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Alberta Mistresses of the Modern: 1935-1975

Margaret  Shelton
Rosebud Creek at Rosedale, 1949
Oil on masonite
45.2 x 60.8 cm
Collection of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Edmonton
Acc. No. 1983.042.001
Photo © Alberta Foundation for the Arts


Alberta Mistresses of the Modern 1935-1970 features the work of a group of early Alberta women artists, all of whom were born before the end of the First World War (1918), and all were engaged with different currents of modernism, working in the decades between the late 1930s to the early 1970s. Located largely in Edmonton and Calgary, their work reveals the important role that women artists played in the development of modernism, particularly early forms of abstraction, in Alberta.

Of the ten-member “Calgary Group”, whose 53 oil paintings were shown at the VancouverArtGallery in 1948, four of the artists were women: Marion Nicoll, Janet Mitchell and Dorothy Willis. Of that group, only Marion Nicoll continues to be recognized today for her commitment to modernism. The exhibition Alberta Mistresses of the Modern will show that there were far more women in this pioneering generation of artists.

While they were largely painters (oil, watercolour & later acrylic) and/or printmakers (linocuts, woodcuts, etching, silkscreen & clay prints), the exhibition also includes some ceramics by Sibyl Budde Laubenthal.

The exhibition, guest-curated for the AGA by Mary-Beth Laviolette features over 80 works on loan from more that 15 different private and public collections across the province including: the Art Gallery of Alberta, the Glenbow Museum, the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, the Nickel Arts Museum and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.


Organized by
  • Art Gallery of Alberta

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Monday: closed
Tuesday: closed
Wednesday: closed
Thursday: 11am-5pm
Friday: 11am-5pm
Saturday: 11am-5pm
Sunday: closed


AGA members
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General admission
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2 Sir Winston Churchill Square
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T5J 2C1