Art & Artists in Exhibition: Vancouver 1890 - 1950
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Maud Rees Sherman
(incorrectly Maude, Shearman)

October 8 1900 - July 5 1976

Vancouver Sketch Club
B.C. Society of Fine Arts
(Exhibited 1920 - 1961, elected Member 1942, Honorary Secretary 1947-1951)
B.C. Art League (Charter Member 1921)
Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts (Founding Student 1925)
Pioneer Art Students of Vancouver Art School (PASOVAS) (Founding Member)
Vancouver Art School Students Club (Founding Member)
Vancouver Art Gallery (Charter Member, 1932)
Parakontas Studio (1932 - 1934)
Federation of Canadian Artists (Founding Member 1941)


     
L to R: "Me", Portrait of Maud, "Rex & Me"

Maud Rees Sherman was born in Mission City, B.C. in 1900, at the start of the new century, and died in North Vancouver, B.C. in 1976. Her father R.S. Sherman was a prominent Vancouver educator, naturalist, author, and artist. He and his wife Nellie Sage Sherman moved to BC from Ontario in the 1890s. They lived in or around Mission (also known as Mission Junction or Mission City) until 1903 when the family of four (including Maud's older brother Camdon) moved to Vancouver.

  
552 West 7th Ave., c1903-1905, Maud's Daily timetable
from The Diary of Maud Rees Sherman 1907 - 1913, gift of Lars Lehmann

They lived in a variety of rental houses including 552 West 7th Avenue, half a block west of Cambie Street, before they and a number of close relatives settled in the 2200-block West 6th Avenue, becoming some of the earliest settlers in Kitsilano. In 1913 Maud's father completed construction of a new home at 3642 Dundas Street, where they all lived for the rest of their lives.


Family photo, 6th & Arbutus c1905 (Maud sitting on the right)

In 1908 Maud first visited Savary Island, a place she would later illustrate in many paintings, sketches, watercolours, and pen and ink drawings. In 1912 a painting of Maud and her father by Josiah W. MacAdam was exhibited in the B.C. Society of Fine Arts annual exhibition.


Thanksgiving 1913.

Mr. MacAdam was a next door neighbour to the Shermans on Dundas Street, and a teacher under R.S. Sherman at Admiral Seymour School. Maud attended elementary school until about 1912, when her parents took her out of school and provided her with private tuition from MacAdam.


3642 Dundas Street, c 1998

  
Original pen & ink drawings, gift of Mrs. Joan Dendys

In 1919 Maud began illustrating her father's nature stories published in School Days magazine. This was a small pamphlet published by the Vancouver School Board for use in elementary schools as a supplementary reader. Eventually Maud had over eighty of her pen and ink drawings published in the magazine, for a wide variety of topics.

  
January & February 1921 illustrations for The Bug Hunters


Drawing of Mace Point, Savary Island, April 1922


Creatures of a Bygone Age

A 1919 article in the Vancouver Province noted that Maud and her Mother were remaining on Savary Island, while her father and brother, along with Maud's new sister-in-law, who had recently returned from England with Camdon when he returned from the War, were going back to Vancouver. A family story says that Camdon returned to Canada with a pregnant wife, but this news clipping indicates that she may have become pregnant after arriving in Canada, since June Sherman (the baby in question) was born June 23, 1920. In either case, the marriage had not been approved by Maud's mother, and the bride was apparently forced to return to England without the baby, leaving June in Maud's care.

     
Photographic portraits of Maud Sherman courtesy Savary Island Heritage Society

In 1920 Maud received a prize for a landscape watercolor at the Vancouver Exhibition.

     
The Ranch, 1921, Flowers in a Vase, Maud Sherman, gift of Mrs. Joan Dendys

Sherman exhibited a painting titled Sunrise on Savary in the 1920 Annual Exhibition of the B.C. Society of Fine Arts, held at the Vancouver School Board offices on Hamilton Street.

 
The watercolour of Mace Point that got me started on this, and a photograph of the location.

