Doris Jean McCarthy

Canadian Artist, CSPWC OC OSA RCA (1910-2010)

Doris McCarthy

Doris Jean McCarthy was born in Calgary, Alberta, in 1910. McCarthy attended the Ontario College of Art from 1926 to 1930, where she was awarded various scholarships and prizes. Among her mentors and teachers at the Ontario College of Art were members of the Group Of Seven: Arthur Lismer, A.Y. Jackson, J.E.H. MacDonald and Lawren Harris. She became a teacher shortly thereafter and taught most frequently at Central Technical School in downtown Toronto from 1932 until she retired in 1972. She spent most of her life living and working in Scarborough (now a Toronto district), Ontario, though she traveled abroad extensively and painted the landscapes of various countries, including: Costa Rica, Spain, Italy, Japan, India, England, and Ireland.

McCarthy was nonetheless probably best known for her Canadian landscapes and her depictions of Arctic icebergs. In 1989, she graduated from the University of Toronto Scarborough with a B.A in English. McCarthy’s work has been exhibited and collected extensively in Canada and abroad, in both public and private art galleries Including: National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, The Doris McCarthy Gallery at the University of Toronto Scarborough, and Wynick/Tuck Gallery. McCarthy also penned three autobiographies, chronicling the various stages of her life: A Fool in Paradise (Toronto: MacFarlane, Walter & Ross, 1990), The Good Wine (Toronto: MacFarlane, Walter & Ross, 1991), and Ninety Years Wise (Toronto: Second Story Press, 2004). She was made a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. She was the recipient of the Order of Ontario, the Order of Canada, honorary degrees from the University of Calgary, the University of Toronto, Trent University, the University of Alberta, and Nipissing University, an honorary fellowship from the Ontario College of Art and Design and also had a gallery named in her honor at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

Doris has received many awards and distinctions including: President, Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolor, 1956; President, Ontario Society of Artists, 1964; Canadian Woman Artist of the Year Award, 1983; The Order of Canada, 1986; Bachelor of Art in English, University of Toronto, 1989; The Order of Ontario, 1992; the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Centenary Health Centre Foundation, Scarborough, Ontario named in her honor, 1998; William Kilbourn Award in recognition of her lifetime contribution to the arts in the City of Toronto, 1999. Doris McCarthy’s extraordinary career embraces more than 70 years of Canadian art history. Her paintings and liturgical art are found in selected galleries and museums including The Gallery at Jasper Park Lodge, Alberta and The McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, Ontario. Doris McCarthy has been featured in articles for the Toronto Star, CBC and The globe and Mail.  A major retrospective exhibition at the McMichael Canadian Collection in Kleinberg, Ontario, that opened late in 1999, Celebrating Life: The Art of Doris McCarthy, was a clear measure of the level of recognition that had finally come her way. She died on November 25, 2010.

SELECTED COLLECTIONS: McCarthy is represented in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinberg, Ontario; the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; the Art Gallery of Hamilton; the Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta; the London Regional Art Gallery, London, Ontario; the High Court of Australia, Canberra; The Royal Collection, Windsor Castle, England; and the Doris McCarthy Gallery, University of Toronto, Scarborough, where her archives are also housed.

The record price for this artist at auction is $193,259.00 for Antarctica from Above, sold at Heffel Vancouver in 2021. 


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