Jack Leonard Shadbolt

1909 - 1998

Jack Leonard Shadbolt emigrated from England to Canada in 1912, settling in British Columbia. He took courses at the Victoria Normal School (1928) and at the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts (1931) where, after studying under Frederick Horsman Varley of the Group of Seven, he soon became an art teacher. In 1930, he met Emily Carr and was strongly influenced by her use of Indigenous iconography. Over the course of that decade, he immersed himself in the aesthetics of social realism during his trips to New York and London. He then travelled to Paris to study with André Lhote, who introduced him to Cubism. In the aftermath of the Second World War, Shadbolt, who had witnessed its devastation, began producing darker, more surreal work. He represented Canada at the São Paulo Biennale in 1953, and at the Venice Biennale in 1956. His eclectic and ever-evolving work has been the subject of more than 70 solo exhibitions. Shadbolt was appointed Officer to the Order of Canada in 1972, and with his wife, Doris, he founded the Vancouver Institute for Visual Arts in 1988. He died in Vancouver in 1998.