Biographical Information Researching the Visual Arts in Canada

| Finding Biographical Information |
| Locating Living Artists |
| Art-related Biographical Dictionaries |


Researching an Artist -- Finding Biographical Information


From The Getty. Search for artists or architects and retrieve their variant names, biographical information, and bibliographic citations.

  • Museums and galleries often give out biographical information on artists they hold in their collections
  • Do a search for biographical dictionaries in libraries. See a listing of some dictionaries below.



Art-related Biographical Dictionaries

Canadian Eskimo Artists: a Biographical Dictionary
. Pelly Bay, Yellowknife: Government of the Northwest Territories, 1970. Concordia University Library Call # Reference N 6548 C36X

Small work includes brief biographical sketches of Inuit artists from this region. Little discussion of artist works.

Creative Canada: a Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Creative and Performing Artists. 2 volumes. University of Victoria, by University of Toronto Press, 1971-1972. Concordia University Library Call # Reference NX 513 A1C7.

Published in subsequent years, these two volumes provide complementary listings that cover artists (painting, sculpture, etc.), writers, film, dance, Inuit art, music, opera, and performing arts. Entries include information about education, careers, awards and honours, exhibitions, productions, etc. Good coverage of obscure artists.

A Dictionary of Canadian Artists. 3 volumes. Ottawa: Canadian Paperbacks, [1977?]-1997. Concordia University Library Call # Reference N 6548 M2

Originally published in 1967, the revised and expanded edition includes biographical entries covering studies, exhibitions and dates, and media. Articles vary in length ranging from brief paragraphs to 5 pages. Most entries provide brief list of bibliographical references.

A Dictionary of Folk Artists in Canada from the 17th Century to the Present with Inclusions of Popular Portrait, Topographical, Genre, Religious, and Decorative Artists of the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries. Elginburg, ON: B. McKendry, c1988. Concordia University Library Call # Reference N 6540.5 P7M38 1988

Alphabetical listing of entries providing brief details. Biographical references listed at end of work may be helpful.

Directory of the arts. Ottawa: Canadian Conference of the Arts / Conference canadienne des arts, c1987. Merger of the English portions of Who does what and Who's who (Toronto, ON). Concordia University Library Call # Reference NX 120 C3D57X 1989, 1991, 1994.

Early Painters and Engravers in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, c1970. Concordia University Library Call # Reference N 6548 H37.

Includes only painters and engravers of the historic past including those born before 1867. Works of Canadian subject matter by non-Canadians are also included. Entries include date and place of birth, known details of the life of the artist, listings of public exhibitions, and a key to biographical references. General bibliography included at end of work.

Encyclopedia of living artists in America: a visual guide to artists living in America, complete with their names and addresses, as well as biographies, personal comments, and sample works. 2nd ed. Renaissance, CA: Directors Guild Publishers, c1987. Concordia University Library Call # Reference N 6512 E45 1987.

International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA) Biographies of Women in Architecture

The IAWA collects books, biographical information, and published materials as part of its mission to act as a clearinghouse of information about all women architects, past and present.

Macmillan Encyclopedia of Architects. 4 volumes. London: Collier Macmillan Publishers, 1982. Concordia University Library Call # Reference NA40 M25 1982

Includes more than 2400 biographies of architects from ancient times to the present and covers all geographical areas including Canada. Entries include an overview of individuals, a list of their works and a bibliography. A complete list of biographies and biographer's name provided. Numerous illustrations.

North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century. New York: Garland Publishing, 1995. Concordia University Library Call # Reference N6503 N67 1995

Extensive coverage of Canadian and Mexican women artists. Entries on women born before 1960 who have made a "serious commitment to the visual arts" are included. Bibliographies. Black and white illustrations.

St. James Guide to Native North American Artists. Edited by Roger Matuz. Concordia University Library Call # Reference E 98 A7 1997

Contains biographical information and essays on many First Nations artists who have exhibited extensively in Canada.

Who's Who series -- check both Canadian and American versions as they contain listings of Canadians working in the field of the visual arts.


Last updated: 23 septembre 2007


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