           
Watercolours from the PLACES TO SKETCH series, gift of Mrs. Joan Dendys:
"Port Alberni", (Savary Island), (Mt. Denman, Desolation Sound), (Hastings Exhibition from Dundas Street), "Esquimalt".

In 1922 she and her father went on a sketching expedition led by Thomas Fripp. Maud and her father were charter members of the B.C. Art League when it formed in 1920.

  
"California 1925", Preprinted bookplate

In 1925 Maud went on a train trip to visit her Uncle Thomas Shearman, who was living at the time in California, where he was working on the design for a new telescope at the Santa Clara university. The note below is from a postcard that she sent home from the trip.


Note on a postcard dated "Oregon Feb. 1"

Maud was a member of the first class in the new Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts when it opened in 1925, and wrote a long article titled "Places To Sketch" in the first issue of "The Paint Box", the art school's annual. An example of her first year's artwork was also published in that Paint Box and again in the Prospectus for the 1926-1927 school year.

     
"Admonition", (Mountain scene), Maud Sherman painting

A review of Maud's article was printed in a local newspaper, most likely the Vancouver Province, under the title of "Vancouver Offers Plenty of Material For Art Students." Only the areas in and around Vancouver were noted, not her descriptions of Vancouver Island, the coast, or the Interior.

Another article by Maud, about taking design class from Fred Varley, was published in the second annual issue of The Paint Box. Maud was a founding member of PASOVAS, the Pioneer Students of Vancouver Art School. This was a group formed by those students who had attended the school in its first year and a half of its operation.

An undated published poem by Maud is currently in the collection of the Savary Island Heritage Society. The poem, titled "Vacation, British Columbia" is clearly about Savary Island ("long white beaches"), but it is not known why she would not "be getting any vacation this year...". Another poem, handwritten, is an undated love poem attributed to Maud Sherman, kept in a folder with the Vacation poem. It is not known to have been published, although it is quite possible that it was.

Although Maud attended the art school for its first four years, she did not graduate. It is said that she had been given the care of her niece June, born in 1920, after June's mother (Maud's sister-in-law) had returned to England without her. If so, this would have put Maud in the position of being like a young mother with a child, trying to go to school full-time, which might have made attendance difficult. It is also true that Maud did not really need to get a Diploma in order to make her career in art. In addition to her many illustrations published in School Days magazine, since 1925 she had been illustrating school books written by her father and others, published by J.M. Dent and Sons in Canada and England. These books became authorized texts in various provincial school systems, and widely distributed. She also illustrated a series called "Nature and Language Workbooks", exercise books for elementary school children, published by Dent.

Maud's father was one of the developers of Savary Island as a vacation resort in 1910, and she traveled there as early as 1908. She spent many summers on the island, and created a large number of paintings there. Maud exhibited her paintings extensively in Vancouver for over forty years, in both juried and open exhibitions. One of her paintings was selected from the juried Fifth B.C. Artists exhibition to go to an exhibition in Chilliwack. Others were selected for the All-Canadian Exhibition of 1932, and the B.C. Society of Fine Arts 40th and 50th Annual Retrospective exhibitions.

Although her classes under Varley had given her a good look at his bold style and new ways of painting, Maud continued to paint traditional landscapes, seascapes, and simple scenes around the home and neighbourhood, and from her travels around south-west British Columbia. Her flights of fancy extended to dinosaurs roaming around Kitsilano Point, and flowery meadows with larks singing and rainbows in the sky. Maud also carved and painted wooden jewellry for years, of such subjects as wolves, birds, and other animals.

     
Maud at Parakontas, Christmas at 3642 Dundas Street

In 1931 Maud's father R.S. Sherman published an article on Savary Island in Museum and Art Notes. The article included a pen and ink drawing by Maud of an arbutus tree on the island.


(arbutus tree, Savary Island), Museum and Art Notes, March 1931

Maud submitted two watercolours to the VAG's 1932 All Canadian Exhibition. One was accepted, and Estero Peak was not. The All Canadian was the biggest show in the gallery's very short history. A collection of work from across Canada was displayed alongside a curated collection of work by BC artists. Having work in that show would have been a highlight of her career. Maud continued her success in 1932 with seven artworks included in the first PASOVAS exhibition at the VAG, and then three artworks accepted into the first annual BC Artists exhibition.

