Helen McNicoll

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Self-portrait, around 1900
Watching the boat
The Little Worker

Helen Galloway McNicoll (* 14. December 1879 in Toronto , Ontario ; † 27. June 1915 in Swanage , Dorset ) was a Canadian painter of Impressionism .

She is widely regarded as one of Canada's most important female artists and played a vital role in popularizing the Impressionist art movement in the country.


Helen McNicoll came from a distinguished Toronto family. She was deaf due to scarlet fever in her childhood . Despite her disability, McNicoll attended the Art Association of Montréal in 1899 to study art history under William Brymner (1855–1925) . In 1902 she moved to England to study at the London Slade School of Fine Art and later in St Ives (Cornwall) under the British painter Algernon Talmadge († 1937).

With her colorful pictures, which often show young women and children in nature and with a short brushstroke, capture light and mood, she made a significant contribution to making Impressionism known in Canada.

Helen McNicoll died at her cottage in Swanage at the age of 35 .

Much of her oil paintings are owned by Canadian art museums, including the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec . Some works are in private art collections. In the summer of 2019, the Kunsthalle München will show in the context of the exhibition In a new light. Canada and Impressionism their pictures In the tent and Sunny September .


Works (selection)

  • Picking Flowers , oil on canvas
  • The Little Worker , oil on canvas
  • In the Shadow of the Tree , oil on canvas
  • Girl with Parasol , oil on canvas
  • Montréal en hiver , oil on canvas
  • Watching the Boat , oil on canvas


  • Natalie Luckyj: Helen McNicoll: a Canadian Impressionist , Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario (1999)
  • Ash K. Prakash Ed .: Impressionism in Canada. A Journey of Rediscovery. Vorw. Guy Wildenstein, Einf. William H Gerdts. Arnoldsche Verlagsanstalt, Stuttgart 2014, 2nd edition 2015 (illustrated book with explanations. A chapter about McNicoll)

Web links

Commons : Helen McNicoll  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. Passion hivernale - Helen McNicoll. Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ), accessed on August 31, 2019 (French).
  2. Tilman Spreckelsen: The cathedral of the white forest. In: FAZ.net . August 13, 2019, accessed August 31, 2019 (with images of the paintings).