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Canada House Gallery
Updated on Sept 19, 2014 201 Bear Street Banff, AB T1L 1B5 info@canadahouse.com 1-800-419-1298
 
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Alex Janvier
RCA, CM, LLD
2009 YouTube video

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Alex Janvier


RCA, CM, LLD

Born of Dene Suline and Saulteaux descent in 1935, Alex Janvier was raised in the nurturing care of his family until the age of eight. At this age, the young Alex was uprooted from his home and sent to the Blue Quills Indian Residential School near St. Paul, Alberta, Canada. Although Janvier speaks of having a creative instinct from as far back as he can remember, it was at the residential school that he was given the tools to create his first paintings. Alex credits his private tutoring in the summer of 1950, from Carlo Altenberg, with teaching him important artistic basics in respect to draftsmanship, dynamics of positive and negative spatial relationships and mastery of color. Unlike many aboriginal artists of his time, Janvier received formal art training from the Alberta College of Art in Calgary, Canada, and graduated with honors in 1960. Immediately after graduation, Janvier took up an opportunity to instruct art at the University of Alberta.

While Alex recognizes the artists Wassily Kandinsky (Russian) and Paul Klee (Swiss) as influences, his style is unique. A March 2010 exhibition “I Love My Line” eloquently sums up, in Alex’s own words, a lifetime of Original Works of Art with his fine flowing lines. Commonly referred to as “Signature Style” these paintings are only recognizable as ‘a Janvier’. Many of his masterpieces involve an eloquent blend of both abstract and representational images with bright, often symbolic colors. As a First Nations person emerging from a history of oppression and many struggles for cultural empowerment, Janvier paints both the challenges and celebrations that he has encountered in his lifetime. Alex proudly credits the beadwork and birch bark basketry of his mother as influencing his art.

As a member of the commonly referred to “Indian Group of Seven,” Janvier is one of the significant pioneering aboriginal artists in Canada, and as such has influenced many generations of aboriginal artists. By virtue of his art, Alex Janvier was selected to represent Canada in a Canadian/Chinese Cultural Exchange in 1985. When he returned home Alex was inspired by the beautiful gardens in Beijing to create “Liyan Gardens”. Although he has completed several murals nationally, Janvier speaks of the 450 meter squared dome entitled “Morning Star” at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, as a major highlight in his career. Another very significant commission “Beaver Hills”, painted in 1975, is at Strathcona County Hall, Sherwood Park, Alberta. Alex is honoured to be creating a new mural for the Library Balconies in the upcoming Community Center in 2010; it will be adjacent to the Strathcona County Hall. Alex Janvier’s first mural was painted at the Indian Pavilion at Expo 1967. In January 2004, one of Janvier’s original paintings was displayed in Paris, France at the Canadian Forum on Cultural Enterprise.

In recognition of his success, in 2008 Alex Janvier received two honorary Doctorates of Laws from Canadian Universities, was presented the Governor General’s Award of Visual and Media Arts, and was awarded the Marion Nicoll Visual Arts Award. Alex is a recognized member of both the Order of Canada and the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts. He has also earned three prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards from the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, the Tribal Chiefs Institute, and Cold Lake First Nations. In 2010 Alex will be invested into the Alberta Order of Excellence, the highest provincial honour for Alberta.

Janvier’s passion and natural talent for creative expression remains strong to this day. In 2003, the Janvier family opened a gallery in the City of Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada and www.alexjanvier.com was launched in 2004. Although Alex is known internationally as an artist and muralist, he has a very humble approach to life. He is grateful to be able to paint full time for it is what he loves to do. His paintings are full of culturally significant themes and history, sometimes recording the pristine beauty of our Mother Earth. The magnitude of spirituality in his paintings will keep his art alive for centuries to come.


Alex Janvier
RCA, CM, LLD



Affiliations
Royal Canadian Academy



Awards
2013 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
2012 Honorary Doctorate in Indigenous Arts From Blue Quills First Nations College, Alberta
2011 Board of Governors' Alumni Award of Excellence
2010 Alberta Order of Excellence
2009 Named one of Alberta's Most Influential People, Alberta Venture Magazine
2008 Governor General's Award, Visual and Media Arts
2008 Honorary Doctorate of Laws, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB
2008 Honorary Doctorate of Laws, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB
2008 AFA Award - Marion Nicholl Visual and Media Arts
2007 Order of Canada, Member
2005 Province of Alberta Centennial Medal for Outstanding Service to the people
2002 National Aboriginal Lifetime Achievement Award
2001 Cold Lake First Nations Lifetime Achievement Award
2001 Tribal Chiefs Institute Lifetime Achievement Award
1992 Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, member
1985 Canada/China Cross Cultural Exchange Tour


