Emily Carr was a Canadian writer and artist remembered for painting landscapes and authoring one of the earliest chronicles of life in British Columbia. Considered a Canadian icon, Carr was one of the first modernist painters to portray the spirit of Canada. In 2013, one of her paintings The Crazy Stair sold at a Toronto art auction for $3.39 million.
Agnes Martin was an American painter whose style was often considered minimalism although she considered herself an abstract expressionist. Martin's work served as an inspiration to several younger artists like Ellen Gallagher and Eva Hesse. In 1998, Agnes Martin was honored with the prestigious National Medal of Arts. Her life and career inspired documentaries like Agnes Martin: Between the Lines.
Douglas Coupland is a Canadian novelist and artist who popularized the term “Generation X” mentioned in his international bestseller Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture. He has published several novels, collections of short stories, and works of non-fiction. His art is frequently exhibited at the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art.
Canadian-American actor Barbara Parkins was a 60s’ icon and is best remembered as Betty Anderson from the series Peyton Place and Anne Welles from the film Valley of the Dolls. The Emmy-nominated actor is now a wildlife activist and a photographer. She has also appeared in Playboy magazine.
Ernest Thompson Seton was a wildlife artist and author. He is credited with founding a youth program called the Woodcraft Indians in 1902. A pioneer of the Boy Scouts of America, Seton also had a huge influence on the founder of the Scout Movement, Lord Baden-Powell. His life and career inspired several works of art like TV series and literature.
Norval Morrisseau was a Canadian artist best remembered for creating works that portrayed the legends of his Indigenous people, the tensions between native European and Canadian traditions, and his deep mysticism and spirituality. Nicknamed the Picasso of the North, Norval Morrisseau is credited with founding the Woodlands School of Art and was part of the Indian Group of Seven.
Born in China, Domee Shi moved to Canada with her parents at age 2. Inspired by her painter father and, later, by her interest in anime, she made animation her career. Now a well-known storyboard artist and director for Pixar, she is known for projects such as the Academy Award-winning short Bao.
Lawren Harris was a Canadian painter best remembered as one of the most important members of the influential group of Canadian landscape painters, Group of Seven. Harris played an important and influential role in shaping early modernism in Canadian art. He is also credited with inspiring and mentoring several modernist painters like Emily Carr.
Jeff Wall is a Canadian artist renowned for his art history writing and large-scale Cibachrome photographs. His large-scale images and other works have influenced the Düsseldorf School of Photography and photographers like Andreas Gursky. In 2002, Jeff Wall was honored with the Hasselblad Award. In 2008, he received the prestigious Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement.
Born to Sri Lankan Tamil immigrants in Canada, actor Rajiv Surendra initially studied art such as painting and sculpture. He is now best known as Kevin Gnapoor from the film Mean Girls. His book The Elephants in My Backyard highlights his failure to bag the lead role in Life of Pi.
11 Rick Gibson
12 Brion Gysin
Brion Gysin was a Canadian painter, sound poet, writer, and performance artist. Gysin was also known as an inventor of experimental devices; he is credited with inventing the Dreamachine, a stroboscopic flicker device. Brion Gysin's ideas went on to inspire the artists of the Beat Generation and other prominent personalities like Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Laurie Anderson, and Keith Haring.
Suzanne Mallouk ran away from her Canada home and moved to New York, where she took up odd jobs to finance her art career. She supported a penniless Jean-Michel Basquiat grow into a wealthy artist and became a muse for his paintings. She later became a practicing psychiatrist.
14 Bill Reid
A. Y. Jackson was a Canadian painter who made an immense contribution to the progression of Canadian art. A founding member of the Group of Seven, Jackson was also known for his work as a war artist during the First World War. In 1970, A. Y. Jackson was honored by the Royal Canadian Academy with its medal for lifetime achievement.
Jean-Paul Riopelle was a Canadian sculptor and painter best remembered for his abstract painting style. During the 1950s, Riopelle famously abandoned the paintbrush and switched to a palette knife to create paintings with a distinctive sculptural quality. Jean-Paul Riopelle went on to become the first Canadian painter to achieve international recognition since James Wilson Morrice.
Rob Gonsalves was a Canadian painter whose magic realism style of painting enabled him to create works that sent out subtle messages. Apart from painting, he also produced limited edition prints and even created illustrations for his own books. Rob Gonsalves, who suffered from mental illness, took his own life in 2017.
Alex Colville was a Canadian printmaker and painter best remembered as the pioneering founder of Maritime Realism. A war artist, Colville went on to wok as a teacher at prestigious institutions like Mount Allison University. He then focused solely on his painting career and exhibited at several art institutions like the Beijing Exhibition Centre and Tate Gallery.
Robert Bateman is a Canadian painter and naturalist renowned for his realistic painting style that reflects his appreciation for nature. He is credited with establishing the Bateman Foundation, which aims at educating people on the prominence of human-nature connection. Over the course of his career, Bateman has been honored with several awards like Society of Animal Artists Award of Excellence.