A letter from A.S. Grigsby, Business Manager of the Vancouver Art Gallery, dated October 20, 1933, was sent to Maud noting that her painting "House in the Valley" was sold from the 2nd Annual BC Artists exhibition. Mr. F.W. Rudolph purchased the painting for $30.00. The letter was addressed to Maud at 1087 Bute Street.

She showed work in the B.C. Artists Christmas exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1933.

     
Greeting cards: Foul Bay, Hotel Vancouver, Siwash Rock

From at least 1933 to 1935 Maud had a studio in the West End of Vancouver, at 1087 Bute Street, in a house known as "Parakontas" (spelling varies) owned by Beatrice Lennie's grandfather. The large old West End house was divided up into a number of other studios. Other artists working there at that time included Fred Varley, Jock MacDonald, Plato von Ustinov, and Vera Weatherbie. It would have been a very exciting time to be in that studio, as those artists were working at or attending the new B.C. College of Arts Ltd. just a few blocks away on Georgia Street.


"Maisie at Work" (Maisie Robertson)

  
Greeting cards: Stanley Park

In 1939 Sherman's watercolour painting "Addudals, Texada Island" in the 8th Annual B.C. Artists exhibition was selected (with 39 other works from the show) to be toured in the Maritime Provinces under the auspices of the Maritime Art Association.

During World War II the Shermans took a boarder into their house at 3642 Dundas Street - photographer Stuart Thomson. Maud's niece June had been hired as Thomson's assistant in 1939, and was later made his business partner. Thomson had arrived in Vancouver from Australia in 1910, and over the next fifty years took an estimated 50,000 pictures of Vancouver. Many of these pictures are on file at the Vancouver City Archives, the Vancouver Public Library North-West Room, and at the North Vancouver City Archives. A few of his personal photographs of the Sherman family at Christmas and New Year's parties remain in private collections.

  
A picnic, Group photo at 3642 Dundas Street

Maud exhibited with the B.C. Society of Fine Arts in many of their annual exhibitions, including 1930, 1942, 1943, and 1949.

     

She donated artwork to an FCA fundraising exhibition for the Canadian Red Cross at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1942.

Sherman was on a list titled "Leading Vancouver Artists," provided to the Labour Arts Guild on April 10, 1946 by the Vancouver Art Gallery to assist in the Guild's call for entries to the second annual B.C. At Work exhibition.

Maud remained active in the B.C. Society of Fine Arts almost until it closed in 1967, her own art-making brought to a halt just a few years earlier by a crippling disease that left her unable to hold a paintbrush. She died in 1976, in a care home in North Vancouver. She was cremated, but the disposition of those ashes is not known - Maud herself now having disappeared almost as completely as her history. She never married, had no known children, and both of her brother's children died without issue. That whole part of their family tree disappeared except for a few remaining family photographs, and the paintings and illustrations that are the heritage from Maud's sixty years of artistry in Vancouver and British Columbia.


Exhibitions

SOLO EXHIBITIONS
DATE EXHIBITION LOCATION
2005 March 21 - June 24 Places to Sketch (8 paintings) Daily Grind Cafe, Vancouver
2009 Nov. 16 - 2010 Jan. 10 Miniatures, curated by Burnaby Art Gallery Prittie Library, Burnaby

