Biography of Mary Evelyn WRINCH

Mary Evelyn Wrinch



Mary Wrinch was born in 1878 in Kirby-le-Soken in England. Wrinch was born the same year as Thomson, but an ocean apart, and her training for painting was far more complete. Thomson was a very late starter as an artist and was basically self-taught, while the English-born Wrinch was studying under George Reid at the Central Ontario School of Art when he was sixteen. She later attended the Grosvenor School of Art in London, England, and had opened her own studio in the Arcade Building on Toronto’s Yonge Street by her early twenties. Reid and Laura Muntz also had studios in the building.

In 1906, Wrinch travelled to France and returned with a large number of small, brilliant Impressionist sketches. Before she left for that European visit, she had specialized in miniature portraits, but the sight of the canvases by Monet, Pissaro, and Sisley that she encountered in Paris converted her to plein air landscape painting. « It was such a revelation being in France at that time, » she recalled later. « Coming into contact with Impressionism was like being let loose with a box of coloured candy. »

Wrinch’s second trip to Europe, in 1912, resulted in the purest Impressionist paintings of her career, spirited, fresh, and brilliant in their sunlit colour. She travelled throughout France and Italy, painting almost every day, and her sketches, while very different in style, possess much of the same immediacy as the a priori panels by Morrice.

Despite the brilliance of her work between 1906 and the early 1920s, Wrinch received criticism from the press for the “modernist” extremes of her northern-Ontario landscapes.

Wrinch continued to paint at Wychwood Park in Toronto and in Northern Ontario until 1928, when she gave up painting to concentrate on colour woodcuts, where her sense of design could have full play. She died in Toronto in 1969.



Wychwood Park in Toronto was the site of many of Wrinch’s most memorable works. Many of her small studies feature parks and flowers. She had first specialized in miniature portraits then in landscape painting.



Wrinch made impressionist sketches in plein air, which possessed immediacy. She used rich, sunlit colours.



She sold four works to the National Gallery of Canada.


Source : Paul Duval, Canadian Impressionism, McCleveland and Stewart, 1990

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