Franklin Carmichael was a Canadian artist and one of the most important members of the famous Group of Seven. Carmichael also worked as an illustrator and designer, creating advertisements in magazines and newspapers, promotional brochures, and designing books. A multi-talented person, Franklin Carmichael also taught at the Ontario College of Art. His work influenced younger artists like Emily Carr.
Kenojuak Ashevak is a Canadian artist best known as an important exponent of modern Inuit art. Ashevak, who is credited with inspiring several Inuit people to take up art, has been honored with several prestigious awards including an induction into Canada's Walk of Fame.
23 Jon Rafman
24 A. J. Casson
A. J. Casson was a Canadian painter best remembered as one of the members of a popular group of artists called the Group of Seven. The youngest member of the group, Casson is renowned for his depiction of southern Ontario. He is also credited for developing a painting style with a limited palette and clear colors.
25 Paul Kane
Irish-Canadian painter Paul Kane was known for his paintings of subjects ranging from Native Americans, missionaries, and landscapes, and his attention to detail, especially the jewelry and attire of his subjects. Specializing in portraits, he also later released Wanderings of an Artist, which was a collection of his travel experiences.
Canadian painter Frederick Varley is best remembered as a founding member of the Group of Seven, a collective of Canadian landscape painters. Varley specialized in war painting and had accompanied Canadian troops as an official war artist during World War I. He later also visited the Arctic and the Soviet Union.
27 Joan Erikson
Apart from being an educator and an author, Joan Erikson was also a dance ethnographer and believed that art therapy could heal a lot of psychological ailments. She also established a theater and art program to help patients develop psychologically. She also spoke about the importance of “play” in adult life.
American-Canadian artist Miriam Schapiro experimented with minimalism, abstraction, and geometry and often expressed her own feminist thoughts though her art. Her best-known works include Anatomy of a Kimono, the sculpture Dollhouse, and her art inspired by Jewish heritage, such as Mother Russia. She was also skilled in creating femmage art.
29 Bill Mason
Apart from being an award-winning naturalist, Bill Mason was also a filmmaker and an author. A canoeing expert, he penned several books on the topic, apart from creating the popular Path of the Paddle series of canoeing films. He also specialized in wolf documentaries, such as Death of a Legend.
30 Ken Danby
Best known for his realist visual images of everyday life, photorealist artist Ken Danby initially quit art college because of their focus on abstract art. He later mostly worked from his rural retreat near Guelph, which included a stone mill by the river. He died while vacationing in Algonquin Park.
Canadian painter Paul-Émile Borduas is best remembered as a founder-member of the radical abstract group Les Automatistes, which focused on automatism, influenced by surrealism. Initially a church decorator in Montreal, he later studied art in Paris. He was later ostracized for releasing the social critique Refus Global.
Initially a painter, Joyce Wieland later experimented with mixed media art and also ventured into filmmaking. Her themes were predominantly feminist. She also often used the Canadian national flag colors in her art, expressing her nationalist identity. She later became a cultural icon of sorts in Canada.
Best known for introducing Eskimo art and life to the world, James Archibald Houston spent much of life among the Inuit community of Canada's eastern Arctic, teaching them skills such as printmaking and helping them sell their crafts. He has also authored several books, both for adults and children.
34 James Reaney
James Reaney was a Canadian poet, playwright, and professor. He developed an early love for literature and theater and studied English at University College, University of Toronto. He pursued an academic career while also focusing on his writing. He was the recipient of Canada's highest literary award, the Governor General's Award, thrice. He also enjoyed drawing and painting.
Apart from being a popular radio and TV host, Claude Lafortune was also a talented paper artist who inspired the documentary The Paper Man. Though known for his children’s shows, he also hosted many prominently Christian shows. The Canadian artist died of COVID-19 at age 83.
A pioneer of abstract art in Canada, Japanese-Canadian painter Kazuo Nakamura is best known as a founder-member of the artists’ collective Painters Eleven. Fond of simplicity and monochrome, he also experimented with science and symmetry. He had survived a British Columbia internment camp as a teenager during World War II.
37 Mimi Parent
Surrealist artist Mimi Parent is remembered for her provocative art. Along with mentor Alfred Pellan and other artists, Parent formed the non-conformist collective Prisme d'yeux. Her art echoed her fascination with Gothic themes and unconventional objects such as 3D tableaux boxes. Her work mingled macabre and erotic elements.
38 Yves Gaucher
Known for his abstract art, Yves Gaucher is remembered as one of Quebec’s leading printmakers. Initially expelled from college for drawing immoral pictures, he also later experimented as a radio announcer and musician. His works are known for showcasing symmetry, pattern, and monochrome. He was also a pioneer of colour band painting.
39 Wyatt Eaton
Canadian-American portrait and figure painter Wyatt Eaton was one of the founders and first secretary of the American Art Association, later the Society of American Artists. He also co-founded the Society of Canadian Artists in Montreal. Some of his notable works are portraits of William Cullen Bryant and Timothy Cole.
40 George Grie
Known for his abstract paintings in rich colors, Graham Coughtry is best remembered for his Two Figures Series, which showed two abstract figures intertwined with each other. The figurative painter was also known as one of the Isaacs Group of painters, who had frequently exhibited at the Isaacs Gallery.