GROUP EXHIBITIONS
DATE EXHIBITION ARTWORK
1920 June Vancouver Sketch Club   Monthly Exhibition (see clipping)
1920 September Vancouver Exhibition   Vancouver Sketch Club (see clipping)
1920 September 18 - 25 BCSFA   12th Annual Exhibition Port Alberni
Sunrise On Savary
1920 October 2 - ? Vancouver Sketch Club   Monthly Exhibition (watercolour landscape)
(watercolour landscape)
1927 June VSDAA   2nd Annual Student Exhibition (no information available)
1930 May 31 - June 14 BCSFA   Spring Exhibition The Witch Tree
The Eagle's Nest
1930 Nov. 27 - Dec. 7 PASOVAS   PASOVAS Art Club Exhibition Trout Pool, Phillips River
Mission Cliff Gardens, California
The Garden In Winter
Upcoast Fishing Stream
Euclataws
Dawn At Phillips River
Mouth of Phillips River
Suburbs In Winter
Sketch "Kitsilano Beach"
Sketch "Ambleside Slough"
Book Illustrations of Fish
Book Illustrations of Fish
Book Illustrations of Animals
Windblown Firs
1932 May - June VAG   All Canadian Exhibition Dawn at Phillips River
1932 Sept. 17 - 30 PASOVAS   Club Exhibition Illustration for Book
Johnny Mac's House, Philips River
Evening, Jervis Inlet
The Yuculta
Sunset
On the Beach
Winter Day
1932 Oct. 5 - 30 VAG   B.C. Artists 1st Annual Turn of the Tide, Yuculta
The Pool, Phillips River
Witch Trees
1933 Sept. 22 - Oct. 15 VAG   B.C. Artists 2nd Annual The House in the Valley
Wind Blown Firs
1933 Dec. 1 - 17 VAG   B.C. Artists Christmas Exhibition Jervis Inlet
Rocky Bay
1934 Sept. 21 - Oct. 14 VAG   B.C. Artists 3rd Annual Spring Song
Frederic Arm
1934 Nov. 2 - Nov. 18 PASOVAS    Annual Exhibition (watercolours, book illustrations)
1934 Dec. 4 - Dec. 16 VAG   B.C. Artists Christmas Exhibition Jim and Jane
Spring Song
1935 Sept. 20 - Oct. 13 VAG   B.C. Artists 4th Annual Sunday Afternoon
Copper, Pewter and Cloisonne
Humming Birds
Comox Street in Spring
Under the Vine Maples
1936 Feb. 21 - Mar. 5 PASOVAS    Annual Exhibition Sea Gulls
Dragonflies
1936 Sept. 18 - Oct. 11 VAG   B.C. Artists 5th Annual The Studio Window
Still Life
Under the Maples
1936 Oct. 15 - 20 VAG   B.C. Artists Chilliwack Exhibition The Studio Window
1938 Sept. 16 - Oct. 9 VAG   B.C. Artists 7th Annual Jervis Inlet
1939 Sept. 15 - Oct. 8 VAG   B.C. Artists 8th Annual Near Cultus Lake
The Golden Ears
Aduddal's, Texada Island
1939 Oct. - ? B.C. Artists 8th Annual Selections Aduddal's, Texada Island
(Toured Maritime Provinces)
1940 Sept. 20 - Oct. 13 VAG   B.C. Artists 9th Annual Spring in the Woods
1941 Sept. 26 - Oct. 19 VAG   B.C. Artists 10th Annual Locarno
On the Island
1942 May 15 - 31 BCSFA   32nd Annual Morning
Sea Loot
1942 Sept. 25 - Oct. 18 VAG   B.C. Artists 11th Annual High on a Windy Hill
1942 Nov. 3 - 15 FCA   Red Cross Benefit (no information available)
1943 May 15 - June 6 BCSFA   33rd Annual Forest Moment
1943 Sept. 25 - Oct. 20 VAG   B.C. Artists 12th Annual By the Creek
By the Silvery Sea
1944 May 13 - June 4 BCSFA 34th Annual The Creekmouth, Gillies Bay
On Texada
The House by the Sea
The House in the Grove
1945 May 18 - June 10 BCSFA   35th Annual The Veterans
Rampikes
1946 July 2 - 28 VAG   Jubilee Exhibition Sea Loot
1947 May 9 - June 1 BCSFA   37th Annual Golf at Savary
1950 April 25 - May 14 BCSA   40th Annual Spring in the Woods
Trees on Savary
1951 April 24 - May 13 BCSFA 41st Annual Edge of the Cliffs
1954 May 25 - June 13 BCSFA 44th Annual From Indian River
1956 Feb. 26 - March 18 BCSFA 46th Annual Secret Lagoon
1957 March 5 - 24 BCSFA 47th Annual Out Back
1958 Feb. 4 - 22 BCSFA 48th Annual Channel Markers
1960 May 22 - June 12 BCSFA 50th Annual South Shore, Savary
Arbutus Grove
1961 May 10 - 28 BCSFA 51st Annual Abandoned Farm
2000 ECIAD   Years Ahead of its Time Wallpaper design

