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Artists as Writers: Genre: Autobiography

Genre: Autobiography

This section includes autobiographical writing by artists, describing their lives in their own words.

Artists on this page:

Paul-Émile Borduas: Autobiography, Letters and Journals

Autobiography

Projections Libérantes. Saint-Hilaire, Montreal: Mythra Mythe, 1949. Available at OCADU Library.
An autobiographical pamphlet that details Borduas' experiences that led up to the writing of Refus Global. Also included in Écrits I (Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 1987, p. 393-479

 

Letters and Journals

Fonds Paul-Émile Borduas at the Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montréal,
Personal papers & original copies of written works (archives, unpublished).

"Paul-Emile Borduas and Modernism: 'I Hate All Nationalisms.'" François-Marc Gagnon. Artscanada 36.4 (Dec-Jan 1979-1980): 15-18.
Gagnon uses Borduas letters & documents that reveal Borduas' anarchistic stance and dislike of nationalism in art

Journal: 1929-1930. Fonds Borduas du Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, T. 34
Also included in Écrits II: Journal, Correspondance, 1923-1953, T. 1 (Presses de l'Université de Montréal, 1997, p. 41-96).

"Lettre à Claude Gauvreau." Liberté 3.1 (1961): 430-33.
A letter from Borduas to Gauvreau 25 Sep 1954

"Lettres à Claude Gauvreau." Liberté 4.22 (Apr 1962): 230-51.
Letters Borduas wrote to Gauvreau between 1952-59 about exhibitions, artists, and art theory (in French)

"Communication intime à mes chers amis." La Presse, 12 Juiy 1969, p. 24.
included in Écrits I (Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 1987, p. 503-515.

"Les Automatistes." Barre du jour 17-20 (Jan-Aug 1969): 1-389.
A special edition of La Barre du jour includes an ensemble of automatistes writings. It includes Projections libérantes by Borduas & 2 letters from Borduas to Jean-Jules Richard (n.d.) and to Claude Gauvreau (1954)

Écrits II: Journal, Correspondance, 1923-1953, T. 1. Ed. Andre-G. Bourrassa & Gilles Lapointe. Montreal: Presses de l'Université de Montréal, 1997.

Écrits II: Correspondance, 1954-1960, T. 2. Ed. Andre-G. Bourrassa & Gilles Lapointe. Montreal: Presses de l'Université de Montréal, 1997.

AA Bronson: Autobiography

A Letter to MONTREAL: Making Love with Jesus. by AA Bronson. Journal of Canadian Art History, 07/2012, Volume 33, Issue 2. Read online through OCADU Library.

Negative thoughts by Bronson, A. Museum of Contemporary Art. 2001.  Available at OCADU Library.

Emily Carr: Autobiography

Klee Wyck. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1941.
This wwas Carr's first book after visiting, living and painting First Nations communities & totem poles. It won the Governor General's award for non-fiction. Available at OCADU Library.

The Book of Small. Toronto Oxford University Press, 1942. Available in the Emily Carr Omnibus at OCADU Library.

The House of All Sorts. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1944.
Emily Carr was primarily a painter, but she first gained recognition as an author for her seven books about her journeys to remote Native communities and stories about life as an artist, as a small child in Victoria at the turn of the last century--and as a reluctant landlady. Available at OCADU Library.

Growing Pains: The Autobiography of Emily Carr. Foreword by Ira Dilworth. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1946.
Available at OCADU LIbrary.

A Little Town and a Little Girl. Foreword by Ira Dilworth. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin, 1951.

Pause: A Sketch Book. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin, 1953.
Sketches, drawings, verses about Carr's 18-month stay in an English sanitorium after she became ill while studying art at London's Westminster School in 1902. Available at OCADU Library.

The Heart of a Peacock. Ira Dilworth, ed. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1953.
Miscellany of the author's unpublished writings, containing stories of West Coast First Nations life, birds and animals from Carr's childhood experiences. Available at OCADU Library.

Hundreds and Thousands: The Journals of Emily Carr. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin, 1966. Available at OCADU Library.

The Emily Carr Omnibus (reprinted as The Complete Writings of Emily Carr). Introduction by Doris Shadbolt. Vancouver, Toronto, and Seattle: Douglas & McIntyre and Univ. of Washington Press, 1993. Reprinted as The Complete Writings of Emily Carr, Vancouver, Toronto, and Seattle: Douglas & McIntyre and Univ. of Washington Press, 1997 (1st pbk ed.), 2006.
Includes Klee Wyck, The Book of Small, The House of All Sorts, Growing Pains, The Heart of a Peacock, Pause: A Sketch Book, Hundreds and Thousands: The Journals of An Artist. Available at OCADU Library.

The Emily Carr Collection: Four Complete and Unabridged Canadian Classics.  Toronto: Key Porter, 2002.
Includes Klee Wyck, The Book of Small, The House of All Sorts, and Growing Pains

Wildflowers. Victoria, B.C.: Royal BC Museum, 2006.
Writing by Carr about native flowers and shrubs that recalled her childhood memories and associations

Flirt, Punk & Loo: My Dogs and I. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2007.
Reprinted as Emily Carr & Her Dogs: Flirt, Punk & Loo, Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2002, 2005. Available at OCADU Library.

This and That: The Lost Stories of Emily Carr. Ann-Lee Switzer, ed. Surrey, B.C.: Touchwood Editions, 2007.
Anecdotes and stories about Carr's family life, school days, love of nature and animals, and how she learned to smoke.

A.Y. Jackson: Autobiography

"Recollections on my Seventieth Birthday." Canadian Art 10 (1953): 94-9.

"Reminiscences of Army Life, 1914-1918." Canadian Art 11.1 (Autumn 1953): 6-10.

"A. Y. Jackson: Office Boy to Top Canadian Artist." Ottawa Journal, 5 Sep 1953.

"A War Artist Looks Back." Ottawa Citizen, 31 Oct 1953.

"From Rebel Dauber to Renowned Painter: A Self-Portrait of A.Y. Jackson." by A.Y. Jackson and Leslie F. Hannon. Mayfair 28.9 (Sep 1954): 27-9, 58, 61-4, 67.

A Painter’s Country: The Autobiography of A.Y. Jackson. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin & Co., 1958.

A.Y. Jackson's speech at Royal York Hotel, Toronto, April 20, 1965.
Hear part of Jackson's speech as he recalls his assignments as a war painter (CBC Digital Archives)

Wiliam Kurelek: Autobiography

Someone With Me: The Autobiography of William Kurelek. Ithaca, New York: Centre for Improvement of Undergraduate Education, Cornell University, 1973. Available at OCADU Library.

William Kurelek's illustrated children's literature is also based on his own experiences of growing up in Canada.

Doris McCarthy: Autobiography

The good wine : an artist comes of age. Macfarlane, Walter & Ross, 1990. Available at OCADU Library.

A Fool in Paradise.  MacFarlane and Walter Press, 1990.  Available at OCADU Library.

Doris McCarthy: Ninety Wise Years. Second Story Press, 2004. Available at OCADU Library.

Doris McCarthy: my life. by Doris McCarthy; Charis Wahl.  Second Story Press, 2006. Available at OCADU Library.