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Prairie Prestige: How Western Canadian Artists Have Influenced Canadian Art: Home

Prairie Prestige: How Western Canadian Artists Have Influenced Canadian Art

Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald at work on the prairies (UMASC - PC 241, A.09-16, Box 1, Fd. 1, Item 4)

A large number of nationally and internationally renowned artists have come out of western Canada over the years. Names such as Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald, Bertram Brooker, Leo Mol, Arnold O. Brigden, George Swinton, and many others have been recognized not only for their individual talents, but for their influence on other Canadian artists and in the development of the Canadian art scene.  This website will explain how these and other western Canadian artists influenced artists throughout the country and around the world.  It will explain how western Canadian artists have been instrumental in shaping Canada's sterling reputation as a world leader and innovator in art and culture.

Prairie Prestige: How Western Canadian Artists Have Influenced Canadian Art features digitized archival material from the fonds of several prominent western Canadian artists, namely:

  • Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald
  • George Swinton
  • Arnold O. Brigden
  • Elizabeth Maude MacVicar
  • Bertram Brooker
  • Leo Mol
  • Angus Shortt

In addition, the religious work of several Ukrainian-Canadian artists is also showcased.
Digitized photographs, correspondence, diaries, catalogues, sketches, drawings, and audio clips from the archival holdings of these individuals demonstrate the quality of their work and their relevance to the national art scene.  Canadian art is a key component to the cultural mosaic in which we live and the archival records of the artists included in this website vividly emphasize this point.  The records have been digitized from the holdings of the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections, the Winnipeg Art Gallery Archives, and the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Winnipeg Archives. 

Art librarian Liv Valmestad's historical essay places these individuals within the context of the broader Canadian art community and explains the impact of these individuals on the development of art in Canada.  Slavic librarian/archivist James Kominowski's essay focuses on the unique contributions of a select few Ukrainian-Canadian artists, primarily with respect to their religious art work. 

The individuals included in this website are but a few of the more celebrated gifted artists in western Canada.  But there are many more artists that have yet to receive their due.  The Prairie Prestige Wiki will allow users to contribute their own suggestions of Canadian artists who have had a dramatic effect on the Canadian art landscape and their reasons for suggesting these individuals.  The wiki will hopefully lead to some lively discussions that might further illuminate the contributions of Canadian artists, and perhaps initiate further research into the effects of some lesser known Canadian artists.

Read the Essay

View the Digital Collections

Can you identify an unidentified photograph in the digitized material?  Do you have additional information pertinent to an item's description? Have you come across a broken link or a spelling error?  If you have a comment to make regarding this site we would love to hear from you.  Send an email to with the subject line "Prairie Prestige" and let us know what you think.

This project was made possible through the Canadian Culture Online Program of Canadian Heritage, Library and Archives Canada and the Canadian Council of Archives.


A very special thank you to Liv Valmestad for her essay and biographical sketches of the featured artists and James Kominowski for his historical account of Ukrainian-Canadian artists.

University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections

  • Carell Jackimiek
  • Elizabeth-Anne Johnson
  • Evan Johnson
  • Karen Keiller
  • Brett Lougheed
  • Tyyne Petrowski
  • Jonathan Roby
  • Shelley Sweeney

Winnipeg Art Gallery

  • Cathy Collins
  • Kenlyn Collins
  • Josephine Sallis

Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Winnipeg Archives

  • Archbishop Michael Bzdel
  • Barb Kiazyk
  • Margareth Mol
  • Debbie Rattai
  • Gloria Romaniuk
  • Carol Stanwick

Thanks also to Libraries Electronic Technologies and Services (LETS), the Office of Research Services, the Director's Office staff, Christine Bone, and Suzanne Girard for their assistance.