References

PLACES TO SKETCH
      "The Paint Box", Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts Annual, Spring 1926

COMPOSITION
      "The Paint Box", Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts Annual, Spring 1928

MUSEUM AND ART NOTES, Vol. VI, No. 1
      March 1931; 42 pages, illustrated black and white
      Published by the Art, Historical and Scientific Association of Vancouver
      Includes article by R.S. Sherman on Savary Island
      Pen & ink illustration by Maud Rees Sherman on page 12.

WHO'S WHO IN NORTHWEST ART (refer to WWNA41)
      Lists Maud Sherman as Secretary of PASOVAS 1940, address 1492 Harwood Street.

ARTISTS IN CANADA 1982 - UNION LIST OF ARTISTS' FILES (refer to AIC82)

BRITISH COLUMBIA WOMEN ARTISTS 1885-1985 (refer to AGGV85)

SUNNY SANDY SAVARY: A History of Savary Island 1792-1992 by Ian Kennedy
      1992, Kennell Publishing, Vancouver; ISBN 0-9696291-0-9
      188 pages, paperback, illustrated black & white; index, bibliography
      Includes references to Maud Sherman, R.S. Sherman, the Herchmer family,
           Frankie Keefer, Helen Griffin, visiting artists, art school students & staff.

ARTISTS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST - A Biographical Dictionary, 1600s - 1970
      1993, by Maria Sharylen, published by McFarland
      ISBN 0-89950-797-2; includes extensive 10 page index of groups and venues
      Listing for Maud Sherman taken from Who's Who in Northwest Art

VANCOUVER ARTIST: Maud Sherman
      1999 January; by Michael Clark, Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design.
      Visions newsletter, Volume 5 Issue 2, page 6.
      One page biography with 3 illustrations of her work.

STORMY WEATHER
      1998; Maria Tippet, McLelland and Stewart, ISBN 0-7710-8524-9
      See references pages 164 and 165 (mis-attribution as man).

LOOKING FOR MAUD, by Gary Sim, Sim Publishing
      Unpublished narrative biography of the artist
      Approx. 200 pages, illustrated

DAILY GRIND EXHIBITIONS (refer to DG05/DG07/DG16)

MAGNETIC ISLE - Gladys Bloomfield's Savary
     2005; ISBN 0-9739209-0-4; 146 pages, illustrated in black and white
     Edited by Conde Landale; published by Savary Island Heritage Society
     Includes references to R.S. Sherman, Maud Rees Sherman, Laurencia Herchmer.

THE FECKLESS COLLECTION (refer to FECK18)

GREATER VANCOUVER ART GALLERIES 1954-2020 (refer to GVAG20)
     2 references to Sherman.

CITY & PROVINCIAL DIRECTORIES 1932-34 (refer to DIR)

B.C. VITAL STATISTICS ON-LINE (refer to BCVS)

Clippings

"A water colour by Miss Maud Sherman was in charge of Miss Frances Keefer. This was afterwards won by Mrs. G.J. Ashworth... ...in the evening a fancy dress ball was held in the pavilion, the Savary Island orchestra providing music for the dancers... ...The costumes were particularly well done and becoming. Among those in fancy dress were the following: ... Miss Maud Sherman, flower girl..."
      From "Savary Island" (fundraiser for the French Red Cross)
      Vancouver Province, August 10, 1918

"Mr. R.S. Shearman (sic) with his son and daughter-in-law have returned to Vancouver. Mrs. Shearman and Miss Maud will remain for some time on the island."
      From "Savary Island"
      Vancouver Province, September 5, 1919

