Library and Archives Canada, in partnership with the Glenbow Museum, is pleased to present the second in a series of five portrait-themed exhibitions, Ladylikeness: Historical Portraits of Women by Women.
Each exhibition in the series features a different selection of portraits from LAC’s collection. The theme of this new exhibition is historical portraits of women, made by women artists. Visitors will be able to discover a variety of paintings, prints, drawings and photographs by both amateur and professional artists. For example, Elizabeth Simcoe (1790) by Mary Ann Burges, Demasduit (1819) by Lady Henrietta Martha Hamilton and Frances Adaskin (1950–1952) by Paraskeva Clark.
Ladylike... or unladylike?
Women made portraits of other women to document family relationships, cement friendships, bestow patronage, and even to build professional careers.
Through much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, women were denied access to the established system of art school training, which centred on life drawing (the study of nude models). Gradually, it became acceptable for upper class young ladies to learn the basics of sketching, drawing and painting. However, women were still discouraged from becoming serious about art: it was considered unladylike for any woman to achieve more than a limited proficiency.
Still, many women defied the odds, attaining high levels of accomplishment, whether as amateur artists or professionals. Portraiture offered an alternative path to success for an artist untrained in life drawing.
Canada’s Portraits at Glenbow
Library and Archives Canada is home to many of our country’s most important portraits. These historical and modernist works provide a unique visual history of Canada. One that is interpreted on a human scale, through the faces of individuals, known or unknown, who have shaped and who continue to shape Canada’s history and culture.
As part of a multi-year collaboration with Library and Archives Canada, Glenbow will host a series of five portrait-themed exhibitions drawn from LAC’s collection. In some cases, portraits from Glenbow’s collection will augment the exhibitions.
For more information about the exhibition and its opening hours, visit the Glenbow Museum.
- From March 8, 2019 to January 5, 2020
- Glenbow Museum
- 130 9th Avenue S.E.
- Calgary, Alberta
Some of the works in the exhibition