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Housser, Yvonne McKague
Datura Datura
1942 1942

In her landscapes of the late 1920s and 1930s, Yvonne McKague Housser took hold of pervasive Group of Seven iconography and made it her own. The mining town of Cobalt, Ontario, and the north shore of Lake Superior became signature locales, upon which she made her mark with grand but inhabited landscapes.

In “Datura,” she decisively moves away from that influence. The poisonous perennial fills the picture plane, enforcing shallow space and pattern focus. Ultimately the leaves not the blooms command attention with their variegated capture of light. Housser reveals interest in modernist close-ups of flowers and foliage, as well as perhaps fascination with American artist Georgia O’Keeffe. Soon after painting “Datura,” she saw the 1946 O’Keeffe retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, and wrote in her journal, “Outside of Emily Carr I think I respond to O’Keeffe more than any other women painters and for entirely different reasons. The beauty she elicits is rare–or rarified, most canvases an experience that is hard to express, not of the intellect alone and yet not emotional in the way much of Emily Carr’s work is. One gets an aesthetic and poetic satisfaction. They are austere but deeply felt.”

Housser exhibited “Datura” in 1942 with the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, the year she became an associate member. In 1950, she was elected full member–only the fourth woman artist (after Charlotte Schreiber, Marion Long and Lilias Torrance Newton) since the Academy’s establishment in 1880.

 
Housser, Yvonne McKague
Toronto ON 1897-Toronto ON 1996 Toronto ON 1897-Toronto ON 1996
Datura Datura
1942 1942
Oil on Masonite Oil on Masonite
50.4 x 45.4 cm
Purchase, Donald Murray Shepherd Bequest Fund, 2017 Purchase, Donald Murray Shepherd Bequest Fund, 2017
60-015

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