Prudence Heward – who was born in 1896 and died in 1947 – was a remarkably talented Canadian painter who never earned the acclaim she so deserved.
When Heward’s nephew asked Group of Seven painter AY Jackson if he thought his aunt was one of the better female painters in Canada, Jackson bristled in response: “Forget the woman part of your question. In my opinion, she was the very best painter we have in Canada and she never got the recognition she richly deserved in her lifetime. I wanted her to join the Group of Seven, but.. no women were included.”
Heward is one of the artists included in: ‘Uninvited: Canadian Women Artists in the Modern Moment. – an exhibit running at the Vancouver Art Gallery until January 8th, 2023.
Prudence Heward, Sisters of Rural Quebec, 1930, oil on canvas, Art Gallery of Windsor, Gift of the Willistead Art Gallery of Windsor Women’s Committee, 1962
Created by Sarah Milroy – Chief Curator of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection behind the exhibit – ‘Uninvited’ features 200 art works from bead workers, painters, photographers, weavers, sculptors. The women artists behind these creations lived in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. Their names include: Emily Carr, Paraskeva Clark, Regina Seiden Goldberg, Frances Loring, Anne Savage, Lilias Torrance, Margaret Watkins, Elizabeth Wynn Wood, Florence Wyle.
Highlights of the exhibition also include work from Attatsiaq of Arviat, Nunavut; Sewinchelwet (Sophie Frank) of the Sḵwxw̱ ú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation); Mi’kmaq quill box maker Bridget Ann Sack of Shubenacadie, NS; and Rose Runner of the Tsuut’ina First Nation, near Calgary, Alberta.
Prudence Heward, At the Theatre, 1928, oil on canvas, The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest,
Photo: MMFA, Christine Guest