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Mary Riter Hamilton: A Western Canadian Artist on the Battlefields of World War I

Gallery 1C03


Book cover featuring black & white photo of woman painting outside in a field with buildings in background

No Man's Land book cover, courtesy University of Manitoba Press

Public talk: Wednesday, November 1, 12:30 p.m.
University of Winnipeg Archives (5th floor of the campus library)


Historian Dr. Kathryn A. Young and art historian Dr. Sarah M. McKinnon will present a talk entitled “Mary Riter Hamilton (1868-1954): A Western Canadian Artist on the Battlefields of World  War I” in conjunction with the launch of their new book No Man’s Land: The Life and Art of Mary Riter Hamilton, published by University of Manitoba Press.

The University of Winnipeg Bookstore will have copies of the No Man’s Land available for purchase and for signing by the authors. Mary Riter Hamilton's painting The Philosopher, part of the University of Winnipeg’s art collection, will be on display at the event.


About Mary Riter Hamilton

What force of will and circumstance drove a woman with a burgeoning art career following years of study in European art schools from a comfortable life to one of hardship and loneliness in the battle zones of France and Belgium following the Great War?

For western Canadian artist Mary Riter Hamilton (1868–1954), art was her life’s passion. Her tale is one of tragedy and adventure, from homestead beginnings, to genteel drawing rooms in Winnipeg, Victoria, and Vancouver, to Berlin and Parisian art schools, to Vimy and Ypres, and finally to illness and poverty in old age. No Man’s Land is the first biographical study of Hamilton, whose work can be found in galleries and art museums throughout Canada.

Young and McKinnon’s meticulous research in unpublished private collections brings to light new correspondence between Hamilton and her friends, revealing the importance of female networks to an artist’s well-being. Her letters from abroad, in particular, bring a woman’s perspective into the immediate post-war period and give voice to trying conditions. Hamilton’s career is situated within the context of her peers Florence Carlyle, Emily Carr, and Sophie Pemberton, with whom she shared a Canadian and European experience.


About the Authors

Kathryn A. Young is a retired assistant professor of History at the University of Manitoba.

Sarah M. McKinnon is a former Vice-President, Academic at OCAD University, a former Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and a former faculty member and Curator at the University of Winnipeg. Currently, she is a consultant in higher education.

Admission is free and everyone is welcome. Wheelchair accessible venue.

For more information contact:
Jennifer Gibson, Director/Curator, Gallery 1C03
1st floor, Centennial Hall, The University of Winnipeg
515 Portage Ave, Winnipeg MB R3B 2E9
Phone: 204.786.9253