes Scholar who had recently returned to Canada from England to teach at the University of New Brunswick. They moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1912, where Killam Day became Director of Academic Studies at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. During the First World War, she moved to England while her husband served in France, returning to Pittsburgh at the end of the war. Upon her return, Killam Day became involved in the artistic community, joining a group of women artists who called themselves Experimentalists as they based their work upon the idea of change, striving to express their personal vision of the contemporary world. In 1933, the Days returned to Nova Scotia due to Frank's declining health, but Mabel continued to paint in her studio. She died in Yarmouth in 1960. Her distinguished career included the acceptance of a work by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 1910, along with several exhibitions in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and, later on, in Nova Scotia. She was awarded First Honour and second prize by the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Carnegie Art Gallery, and the prize for best picture painted by a woman by the Pittsburgh School of Design. In 1927, her work was shown at the 40th Annual Exhibition of American Art at the Art Institute of Chicago. Tragically, in 1937, a gallery showing a retrospective of her work caught fire, and many of her major paintings were lost.
Media used
Mount Allison Ladies' College, Sackville, NB, ? - 1904 (under John Hammond)
Art Students' League, New York (under Robert Henri)
New York School of Applied Design for Women (under Kenneth Miller)
Philadelphia School of Design (under Leopold Seyffert)
Nova Scotia Society of Artists
Maritime Art Association
File & Archive locations
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
Winnipeg Art Gallery, MA - Clara Lander Library
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC
Dalhousie University Archives, NS
Mount Allison University Archives, NS
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

Writings about
"Acadia hosting exhibit of Mabel Day's work." Yarmouth Vanguard 22 Nov. 1996.
"Art exhibit attracts much attention." Moncton Transcript 9 Apr. 1946.
"Artist Mabel Day." Yarmouth Herald 30 Jan. 1963.
"Bank Gives Boost to Gallery." Daily News (Halifax) 6 Feb. 1997: 36.
"Day was Woman of Spirit (Mabel Killam Day: the Art Spirits)." Chronicle-Herald (Halifax) 13 Dec. 1996: D3.
"Mabel Killam Day Exhibit to Open at Acadia University Gallery." Chronicle-Herald (Halifax) 23 Nov. 1996.
"Obituaries." Daily News (Halifax) 21 Aug. 1992: 29.
"Obituaries." Daily News (Halifax) 19 Jun. 1993: 29.
"Portrait Subject." Advertiser (Kentville, Nova Scotia) 3 Dec. 1996.
Abell, Walter. "Mabel Killam Day." Maritime Art 1:1 (Oct. 1940): 8-11.
American Federation of the Arts. American Art Annual, 1933. Washington, DC and New York: American Federation of the Arts, 1933.
American Federation of the Arts. Who's Who in American Art, 1982. New York: R. R. Bowker, 1982.
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia Collects: Mabel Killam Day. Halifax: Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, 1984.
Barnard, Elissa. "Day was Woman of Spirit." Mail-Star (Halifax) 13 Dec. 1996: D3.
Barnard, Elissa. "Enduring Images." Chronicle-Herald (Halifax) 12 Oct. 2003.
Barnard, Elissa. "Metson Heats Up STudio 21: Dal Gallery's Stimulation Trio 'Art About Art." The Mail Star (Halifax) 13 Dec. 1996..
Canadian Library Association. Canadian Biographies: Artists and Authors. Ottawa: Canadian Library Association, 1951.
Canadian National Exhibition. Contemporary Art of Canada and Newfoundland: Collection of the International Business Machines Corporation. New York: IBM Corporation, 1940.
Carlson, Tim. "Half of the Picture: Canadian Women's Art has been Ignored for too Long." Daily News (Halifax) 6 Nov. 1992: 28.
Chaytor, Florence. "Mabel Killam Day, 1884-1960." Nova Scotia Collects: Mabel Killam Day. Halifax, NS: Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, 1984.
Colgate, William. Canadian Art, its Origin and Development. Toronto: Ryerson, 1943.
Dalhousie Art Gallery. Mabel Killam Day: The Art Spirit. Halifax: Dalhousie Art Gallery, 1994.
Garvey, Susan Gibson. A Century of Canadian Drawing: Selected from the Permanent Collection of the Dalhousie University Art Gallery. Halifax, NS: Dalhousie University Art Gallery, 1999.
Hashey, Mary W., ed. Maritime Artists Vol. 1. Fredericton: Maritime Art Association, 1967.
Kruschen, Franziska. "Mabel Killam Day." Atlantis 20.1 (1995): 139.
Maritime Art Association. Paintings by Artists of the Maritimes: Seventh Annual Exhibition. Halifax: Maritime Art Association, 1942.
McMann, Evelyn de Rostaing. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Formerly Art Association of Montreal: Spring Exhibitions, 1880-1970. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988.
Mount Allison Ladies' College. "Mabel Eliza Killam." Allisonia (Sackville, New Brunswick) 2.1 (Nov. 1904): 9.
National Council of Women of Canada. Canadian Women Artists, Exhibition 1982. New York: Riverside Museum, 1982.
O'Neill, Mora Dianne. Choosing Their Own Path: Canadian Women Impressionists. Halifax: Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, 2001.
Paikowsky, Sandra. Nova Scotian Pictures: Art in Nova Scotia, 1940-1966. Halifax: Dalhousie University Art Gallery, 1994.
Petteys, Chris, et al. Dictionary of Women Artists: An International Dictionary of Women Artists Born Before 1900. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1985.
Robson, Scott. Nova Scotia Women Artists in the Collection of Tony Saulnier. Halifax: Dalhousie University Art Gallery, 1993.
Smulders, Marilyn. "Forgotten Painter Revisited." Daily News (Halifax) 16 Oct. 2003: H23.
Smulders, Marilyn. "Impressive Impressionists: Canadian Women's Exhibit full of Beauty." Daily News (Halifax) 1 Nov. 2001: 32.
Smulders, Marilyn. "Small in Stature, Big in Spirit: Mabel Killam Day - 'one of Nova Scotia's best-kept secrets' - gets her due in Wolfville exhibition." Daily News (Halifax) 3 Dec. 1996: 33.
Smulders, Marilyn. "Spreading Wings: the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is Expanding its Facilities - and its Audience - with Innovative Initiatives." Daily News (Halifax) 31 Oct. 1996: 33.
Thieme, Ulrich and Felix Becker. Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden K√ľnstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart. Leipzig, Germany: E. A. Seamans, 1962.
Wardle, Marian. American Women Modernists: The Legacy of Robert Henri, 1910-1945. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2005.
Zwicker, Le Roy. "The Regional Dealer." Canadian Art 2:3 (Mar. 1945): 129-31.

Writings by
Day, Frank Parker; illustrated by Mabel K. Day. River of Strangers Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1926.

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