Sunday, August 29, 2010

JACOBINE JONES (1897-1976)

Jacobine Jones was born in England. When she was a child, her Danish-born mother encouraged her and her brother and sister to explore their world. Fortunately, her mother also fostered Jacobine’s spontaneous interest in art. As Natalie Luckyj explains in her book on the artist (see below), her childhood drawings include a happy family of birds with the father leading the flock and the mother at the rear - an indication of Jacobine’s feeling about her family.

Jacobine was educated at the Regent Street Polytechnic in London where she experienced the companionship of a circle of other students also passionate about art, and developed her technical skills in sculpting. In her final year of her studies, she won an award for a stone carving, which was purchased by an art gallery in Glasgow.

In 1932, Jacobine came to Canada for a visit that stretched into more than just a visit. She went camping in northern Ontario with a friend two years after her arrival, an experience that led her to adopt Canada as her home. She became a teacher at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto; there she became the first woman to be chosen as the head of any department - she took on the sculpting department.

Jones’s work was primarily figurative and representational, though she was open to a more abstract approach in later years. She came into her own during a period of time when architectural sculpture was popular; she received many commissions from both corporations and also from government. Her work can be found in private collections, and in such public museums as the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, and the National Gallery of Canada.

Natalie Luckyj “Put on Her Mettle: The Life and Art of Jacobine Jones” (Manotick, Ontario: Penumbra Press, 1999)

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