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Evan Macdonald

A Painter’s Life

Flora Macdonald Spencer; Judith Nasby, editor


Paper 144 pp.

ISBN13: 978-1-55458-048-4

Release Date: May 2008

Online discount: 25%

$32.95  $24.71


Finalist for the 2008 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award in the Art Category


A master draughtsman, artist Evan Macdonald had extraordinary facility as a painter, printmaker, and book illustrator. Born in Guelph, Ontario, in 1905, to one of the city’s founding Scottish families, Macdonald was a young contemporary of the Group of Seven and pursued his practice in Canada during the Great Depression. He joined the Second World War as an artist-soldier. After the war, Macdonald became a professional portraitist, fulfilling commissions from heads of government, industry, and academia. His paintings chronicling the destruction of Guelph’s historical buildings in the 1950s and 60s both celebrate industrial progress and lament the loss of nineteenth-century craftsmanship.

Evan Macdonald: A Painter’s Life is a richly illustrated chronicle of Macdonald’s life and work from the perspective of the artist’s daughter, Flora Macdonald Spencer, whose insightful essay creates a lasting image of a great Canadian artist. The book offers a unique perspective on the history of Guelph as well as commentary on one of the city’s founding families, their Scottish ancestry, and the establishment and evolution of twentieth-century social and cultural ideals.

Co-published with the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre

Raised in Guelph, Ontario, Flora Macdonald Spencer taught art for thirteen years at Hillfield-Strathallan College (Hamilton). Now retired, she works in pastel and teaches drawing.

Editor Judith Nasby is the director of the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, where she oversees one of the most comprehensive sculpture parks in Canada and a permanent art collection of over 4,000 works. She is also an adjunct professor in the School of Fine Art and Music at the University of Guelph.


“The study reflects the commitment of both the art gallery and the university press to significant regional achievement in the arts.... Intimate, personal and affectionate.”

— Robert Reid, Guelph Mercury

Evan Macdonald

Table of Contents

Related interest


Waterloo Region

Related links

Macdonald Stewart Art Centre

Curling on Speed River by Evan Macdonald from The Curling History Blog

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