Prudence Heward: Life & Work by Julia Skelly

Prudence Heward’s searing and psychologically complex portraits were anything but ladylike. One of Canada’s first woman painters to publicly exhibit female nudes, her art challenged the portrayal of her gender. Read and download the online art book here: www.aci-iac.ca/prudence-heward
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Prudence Heward, “Self-Portrait,” c. 1926, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives.

Prudence Heward, “Self-Portrait,” c. National Gallery of Canada Library…

Heward had seven siblings; this portrait is of her sister, Rooney. “Portrait Study,” 1938, Art Gallery of Ontario.

Heward had seven siblings; this portrait is of her sister, Rooney. “Portrait Study,” Art Gallery of Ontario.

Heward met Isabel McLaughlin while living in Paris and the two became lifelong friends. McLaughlin, “Study for l’Abside de Notre Dame,” c. 1929, Robert McLaughlin Gallery.

Heward met Isabel McLaughlin while living in Paris and the two became lifelong friends. McLaughlin, “Study for l’Abside de Notre Dame,” c.

Heward moved to Paris after the war and studied drawing at the École des beaux-arts. “Figure Study,” 1925, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives.

igormaglica: “ Prudence Heward Figure Study, graphite on wove paper, 26 x 21 cm ”

Portrait of Prudence Heward in London, 1930.

Portrait of Prudence Heward in London,

In 1914 Heward’s brothers, Jim and Chilion, went to Europe to fight in the First World War. “Jim,” 1928, Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec.

In 1914 Heward’s brothers, Jim and Chilion, went to Europe to fight in the First World War.

Though untitled, this work bears a striking resemblance to Heward, and is likely a self-portrait or a portrait of one of her sisters. “Untitled,” c. 1925, Collection of Elizabeth and Tony Comper.

igormaglica: “ Prudence Heward Untitled, c. oil on wood, x cm ”

At sixteen, Heward lost both her father and sister in the same week, a shock which led her to temporarily stop making art. “Dad,” 1910, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives.

At sixteen, Heward lost both her father and sister in the same week, a shock which led her to temporarily stop making art. “Dad,” National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives.

Heward’s cousin, well-known Montreal interior designer Mary Harvey, was believed to have introduced her to the work of English painter, Vanessa Bell. Bell, “Design for a Small Screen,” c. 1920, Art Gallery of Ontario.

Heward’s cousin, well-known Montreal interior designer Mary Harvey, was believed to have introduced her to the work of English painter, Vanessa Bell. Bell, “Design for a Small Screen,” c. 1920, Art Gallery of Ontario.

This was one of several paintings by Heward that Isabel McLaughlin owned. “Street in Cagnes,” c. 1930, Robert McLaughlin Gallery.

This was one of several paintings by Heward that Isabel McLaughlin owned. “Street in Cagnes,” c.

“Miss Lockerby,” (c. 1924, private collection) is a portrait of Heward’s friend, the artist Mabel Lockerby. This work is exemplary of Heward’s early paintings of women, which tend to depict solitary figures with a muted palette in nondescript settings.

“Miss Lockerby,” (c. private collection) is a portrait of Heward’s friend, the artist Mabel Lockerby. This work is exemplary of Heward’s early paintings of women, which tend to depict solitary figures with a muted palette in nondescript settings.

During the First World War, Heward travelled to England with her mother and sister to work for the Red Cross. “Untitled (Figural sketch of a nurse and a patient),” c. 1916, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives.

During the First World War, Heward travelled to England with her mother and sister to work for the Red Cross. “Untitled (Figural sketch of a nurse and a patient),” c. National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives.

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