Mary Dignam


Mary Dignam

Mary Dignam (1857–1938), born Mary Ella Williams, was a Canadian painter best remembered as a pioneer activist for women artists.

Mary Dignam

Williams was born in Port Burwell, Ontario, Canada and studied art at the Western School of Art and Design in London, Ontario. In 1886 she went to New York City to further her training at the Art Students League followed by time in Paris, France at the artist's workshop run by Raphaël Collin (1850–1916) and Luc-Olivier Merson (1846–1920).

Her paintings were primarily in floral and landscape subjects and were eventually exhibited in Canada and abroad. However, she was a tireless worker for female artists and was a founding member and the first President of the Toronto based Women's Art Association of Canada (WAAC). She also helped establish the International Society of Women Painters and Sculptors with branches in London, Paris, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Melbourne, Australia. In 1900, she helped organize the first all-female, international art exhibition at the Grafton Gallery in London.

Dignam was hired by Moulton College in Toronto to establish and lead its art department.

She died in 1938 at the age of 78 in Toronto, Ontario.

References


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