Recollecting Women Artists at the BC Archives
- Glenna Westwood, MLS
- Hanna Buchanan
- Eleni Tsonis
- Renee Gaudet
- Teresa Chu
- Glenda Christie
The BC Archives holds one of the most inclusive collections for women artists in all of Canada. And yet, the collection is relatively unknown and significantly underutilized. This research project has two main goals: to create foundational records for women artists and to begin to expand the biographies of artists who had previously been considered unknown.
Working with museum volunteers we will write 60 artist biographies, which will be available on the archives’ database. We will also share this foundational collections research with the Canadian Women Artists History Initiative so other researchers and curators know to look to the Royal BC Museum for women artists.
Two artists in the collection have captivated Dr. Young’s research interests: Hilda Vincent Foster (British-Canadian, 1897–1970) and Maria Katherina Krahnstoever (Swiss-Canadian, 1894–1987). BC Archives records currently provide little information about these women or how their artworks came to be housed at the museum. Along with general research about women artists, this year’s scholarship will focus case studies on the above artists to interrogate gender constructs in twentieth century Canadian art. New oral histories will provide intimate biographical sketches to compliment ephemera uncovered through research. The places Foster and Krahnstoever exhibited and the type of public attention they received paint a picture of women artists within the Canadian art world of their lifetimes. This scholarship points to the social strategies used to define and proscribe feminine gender within the arts.
This research will provide foundational information to the collection. It may also result in future publications and exhibitions.