Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday Inspiration: Sylvia Daoust

Sylvia Daoust, My Brother, 1921 (source)
Sylvia Daoust, (source)
Sylvia Daoust, My Head, 1930 (source)

Sylvia Daoust (1902-2004) Studied in Montreal and also in Europe, She taught sculpture in Montreal and Anatomy and drawing in Quebec. Her works are all over Quebec- but they are hard to find on line in any sort of reputable form ( I usually try to source images from museums or other well researched places- but I had to use yelp for the image of My Head, which I thought was so striking I wanted to include it anyway. The Image of My Brother is sourced from a journal article because the image is better quality, but I found the title and date from another source- my apologies if it's not correct.

I think that highlights an issue with Women Artists, Because their work is/was seldom or sparsely collected by major Galleries, it can be difficult to find them online in a well documented way. They are often snapshots from someones phone, instead of professional images in a virtual museum, and as such the real documentation is often lost.  For example the image of My head says it's painted plaster- and that might be so- but it looks a lot like bronze to me- and because my source is yelp, I'm not really very trusting of it, so I won't write down the material, and it goes undocumented.

We're living in an internet age and for years the struggle has been to get more work by Women into galleries, but now I wonder if we should be taking a different approach. A proper Virtual Museum  of Women's Art would likely get far visitors than a real brick and mortar museum. At the last kids art class  I taught I was surprised to find that the 12 year old kids I was teaching had never been to an art gallery, art is not really a priority in rural schools, I know, but still, I expected at least one field trip- there is a small gallery a half hour away, but that is not so. That sort of shook me up, and got me wondering how many adults in my area have never been to an art gallery, more than I realized I think. So- if people are going to the internet for their art, it sort of makes representation of Women's art on Google much more relevent, don't you think?

Throughout this little Canadian artist challenge of mine I've been thinking- "well of course there's no more than a few photos of the work- the women were not collected by major museums".  Now I'm wondering what would happen if we reversed that process, and gave them proper space on the Internet as the first step to getting the names out there, and then that in turn would make a demand for their works to be collected and preserved in bigger galleries.

Okay- Brainstorm done- sorry for Hi-jacking your post Sylvia Daoust- your work is phenomenal- or what I can see of it on yelp.

Monday Inspiration 2014 is all about Canadian artists. Each Monday I'll pick a new one to profile- If you can think of any that you think I ought to look up- please let me know in the comments- I'd love to hear from you. You can find a list of the artists I've done so far here. 


  1. I think you be onto something with your comment about the internet and artworks and lack of awareness of art and even the possibility of art gallery visits! Yes, how sad that school field trips (possibly also senior citizen club field trips) do not include visits to art facilities, yet include visits to shopping malls! Is this another sign of the decline of our cultural awareness?

  2. Good points, Angela & Louise. We lived in the Greater Toronto Area and my kids only had one school trip to the AGO. Several parents complained that it was a waste of school time and wouldn't allow their kids to go. Once you get past junior grades, not a lot of art even happens in class unless kids sign up for art classes. Music does better, but is always on the block for cuts.

    I think senior trips to galleries is a great idea, but reminds me of a friend of my Mom's who went to see a Group of Seven exhibit with her group. She hated it. All that new-fangled weird modern art! Not 'real' painting at all. LOL.

    Daoust had an amazing long life. I wonder what her work was like in later years.
    Thanks Angela for highlighting women artists.

    1. Oh my! to think of the group of seven as modern- she must REALLY hate true modern art. Thanks for letting me know that it's not only in rural settings that art goes by the wayside- I always assume that it must be better in big cities, and have thought that I'm giving up the culture of museums and art galleries for more connection with the natural world- but that's obviously my own (fairly common) prejudices showing- which is an odd thing to be relieved about- phew! it's not just rural kids missing out on art in school!

  3. Oh how I agree with you concerning Canadian Women Artists. I heard a survey that said that less than 50% of Canadians can name a Canadian Woman Artist ( I would bet the other 50% would say Emilie Carr) Excellent article in So I started a project on a FB page I manage where I highlight a different artist every Monday. A small thing but they all add up. Plus I started a pinterest board of them as well. How I found you was looking for something about Sylvia Daoust and you were the best I could come up with, so thank you.