Henrietta Mabel May

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Henrietta Mabel May

1877 - 1971
ARCA BCSA BHG CGP

Mabel May was part of a large family in Montreal, and, although delayed by her family duties, she began her training in 1902 at the Art Association of Montreal, where she studied with William Brymner. In 1912, she traveled to Paris with fellow artist Emily Coonan, with trips to England and Scotland. She returned to Canada in 1913, opening a studio in Montreal. Summers were spent painting at the family cottage in Hudson and she painted with her friends in the Eastern Townships, New England and Baie-Saint-Paul in the Lower St. Lawrence area. She won the AAM's Jessie Dow Award in 1914 and 1918, and in 1915 became member of the Royal Canadian Academy. Hired by the Canadian War Memorials Fund in 1918 to memorialize the war effort, May documented women involved in munitions work. May's early work was influenced by Impressionism.
In 1920, May became a founding member of the Beaver Hall Group in Montreal, and shared a studio with Lilias Torrance Newton at the Beaver Hall Hill space. She exhibited in the two Beaver Hall exhibitions in 1921 and 1922. Her landscapes after 1920 show the influence of the Group of Seven - with a fine understanding of light and atmosphere, and strong forms depicted with confident brush-strokes. Group member A.Y. Jackson was involved with the Beaver Hall Group, and she maintained ties with Jackson and other members of this group such as Newton throughout her life.

May was an active exhibitor, and participated in the Art Association of Montreal's spring exhibitions from 1910 to 1967, and in the exhibitions of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts from 1910 to 1952. She exhibited with the Group of Seven in Toronto in 1928, 1930 and 1931. A founding member of the Canadian Group of Painters in 1933, she also exhibited with them. From 1938 to 1947 she showed her work with a group called Le Caveau. The National Gallery recognized her work early on, acquiring four of her works between 1913 and 1924, followed by more later.

The Depression of the 1930s brought challenges - May's family cottage was sold, and to support herself, she began to teach art classes in 1936 at Elmwood, a private girl's school near Ottawa, staying until 1947. She also taught art classes for children at the National Gallery of Canada from 1937 to 1947.

May also exhibited internationally in group shows, including the influential British Empire Exhibition in Wembley, England in 1924. In 1927 she exhibited at the Musée du Jeu de Paume in Paris, in 1930 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, in 1938 in A Century of Canadian Art at the Tate Gallery in London, in 1939 at the New York World's Fair, 1944 in the Museu Nacional de Belas Artes, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and in 1947 at the Riverside Museum in New York.

In 1948 she returned to Montreal, giving private art lessons until 1950, when she moved to Vancouver to be near her sisters In 1952 she had a solo exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery. She died in Vancouver in 1971.

Heffel 's Top Results
Record Henrietta Mabel May sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   Henrietta Mabel May
Village from the Hill
18 x 22in 45.7 x 55.9cm
circa 1925
oil on canvas

Estimate:  $18,000 - $22,000 CDN
Sold for:   $218,500 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Fine Canadian Art Spring 2008 auction on Thursday, May 22, 2008
Record Henrietta Mabel May sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   Henrietta Mabel May
Near Baie-Saint-Paul, Winter
30 1/4 x 36 1/4in 76.8 x 92.1cm
oil on canvas

Estimate:  $80,000 - $100,000 CDN
Sold for:   $187,200 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Fall 2010 - 2nd Session auction on Thursday, November 25, 2010
Record Henrietta Mabel May sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   Henrietta Mabel May
Afternoon Picnic
14 1/4 x 18 1/4in 36.2 x 46.3cm
circa 1915
oil on canvas

Estimate:  $40,000 - $60,000 CDN
Sold for:   $187,200 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Fall 2010 - 2nd Session auction on Thursday, November 25, 2010
Record Henrietta Mabel May sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   Henrietta Mabel May
Entrance to the Garden
22 x 18in 55.9 x 45.7cm
circa 1915
oil on canvas

Estimate:  $45,000 - $65,000 CDN
Sold for:   $128,700 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Spring 2010 - 2nd Session auction on Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Record Henrietta Mabel May sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   Henrietta Mabel May
Child and Dog
22 x 27in 55.9 x 68.6cm
circa 1915
oil on canvas

Estimate:  $80,000 - $100,000 CDN
Sold for:   $93,600 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Fall 2009 - 2nd Session auction on Thursday, November 26, 2009
Record Henrietta Mabel May sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   Henrietta Mabel May
Two Sisters
22 x 18in 55.9 x 45.7cm
circa 1918
oil on canvas

Estimate:  $55,000 - $75,000 CDN
Sold for:   $88,500 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Spring 2014 - 2nd Session auction on Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Record Henrietta Mabel May sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   Henrietta Mabel May
Old Houses, Baie-Saint-Paul / Untitled (verso)
9 x 12 1/2in 22.9 x 31.7cm
double-sided oil on panel

Estimate:  $20,000 - $25,000 CDN
Sold for:   $49,725 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Fall 2008 - 2nd Session auction on Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Record Henrietta Mabel May sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   Henrietta Mabel May
Cottage with Clothesline
18 x 22in 45.7 x 55.9cm
oil on canvas

Estimate:  $20,000 - $25,000 CDN
Sold for:   $38,025 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Fall 2012 - 2nd Session auction on Thursday, November 22, 2012
Record Henrietta Mabel May sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   Henrietta Mabel May
Happy Valley, on the Road Near Ottawa
22 x 27in 55.9 x 68.6cm
oil on canvas

Estimate:  $25,000 - $35,000 CDN
Sold for:   $38,025 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Fall 2013 - 2nd Session auction on Thursday, November 28, 2013
Record Henrietta Mabel May sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   Henrietta Mabel May
Late Winter, Lower St. Lawrence
22 x 27in 55.9 x 68.6cm
circa 1932
oil on canvas

Estimate:  $30,000 - $40,000 CDN
Sold for:   $32,175 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Spring 2010 - 2nd Session auction on Wednesday, May 26, 2010
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