TABLE OF CONTENTS

Collection Summary

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content

Organization of the Collection

Index Terms

Administrative Information 

Contact Information

Series Level Descriptions

1 - Jock Macdonald scrapbook: 1917-1962. 

2 - Ontario College of Art and Design: 1955-1960. 

3 - Personal documents: 1897-1960. 

4 - Slides: ca. 1950-1960. 

5 - Artist correspondence: 1937-1942. 

Box List

SERIES 1 - Jock Macdonald scrapbook 

SERIES 2 - Ontario College of Art and Design 

SERIES 3 - Personal documents 

SERIES 4 - Slides 

SERIES 5 - Artist correspondence 

National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives

Jock Macdonald fonds:

Finding Aid 



Collection Summary

Title: Jock Macdonald fonds. 
Dates: – 1897-1962. 
Quantity:  – 9.5 cm of textual records, 222 photographs: b&w and col., and 1 medal. 

Biographical Sketch

James Williamson Galloway (Jock) Macdonald was born in Thurso, Scotland, in 1897. Following four years of military service during World War I, Macdonald enrolled at the Edinburgh College of Art, where he studied textiles, commercial advertising, and woodcarving under Charles Paine and John Platt. After receiving his diploma in 1922, Macdonald found employment as a designer at Morton Sundour Fabrics Limited and beginning in 1925, held the position of Head of Design at the School of Art, Lincoln, England. In 1927 Macdonald immigrated to Canada to become head of design and instructor in commercial advertising at the newly-established Vancouver Art School of Decorative and Applied Arts. Soon after assuming his new post Macdonald became close friends with Frederick Varley (1881-1969), head of the school's drawing and painting department.

In 1933 Macdonald and Varley founded the British Columbia College of Art in Vancouver. The school struggled financially from the start because of the Depression and was dissolved in 1935. Following its closure, Macdonald moved with his wife Barbara and daughter Fiona to Friendly Cove, Nootka Sound, a remote area of Vancouver Island. He remained in there until November 1936, when he returned with his family to Vancouver. In Vancouver Macdonald worked as an art teacher and also continued to paint, producing in 1937 the first of his "modalities," or abstract renderings of natural phenomena. In the early 1940s he began to devote more time to painting in watercolour, creating a series of small abstract works he called "automatics." By the latter half of the 1940s, Macdonald began to apply the approach he had adopted for his automatics to large-scale oil paintings.

Jock Macdonald was appointed director of the Art Department at the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art in Calgary in 1946 and the following year he moved to Toronto to become an instructor of drawing and painting at the Ontario College of Art. Macdonald continued to paint throughout this period and in 1953 he helped found Painters Eleven, a group dedicated to non-objective painting. The group's first exhibition was held in February 1954 at the Roberts Gallery in Toronto. They received critical acclaim in the United States in 1956, when they exhibited with the American Abstract Artists group at the Riverside Museum in New York. A second major Toronto exhibition of the group's work was held in 1958 at the Park Gallery. Macdonald continued to teach and paint in Toronto until his death in December 1960.

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Scope and Content

The fonds consists of a scrapbook containing clippings, correspondence, and photographs related to Macdonald's career; personal documents, including Macdonald's birth and baptism certificates; a small watercolour painted by Macdonald when he was sixteen years of age; photographs of Macdonald, his family and friends; attendance books for Macdonald's classes at the Ontario College of Art and Design; correspondence; including letters to Macdonald from Emily Carr (1871-1945) and A.Y. Jackson (1882-1974); newspaper clippings; and slides. The slides mainly show paintings by Macdonald.

Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of fonds.
Immediate source of acquisition: The material collected while Macdonald was at the Ontario College of Art and Design, including attendance books, was donated directly to the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives by George Hulme, executor of Macdonald's estate. The Jock Macdonald scrapbook was donated by Julie Varley. A second accrual consisting of correspondence, photographs, other personal items, and slides were purchased from Fiona Macdonald, daughter of the artist, in 2004 and 2007. A three accrual consisting of correspondence was donated by Joyce Zemans in 2008.
Terms governing use and reproduction: Permission to reproduce or publish material from the Jock Macdonald fonds must be obtained from the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives.
Physical description: Includes 37 b&w photographs and 185 colour slides.
Language: Text in English.
Finding aids: Series level descriptions and box list available.
Related material: There are several paintings by Jock Macdonald in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada.

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Organization of the Collection

This collection is organized into 5 series.
Series 1 - Jock Macdonald scrapbook, 1917-1962.
Series 2 - Ontario College of Art and Design, 1955-1960.
Series 3 - Personal documents, 1897-1960.
Series 4 - Slides, ca. 1950-1960.
Series 5 - Artist correspondence, 1937-1942.

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Index Terms

Names:
Carr, Emily, 1871-1945
Jackson, A.Y., 1882-1974
Macdonald, Jock, 1897-1960
Schofield, John, 1883-1971
Subjects:
Art -- Canada
Art -- History -- 20th century
Document Types:
Correspondence.
Medals.
Photographs.
Scrapbooks.
Slides.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Title of item], Jock Macdonald fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives.