"The poetic side of her subjects appeals very stongly to Miss Maud Sherman."
      From "In the World of Art"
      Western Woman's Weekly, June 5, 1920

"...and Miss Maud Sherman carried off first prize for landscape in water colors."
      From "Artists and Their Doings"
      Western Woman's Weekly, September 18, 1920

"Miss Maud Sherman had two water color landscapes, both of which were excellent in colour and drawing."
      From "Artists and Their Doings"
      Western Woman's Weekly, October 9, 1920

"... and Miss Winnifred Shearman and Miss Maud Shearman (sic) suitably rewarded the efforts of those who tried their luck at fishing."
      From "Annual Carnival at Savary Island Splendid Success"
      ( unknown ), August 9, 1921

"A fishing pond, run by Miss Winnie Shearman and Miss Maud Shearman (sic), proved to be a huge delight to young and old alike and many were the wonderful bargains "fished" up for the modest sum of ten cents."
      From "Savary Island"
      ( unknown ), ?, 1921

"The party consisted of Mr. R. Sherman and Miss Sherman..."
      From "Sketching Trip Enjoyed"
      Western Woman's Weekly, July 29, 1922

"In an article called "Places To Sketch," in "The Paint Box," the first annual publication of the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts, M. Sherman has painted several word pictures of Vancouver and environs: ... (continues)"
      From "Vancouver Offers Plenty of Material For Art Students"
      Vancouver Province (?) 1926

"Many other well-known artists are represented, including ... Maud Sherman ... "
      From "Bargains in Art"
      Vancouver Sun, December 1, 1933

"... while Maud Sherman is represented by small black and white drawings of animals" ...
      From "Pasovas Club Has Splendid Annual Show"
      Vancouver Province, November 6, 1934

"Margaret Williams, Maud Shearman (sic), and Lilias Farley are well represented in the show, the latter both in the fine art and handicrafts sections. Apart from her original water colors, Miss Shearman shows some of her animal book illustrations."
      From "Pasovas Art Show"
      Vancouver Sun, November 6, 1934

"... Maud Sherman ... are all represented."
      From "PASOVAS EXHIBIT - Pioneer Art Students' Show" by (unknown)
      Daily Province, February 21 1936

"Margaret Williams, Irene Hoffar Reid, Maud Sherman, and others, attain that effect which contrasting colors afford, the last named in "Sea Gulls" and "Dragon Flies" offering something distinctive in treatment of familiar objects." (continues)
      From "PASOVAS CLUB - Annual Display on View at Art Gallery" by (unknown)
      News-Herald, February 1936

"Eventually we found the studio in a sunny corner, and Maisie Robertson the carver in wood. She shares a studio with Maude (sic) Sherman, already well known for her oils and water colors."
      From "GRADUATES IN ART" by Cintra
      (unknown newspaper), April 25, 1936

"Artists represented in the group comprise the following ... Maud Sherman ... (continues)
      From "Maritime Art Association"
      Vancouver Art Gallery Bulletin, November (?), 1939

" ... together with oil and watercolour paintings by ... Maud Sherman ... all contribute much to this extraordinary show."
      From "B.C. Society of Fine Arts Display Sets New High Mark," by Palette
      Vancouver Daily Province, May 16, 1942

"Well-known Vancouver artists recently elected (BCSFA) members include ... Maud Sherman ..."
      From "B.C. Artists' Display To Calgary For Exhibition," by Palette
      Vancouver Daily Province, May-June 1942

"Among those contibuting paintings and drawings are: ... Maud Sherman ... "
      From "Noted Artists Offer Paintings For Red Cross"
      Vancouver Daily Province (presumed), November 1942

"Other artists showing creditable work are ... Maud Sherman ..."
      From "Notable Exhibits of Artists' Work" by Mildred Valley Thornton
      Vancouver Sun (presumed), May 1944

"Gazing at J.W.G. Macdonald's painting ... are: ... Miss Maud Sherman ... "
      from "For and about WOMEN"
      Vancouver Daily Province, April 22, 1950


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