Jack Shadbolt

Jack Shadbolt
1909 - 1998

Jack Shadbolt was born in 1909 in Shoeburyness, England, came to Canada in 1912, and from 1914 was raised in Victoria.

As a high school teacher, like his friend Max Maynard, he became exposed to the influence of the Group of Seven and developed a passion for outdoor sketching and decided to become an artist. With fellow members of the Island Arts and Craft Society, Maynard and Emily Carr, he participated in the "Modern Room" section of the Society's 1932 exhibition, as part of the group's struggle to be understood in a culture that was not ready for modern art.

Shadbolt went on to study art in London and Paris, and from 1938 taught and studied with Fred Varley at the Vancouver School of Art. During World War II he became an official war artist in the Canadian Army in London, later returning to his faculty position until retirement in 1966, when he devoted more time to his painting and contributed to the development of abstraction and modernism in this region.Establishing himself as one of Canada's most important artists, he became known for the distinctive style of his paintings and murals with social and political messages stemming from his personal experiences from wartime and with aboriginal and environmental issues. 

He sought to articulate the language of form and the evocation of experience.He became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1972, and in 1987 founded the charitable Institution for the Visual Arts to support and recognize achievements of artists in the province.

Painting up to the end of his life, Jack Shadbolt died in 1998 at the age of 89.

December Birds, 1983
Royal Museum of BC Archives, F-9351
Courtesy of AGGV and Simon Fraser University Galleries, BC

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