We are actively seeking to acquire paintings by Doris McCarthy.
Born in Calgary in 1910, the daughter of a construction engineer, she had an early interest in art and when her father settled in Toronto she was able to take greater advantage of art training to prepare herself for a career in this field. She entered the Ontario College of Art in 1925 and studied under Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald, J.W. Beatty and Emanuel Hahn. She graduated from the O.C.A. with an Honours Diploma and Special Prize in 1930.
She became a founding instructor with Arthur Lismer's Children's classes at the Art Gallery of Toronto (1930-35); taught at Moulton College, Tor. (part time 1931-33) and became full time teacher at the Central Technical School, Tor. (1933-). At the Technical School she taught drawing, painting, stage design and history of art. Each summer she travelled in Canada or abroad in search of subjects for her canvases; over the years she visited the following places; in Quebec - near Hull to Mont Laurier, then on the Gaspé coast (1933); Barachois de Malbaie, Gaspé (two months, 1934); Georgian Bay (1935); took post graduate study at the Central School of Art and Crafts, London, England, under John Skeaping, John Farleigh, and others (1935-36); Revelstoke, B.C. (1937); taught summer school for Ontario Department of Education in stage design and marionettes (1938); again at summer school, Dept. Ed. and one month painting at Georgian Bay (1939); Barachois de Malbaie, Gaspé (1941) and in the following summers painted elsewhere.
By 1942 she was becoming known to a larger number of Canadian collectors and during her exhibition at the Mellors Gallery The Toronto Telegram4 noted, "Doris McCarthy, a young Canadian artist of excellent promise, has a charming exhibition at the Mellors Fine Art Galleries. Miss McCarthy is especially successful generally with her snow scenes, though the outstanding painting is `Rocky Shore, Georgian Bay' a large, strong, warmly painted composition of rocks, with bright sunlight on her water. This is a boldly conceived composition and very skilful in the texture painting of the rocks. Miss McCarthy has also done some delightful Haliburton scenes, and a particularly charming thing, too, is `Snow Pattern Ste.Adesle,' a most interesting study in circular pattern with delicate color notes on the snow. There is also a number of Atlantic seaboard paintings, ..." In Mayfairs in 1945 special attention was given to her Atlantic subjects as follows, "Very few painters have a really personal interest in them, and when the boats of the Gaspé are painted, they usually are merged with the landscape. Not so with Miss McCarthy. She paints each boat as if she expected to sail in it.” One of her paintings of boats was reproduced with this article and following caption, "Calgary-born Doris Jean McCarthy travels to Gaspé not so much to paint landscapes as to paint boats. She has painted scores of them and has a penchant for doing boats rocking idly by a wharf or tied to buoys in quiet waters.”
The following year her canvas ‘Heart's Eye View of Barachois’ (scene of an inlet with boats, shoreline;-farm: houses and receding rural landscape) was purchased by the Art Gallery of Ontario, and has been valued at forty thousand dollars.6 She took sabbatical leave from the Central Technical School during 1950-51 to paint in Europe. She was elected an Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1951 and had been made a member of the Ontario Society of Artists in 1945 (Pres. 1964-67); the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour, 1952 (Pres. 1953-55; 56-58) and her canvases have been hung in many of the exhibitions of these societies. During her 1970 exhibit the Globe & Mail7 noted, "At Gallerie Ustel (Tor), Doris McCarthy and Jocelyn Taylor make their own spring song by filling two galleries with their work. Miss McCarthy is still caught up with the idea of reducing landscape to a set of rhythms. For her Wave Movement series, Miss McCarthy turns to water, and here the study of rhythm and play of color really click into place. The rhythms are strongest when she leashed them, as in the painting of the khaki-green rock with white spume. In `Mist on the Swamp', where the colors are similarly muted, the vibrancy is stronger than in one like Georgian Bay...." She also exhibited at the Gutenberg Gallery Ltd. in 1971. Her commissions -include: a mural for the Children's Room of the Earlscourt Library, Dufferin St., Tor. (1933); 9 ft. banners for the Chancel' ofSt. Aidan's Anglican Church also crèche figures (1957).8 Purchase Award, Minneapolis Biennial, 1957.
She is represented in the permanent collections of the Art Gallery of Ontario; Art Gallery of Hamilton; London Public Library and Art Museum; and in many private collections. Doris McCarthy passed away in 2010, at the age of one hundred years.