Jack Shadbolt, Selportrait, 1933
Jack Shadbolt was born in England in 1909 and settled in Victoria, British Columbia, in 1912. He was influenced by west coast Indian art. In the late 1920s, he met Emily Carr, to whom he would pay homage in a series of Works inspired by her view of West Coast forests. He worked for a time with F.H. Varley in Vancouver. He studied in London in 1937-38 and in Paris in 1938. His studies at New York’s Art Students League in the early 1930s and late 1940s consolidated his attraction to abstraction as well as to Surrealist-inspired automatism that would sustain his lifelong desire « to reconcile nature with abstraction and deliberation with intuition ». He was again in Europe in 1961, painting mostly in Greece. He worked as a war artist and taught at the Vancouver School of Art, retiring in 1966 as one of its most influential and admired teachers. He died in Vancouver in 1998.
Central to Jack Shadbolt’s long and prolific career as an artist was his preoccupation with the cycles of nature, as both a metaphor and a symbol of human experience.
He has painted a number of murals.
In 1956-57 on a Canadian government scholarship he painted on the Côte d’Azur. He won a Guggenheim International Award prize in 1958.
He held his first one-man exhibition in 1936 in Vancouver and had a one man exhibition in New York in 1949. He exhibited at the Sao Paulo Bienal in 1953, the Pittsburgh International in 1955, and the Venice Biennale in 1956.
Source: Anne Newlands, Canadian art from its beginnings to 2000, Firefly book, Canada, 2000; R.H. Hibbard, J.R. Ostiguy, R.H. Hibbard, J.R. Ostiguy, Three hundred years of Canadian art, Ottawa, The National Gallery of Canada