Collections
Alberta Art Foundation, Edmonton, AB
Alberta Indian Arts and Crafts Society, Edmonton, AB
AMACO Canada Ltd, Calgary, AB
Canada Council Art Bank, Hull, QC
Canadian Museum of Civilization, Hull, QC
Cinader Collection, Toronto, ON
City of Edmonton, Edmonton, AB
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ottawa, ON
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Ottawa, ON
Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, AB
Edmonton Public School Board, Edmonton, AB
Esso Oil Resources, Calgary, AB
Glenbow Museum, Calgary, AB
Government of Alberta
Government of Alberta, Edmonton, AB
Gulf Oil Resources, Calgary, AB
McMichael Canadian Collection, Kleinburg, ON
Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, SK
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, QC
Museum of Man, Hull, QC
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON
Petro-Canada, Calgary, AB
Shell Canada, Calgary, AB
The Canada Council Art Bank, Hull, QC
The Late Helen E Band Collection, Toronto, ON
The Late Lester B Pearson Collection, Ottawa, ON
The Saidye and Samuel Bronfman Memorial Collection, Montreal, QC
Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Thunder Bay, ON
Toronto Dominion Bank, Toronto, ON
Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, MB


Commissions
2010 Community Center, Strahcona County, Sherwood Park, AB
2009 "Poison Apple", Blue Quills College, St Paul, AB
2007 Casino Dene in Cold Lake First Nation, AB
2006 Explorer Hotel, Mural Restoration Project, Yellowknife, NT
1998 "White Buffalo", $200 coin, Royal Canadian Mint, Ottawa, ON
1993 Morning Star at the Canadian Museum of Civilization Hull PQ
1986 Legeoff School, Cold Lake, AB
1984 Bonnyville Health Centre, Bonnyville, AB
1982 Town Hall, Cold Lake, AB
1980 Caernarvon Elemantary School, Edmonton, AB
1978 - 81 National Museum of Man, Ottawa, ON
1978 "The Seasons", National Museum of Civilization, Ottawa, ON
1976 Muttart Conservatory, Edmonton, AB
1976 Stoney Rapids Motel, Stoney Rapids, SK
1975 County of Strathcona Building, Sherwood Park, AB
1974 Onion Lake Elementary School, Onion Lake, AB
1973 Sawridge Motor Hotel, Slave Lake, AB
1973 Explorer Hotel, Yellowknife, NT
1972 Sherwood Medical Clinic, Sherwood Park, AB
1971 Erminskin Kindergarten, Hobbema, AB
1967 Indian Pavillion, Expo '67, Montreal, QC
1966 RC Mission, Legeoff, AB
1952 Blue Quills Indian Residential School Chapel, St Paul, AB
1950 Blue Quills Indian Residential School Chapel, St Paul, AB


Credits
Thematic residencies at The Banff Centre for the Arts
Committee Member for new art college, Blue Quills First Nations College
Research Co-ordinator, Cold Lake First Nations Land Claims Negotiations
Board Member, Truth & Reconciliation Commission
Participation in Environmental and First Nations issues


Education
1956-60 Fine Arts Diploma (Honours), Alberta College of Art, Calgary, AB
1950-55 Private tutoring from Prof. Carlo Altenburg, U of A Extension Dept



