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NICOLL, Marion

Calgary, Alberta, 1909
Calgary, Alberta, 1985
Biography synopsis
Marion Florence Nicoll (nee Mackay) was born in Calgary, Alberta. In high school, she took extra curricular painting classes at St. Joseph’s Convent, Red Deer, Alberta (1925-1926). Although she began studies at the Ontario College of Art, she was unable to finish her program due to illness. She then studied under A.C. Leighton at the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art, Calgary (1929-1932) and she also attended the summer school (now known as the Banff School of Fine Arts) under the same professor. From 1937 to 1938 she studied figure painting at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, London, England, under Duncan Grant. In 1957, she studied under Will Barnet at the Emma Lake Seminar. From 1958 to 1959 she attended the Art Students League in New York. For thirty years, she taught at Calgary’s Provincial Institute of Technology and Art. She also gave classes at the summer school of the University of Alberta (1937-1938); extension classes (1946-1948); Banff School of Fine Arts (1946); the Cultural Development Board, Government of Alberta (1948-1949). Nicoll was the first woman artist from Alberta to be accepted to the Royal Canadian Academy. She received various awards, including a Canada Council grant in 1958, a senior fellowship in 1966 and six honour certificates from the Royal Drawing Society, London, England, for teaching. She held several solo exhibitions, including at the Alberta College of Art (1959); Bowness Town Hall, Alberta (1960-1965); Studio 61, Edmonton, Alberta (1961); Focus, Edmonton (1962, 1963, 1964) Upstairs Gallery, Toronto (1963); Yellow Door Gallery, Winnipeg (1964), among others. She is represented in the following collections: Winnipeg Art Gallery, Memorial University, Newfoundland.; University of Alberta; Edmonton Museum, Poole Collection, Edmonton.
Media used
Ontario College of Art & Design (formerly Ontario School of Art), 1926 - 1928
Provincial Institute of Art and Technology, Calgary, Alberta, ? - 1933 (under A.C. Leighton)
Emma Lake - University of Saskatchewan Art School, 1957 - ? (under Summer School - Will Barnett)
Art Students' League, New York, 1958 - 1959 (under Barnett Newman)
Central School of Arts and Crafts, London, 1937 - 1938
Alberta Society of Artists
Calgary Group
Royal Canadian Academy of Arts
File & Archive locations
Vancouver Public Library, BC - Fine Arts and History Department
Alberta Culture and Community Spirit - Arts Branch
Art Gallery of Ontario - Edward P. Taylor Research Library and Archives
Calgary Public Library, AB - Arts Department
Edmonton Art Gallery, AB - Library
London Public Library, ON
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts / Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, QC
Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, QC - Media Centre
National Gallery of Canada, ON - Library and Archives
University of Calgary Library, AB
Vancouver Art Gallery, BC - Library
Winnipeg Art Gallery, MA - Clara Lander Library
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC
Glenbow Archives, AB - Main Catalogue
Museum of Modern Art, NY
Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, AB - Archives & Library

Writings about
“Calgary Woman Masters Ancient Wax-Painting Art.” Gazette (Montreal) 30 Dec. 1957
“Canada Council Fellowships – 2 Calgary Artists Win Awards.” Calgary Herald 26 Apr. 1966
Alberta Art Foundation. Spaces and Places: Eight Decades of Landscape Painting in Alberta. Edmonton, Alberta: Alberta Art Foundation, 1986
Armstrong, Christopher and H.V. Nelles. The Painted Valley: Artists Along Alberta's Bow River, 1845-2000. Calgary, Alberta: University of Calgary Press, 2007
Barnhouse, Dorothy. “Exhibit by Nichol Last For Gallery.” Edmonton Journal 19 Oct. 1963
C. G. P. “Clement Greenberg’s View of Art on the Prairies.” Canadian Art 20.2 (Mar-Apr. 1963)
Cochran, Bente Roed. Printmaking in Alberta 1945-1985 Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1989
Cochran, Bente Roed. "Paper the only thing these Works share." Edmonton Journal 17 Mar. 1979
Davis, Ann and Elizabeth Herbert. Marion Nicoll: Silence and Alchemy Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2013
Flaherty, Adeleine. “Life And Paintings Synonymous For Calgary Artist-Teacher.” Calgary Herald 27 Jan. 1965
Flood, Sandra. Canadian Craft and Museum Practice, 1900-1950 Hull: Canadian Museum of Civilization, 2001
Greenfield, Valerie. Founders of the Alberta College of Art: October 24-November 19, 1986 Calgary: Alberta College of Art Gallery, 1986
Harper, J. Russell. Painting in Canada: A History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1966, 2nd edition 1977
Jackson, Christopher. Marion NIcoll: Art and Influences. Calgary: Glenbow Museum, 1986
Joyner, J. Brooks. Marion Nicoll, R.C.A. Calgary: Masters Gallery, 1979
Klingle, Frances H.. Under the Chinook Arch the Influence of the Group of Seven on Alberta Landscape Painting between 1920 and 1960. Edmonton, Alberta: University of Alberta (Canada), M.A. thesis, 1985
LaViolette, Mary-Beth. Alberta Mistresses of the Modern, 1935-1975. Edmonton: Art Gallery of Alberta, 2012
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.
Mastin, Catharine. Marion Nicoll: Life & Work. Toronto, Ontario: Art Canada Institute: Institut de l'art canadien, 2022
Mastin, Catharine. "Marion Nicoll: An Alberta Modern." CWAHI Conference 2021 Toronto, Ontario: 2021.
Mastin, Catharine Margaret. Beyond "the Artist's Wife": Women, Artist-Couple Marriage and the Exhibition Experience in Postwar Canada Edmonton: University of Alberta, 2012
Mastin, Catharine Margaret. Beyond "the Artist's Wife": Women, Artist-Couple Marriage and the Exhibition Experience in Postwar Canada Edmonton: University of Alberta, 2012
McMullen, W.B.. Alberta Art: Works from The Alberta Art Foundation. Edmonton: Alberta Art Foundation, 1975
Nasgaard, Roald. Abstract Painting in Canada. Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, 2008
Neesham, Robin. “Art Show Features Boldness Of Nicoll’s Abstract Works.” Calgary Herald 10 Dec. 1963
Nicoll, Jim. Paintings and Poetry. Calgary: Glenbow-Alberta Institute, 1977
O'Brian, John et al.. The Flat Side of the Landscape: The Emma Lake Artists' Workshops. Saskatoon, Sask: Mendel Art Gallery, 1989., 1989
Pashak, Natasha. Almost Outnumbered: the Role of Alberta in the Life and Work of Marion Nicoll. Montreal: Concordia University MA thesis, 2010
Reference Division, McPherson Library, compilers. Creative Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Creative and Performing Arts. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, University of Victoria, 1971
Reichwein, P. and K. Wall. Uplift: Visual Culture at the Banff School of Fine Arts Banff: Banff School of Fine Arts, 2020
Reid, Dennis. A Concise History of Canadian Painting. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1973
Salahub, Jennifer. ""A Lot of Heifer-dust": Alberta Maverick Marion Nicoll and Abstract Art." Bucking Conservatism: Alternative Stories of Alberta from the 1960s and the 1970s. Athabasca, Alberta: Athabasca University Press, 2021.
Simpson, Jim. "Variety in Form highlights Exhibition: Exhibition by Women Artists." Edmonton Journal 17 Jan. 1979
Townshend, Nancy. A History of Art in Alberta, 1905-1970 Calgary, Alberta: Bayeux, 2005
Zimon, Kathy E. Alberta Society of Artists: The First Seventy Years Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2000

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