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Contact Information

Cyndie Campbell
Head, Archives, Documentation and Visual Resources
Library and Archives
National Gallery of Canada
380 Sussex Drive
P.O. Box 427, Station A
Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 9N4
 
T 613-990-0597
F 613-990-9818
 
ccampbel@gallery.ca 


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Series Level Descriptions

 

Jock Macdonald scrapbook. – 1917-1962. – 1 scrapbook. 

Series consists of a scrapbook of Jock Macdonald's career compiled by Barbara Macdonald. Included are newspaper clippings; 5 photographs of Macdonald; 18 photographs and 4 transparencies of works by Macdonald; a handwritten list of works by Macdonald; and correspondence addressed to Macdonald. Correspondence mainly regards the exhibition and purchase of Macdonald's work. The scrapbook also contains 7 photographs, newspaper clippings, invitations, and other printed ephemera related to the BC College of Art. 
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Language: Text is in English.
Finding aids: Box list available.

See Box List for this Series

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Ontario College of Art and Design. – ca. 1955-1960. – 7.5 cm of textual records. 

Series consists of 5 attendance books (entitled Ontario Department of Education, Daily Register for Public and Separate Schools) spanning the years 1955-1960. The books contain class lists, attendance records, and grades for students who attended Macdonald's drawing and painting classes at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD). A note from September 1960 requesting that Macdonald add a student to his roster is inserted in the book marked "1959-1960". The series also includes a folder containing brochures, correspondence, an exhibition catalogue, and class lists gathered by Macdonald during his time at OCAD.  
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Language: Text is in English.
Finding aids: Box list available.

See Box List for this Series

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Personal documents. – ca. 1897-1960. – 1 cm of textual records, 14 photographs, and 1 medal. 

Series includes family photographs, Macdonald's birth and baptism certificates, an army discharge document from 1919, six letters written by Macdonald, one letter written by Macdonald's wife Barbara, and a Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal. The photographs were taken at various stages of Macdonald's life. Included are two images showing Macdonald as a child, a photograph of Macdonald taken during his time in Lincoln, England, and a photograph of Macdonald and A.Y. Jackson from the early 1940s. The earliest of the letters in the series was written by Macdonald in 1926 to his father's cousin, William Sutherland MacDonald, and discusses his arrival in Canada and his appointment to the Vancouver Art School of Decorative and Applied Arts. A letter from 1935 to his cousin Duncan MacTavish was written shortly after Macdonald and his family moved to Nootka, B.C. Additional letters are addressed to Macdonald's daughter Fiona. Among these is a letter from November 1957, in which he comments on a Painters Eleven exhibition at the Park Gallery, Toronto. The series also includes a small watercolour sketch by MacDonald from 1913, two Christmas cards designed by MacDonald, three Toronto newspaper reviews of a MacDonald retrospective at the Art Gallery of Ontario in May 1960, and three articles from Toronto newspapers noting MacDonald's untimely death in December 1960.  
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Finding aids: Box list available.

See Box List for this Series

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Slides. – ca. 1950-1960. – 181 slides. 

Series consists of 181 colour slides that mainly show paintings by Jock Macdonald and installation views. Approximately forty of the slides are identified by title. The slides show early landscapes as well as later abstract works. The latest work depicted dates from 1960, the year of Macdonald's death. 
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Finding aids: Box list available.

See Box List for this Series

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Artist correspondence. – ca. 1937-1942. – 0.5 cm of textual records. 

Series consists of seven letters (1937-1942) from Emily Carr to Macdonald; three letters and one Christmas card (1938-1942) from A.Y. Jackson; and one letter (1838) from John Schofield (1883-1971), chief architect of Canadian National Railways. Letters from Carr and Jackson contain numerous references to art and artists. The letter from Schofield refers to Macdonald's murals for the new Hotel Vancouver. The series also contains one Christmas card executed in watercolour and signed "Jock MacDonald". 
Source of supplied title proper: Title based on contents of series.
Finding aids: Box list available.

See Box List for this Series

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Detailed Description of the Collection


Box List

Series 1 - Jock Macdonald scrapbook 

Box Folder
Box 1 Jock Macdonald scrapbook

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Series 2 - Ontario College of Art and Design 

Box Folder
Box 2 File 1 Daily attendance book, vol. 1
File 2 Daily attendance book, vol. 2
File 3 Daily attendance book, vol. 3
File 4 Daily attendance book, vol. 4
File 5 Daily attendance book, vol. 5
File 6 Clippings, letters, brochures, and class lists

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Series 3 - Personal documents 

Box Folder
Box 2 File 7 Personal documents
File 8 Photographs
File 9 Letters
Box 3 Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal

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Series 4 - Slides 

Box Folder
Box 4 File 1 Slides, vol. 1
File 2 Slides, vol. 2

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Series 5 - Artist correspondence 

Box Folder
Box 4 File 3 Correspondence with artists
File 4 Jock Macdonald watercolour

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