Exhibitions
2012  Life's Work, Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, AB
2010 "I Love My Line", Bearclaw Gallery, Edmonton, AB
2010 Narrative Quest, Royal Alberta Museum, Edmonton, AB
2010 "Shifting Patterns", Profiles Public Art Gallery, St Albert, AB
2010 Banff 2010 - Works on Paper, Canada House Gallery, Banff, AB
2009 "Among Nations", Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
2009 "Trading over the Mountains", Nyree Hazelton Arts Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2009 "Art & Vin - The Riches of Diversity, A Celebration of Canadian Art", Le Grande Cros, Var area, France
2009 "Evasions des arts contemporains", Essor Des Vallees de L'Auxois, France, international guest artist
2008 Canada House Gallery, Banff, AB
2008 Honouring Tradition : Reframing Native Art, Glenbow Museum, Calgary, AB
2007 Alberta Biennial Exhibition, Art Gallery of Calgary, Calgary, AB
2006 Janvier Gallery, Cold Lake, AB
2006 Alberta Foundation for the Arts, traveling exhibit
2005 Bearclaw Gallery, Edmonton, AB
2004 Janvier Gallery, Cold Lake, AB
2004 Bearclaw Gallery, Edmonton, AB
2004 The Canadian Forum on Cultural Enterprise, Paris, France
2003 Janvier Gallery, Cold Lake, AB
2002 Edmonton Public Art Gallery, Edmonton, AB
2001 Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, NS
2000 Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, AB
1996 Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA
1996 Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Thunder Bay, ON
1996 Canada House Gallery, Banff, AB
1995 Glenbow Museum, Calgary, AB
1990 Wallace Gallery, Calgary, AB
1982 Gallery Moos, Toronto, ON
1980 West End Gallery, Edmonton, AB
1979 Hampton Galleries, Pontiac, MI
1978 Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, ON
1977 Gallery Stenhusgarde, Linkoping, Switzerland
1977 Gallery Moos, Toronto, ON
1975 Alberta Art Foundation, traveling to London, Brussels, Paris, New York and Montreal
1973 Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, AB
1966 Department of Indian Affairs, Ottawa, ON
Provincial Museum, Edmonton, AB
Robertson Galleries, Ottawa, ON
Pollock Gallery, Toronto, ON
National Art Gallery, Ottawa, ON
Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, SK
Johnson Gallery, Edmonton, AB
Gallery 1450, Victoria, BC
Dominion Gallery, Montreal, QC
Assiniboia Gallery, Regina, SK
Triangle Gallery, Calgary, AB


Publications
1966 Western Week, January  "Advice sought from Alberta Indians on Expo"
1969 Alberta New, January, "Museum Plans"
1972 Fry, Jacqueline, Art Canada, Vol. XXIX, No. 3, p 72-77
1973 Alex Janvier: The Native Artist, Alberta Native Communications Society
1973 Canadian Indian Canvas Colours of Pride, National Film Board of Canada
1973 Canadian Indian Canvas, Henning Jacobsen Productions, Toronto, ON
1974 Hill, Tom, Art Magazine, Vol. 5, No. 18
1976 Artwest, March/April
1977 Heritage Alberta, Sept/Oct
1978 Artscanada, Feb/March
1978 Contemporary Native Art in Canada: Alex Janvier, Royal Ontario Museum
1982 Art West 7, no. 9, Oct issue
1983 Our Native Land: Alex Janvier, CBC/CBO
1984 Seeing It Our Way: Alex Janvier, CBC
1985 Warner, John Anson  American Indian Art Magazine 10p 46-53, 77
1991 Echo Des Songes, Arthur Lamonthe, Montreal, QC
1991 Investment in Art, Alberta Art Foundation, Edmonton, AB
1992 Nemiroff, Diana, Robert Houle, and Charlotte Townsend-Gault.  Land, Spirit, Power: First Nations at the National Gallery of Canada
1993 “Morning Star.”  Globe and Mail Metro Edition, October 15, 1993, p. C8
1993 Canadian Museum of Civilization, ed.  “In the Shadow of the Sun: Perspectives on Contemporary Native Art.”  The Museum, Hull, QC
1993 The Art of Alex Janvier: His First Thirty Years, 1960-1990
1994 “Alex Janvier: Negotiating the land.” Canadian Art 11, no.4, Winter 1994: 79-80
1994 Collins, Curtis J.  “Janvier and Morrisseau: Transcending a Canadian Discourse.”  M.A. Thesis, Concordia University
1997 Cardinal - Schubert, Joane. “In the red.” In Borrowed Power: Essays on Cultural Appropriation, eds. Bruce Ziff.  Pratima V. Rao, 122 -
133
2002 Voices: Life and Work of the Woodland Artist, First Voice Multimedia Inc
2003 CBC News
2004 The Sharing Circle, segment featuring Alex Janvier, airing February 21, 2004
2005 GalleriesWest art review
2006 CBC Artspots, Alex Janvier, RCA
2008 CBC News
2008 AFA Award nomination
2008 CBC Art Spots
2008 CTV News
2008 Galleries West exhibition review
2008 Galleries West
2008 The Calgary Herald
2009 Galleries West exhibition review
2010 Edmonton
Journal

2010 YouTube video
2011 The Calgary
Herald

2012 The Edmonton Journal


Teaching
1960-62 Art Instructor, U of A, Extension Dept
Community Art Classes, various Northern Alberta communities



All images copyrighted by the artists.