Self Portrait (Collage), Myfwany Pavelic (1976)

Self Portrait (Collage), Myfwany Pavelic, 1976, University of Victoria Art Collections

Myfanwy Pavelic was born in 1916 in Victoria. She had little formal art training, but at the age of 15 an exhibition was arranged for her by Canada’s foremost West Coast painter, Emily Carr.   For several years she spent part of each year in New York and witnessed the changing climate of the international art world. She experimented with abstract expressionism but eventually returned to her own evolving figurative style.

myf-in-studio-60qlt-x250For most of her career, Pavelic focused on portraiture.  In collaboration with photographer Karl Spreitz she would do numerous figure studies, from still photographs  as well as in person.  Local and international personalities came to her Saanich studio for sittings, including fellow artists of the Victoria “Limners” group, former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudea, and her personal friend Katherine Hepburn. Pavelic’s now well-known portrait of Yehudi Menuhin was commissioned by Lord Thompson of Fleet for Britain’s National Portrait Gallery in 1984.  She was awarded the Order of Canada, an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the University of Victoria, and was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy.  Spreitz’s film  A Portrait of Myfanwy documents her working process and her studio in Sidney, B,C.

Source: Segger, Martin Excerpt from biography in Celebration of a Friendship (University of Victoria, 1997), published with permission.