Only three women showed their paintings in the âModern Roomâ exhibit of the 1932 Island Arts and Crafts annual exhibition in Victoria B.C. â“ Emily Carr, Ina D.D. Uhthoff, and Edythe Hembroff. Emily Carr is now well-known, but who were the other two? Though accomplished artists and writers in their time, Ina Uhthoff and Edythe Hembroff have been overshadowed by the prominence of Emily Carr. Both were colleagues and friends of Emily Carr, supportive of her ideas, yet accomplished in their own unique ways. Each made significant contributions to the development and understanding of the arts in Victoria. This is the 5th book in the Unheralded Artists of BC series.
Ina Duncan Dewar Uhthoff (nee Campbell) (1889-1971) Artist, teacher, administrator, art gallery founder, and newspaper columnist were the principal roles that Ina Uhthoff balanced as she made a living as a single parent of two children as well as a mark on the arts community of British Columbiaâs capital city, Victoria. Born in Scotland and trained in painting and drawing at the Glasgow School of Art, Ina first came to Canada in 1913. She married Edward Joseph Uhthoff, whom she had met in the Kootenays. By the mid-1920s Ina Uhthoff had established herself as the Principal of the Victoria School of Art and had begun her career as a significant figure in the arts. She taught at the Summer School for Teachers, St. Margaretâs School, (formerly the Kingston Street School of Pottery) and for thirty years was an instructor in art. Ina Uhthoff exhibited regularly and was always experimenting â“ she showed her work with the traditional Island Arts and Crafts Societyâs annual show both in its usual exhibit and in its novel âModern Roomâ of 1932 as well as later with the B.C. Society of Artists and the annual Jury Shows at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. Uhthoff was a key figure in establishing galleries and organizations that led to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and wrote a weekly column for the Daily Colonist Newspaper.
Edythe Hembroff (1906-1994) Known mainly as a sketching partner and later special consultant of Emily Carr, Edythe Hembroff was also a painter and a writer. (The Untold Story:Emily Carr, Hancock House 1978). Born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Edythe spent most of her young years growing up in Victoria B.C. Trained in painting and drawing by the Island Arts and Crafts Society, Edythe also trained at the California School of Arts and Crafts and the California School of Fine Arts in the San Francisco Bay Area, followed by art study in Paris, France and traveled widely in Europe and England. Upon her return to Canada, she met Emily Carr whom became a good friend and they went on many sketching trips together. She exhibited with the B.C. Society of Artists and the Annual Exhibition of Northwest Artists in Seattle, winning second place in 1930. Edythe and her husband, Frederick Brand, helped promote an appreciation of Carrâs work through exhibitions and instigating the purchase of Carrâs âKispiox Villageâ by the provincial government. During World War II Edythe moved to Ottawa, where she became a translator for POW mail. Edythe married a second time, to Julius Schleicher, and upon retirement, they returned to Victoria. Edythe resumed painting, but her skill at researching and writing came to occupy most of her time. Her main focus was serving as Special Consultant on Emily Carr for the provincial government, writing two books about Carr, organizing a re-creation of the Island Arts and Crafts Societyâs âModern Roomâ 1932 exhibit.
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