Passages Art

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About Doris McCarthy

Doris McCarthy, 1910-2010,was a great painter and a distinguished Canadian. McCarthy's contributions to Canadian art are impressive. She has produced an unparalleled body of work that spanned over 75 years and includes an estimated 6,000 paintings in a variety of media. She was elected the first woman President of the Ontario Society of Artists and has taught some of Canada's most distinguished creative people. As a key figure in this country's art scene since the 1920s, McCarthy has experimented with, and contributed to the major artistic developments throughout the 20th century. She has distinguished herself as an important artist and an inspirational teacher. Besides her talent, what she is best known for is her accolade as "Canada's Most Loved Artist.

Doris was born in Calgary, Alberta on July 7, 1910, and moved to Toronto in 1913, living in the Beach area of Toronto. In 1921, she entered Malvern Collegiate Institute. She studied at the Ontario College of Art (OCA) and graduated in 1930. Faculty members include Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald, Emanuel Hahn, Yvonne McKague Housser, J.W. Beatty, Miss Grace Coombs, Charles Goldhamer, and others. From 1932 until 1972, she taught art at Central Technical School. In 1939, Doris bought her property on Lake Ontario, and several years later her mother named it "Fool's Paradise," a name that stuck. In 1998 Doris donated the property and her home to Ontario Heritage Foundation to be used as an artist's studio after her death. Doris McCarthy passed away at the age of 100 in November 2010.

Doris McCarthy Self Portrait

Honours & Awards

For her continuing contribution to Canada's artistic community, Doris McCarthy has received the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, five honorary doctorates, and an honorary fellowship to the Ontario College of Art and Design. In November 1999, McCarthy was named the first Artist of Honour at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. On March 11, 2004, the University of Toronto, Scarborough, opened the Doris McCarthy Gallery in her honour which currently holds her archives and artworks and features exhibitions of her art covering the different and varied periods of her art.