Pangnirtung Doris McCarthy

Acrylic on Canvas
24 × 30 inches
60.96 × 76.2 cm
Framed Size
27 × 33 inches
68.58 × 83.82 cm

Pangnirtung or "Place of the Bull Caribou" is an Inuit hamlet in Nunavut on Baffin Island, known as "Pang" for short. It is famous for its renowned artists and the striking fiord, just 30 miles south of the Arctic circle. In 1973 Doris McCarthy returned to the glorious Arctic on another painting trip, inspired after her first encounter with an iceberg – “the brilliant turquoise and green of the deep crevasses of glacial ice” - near Pond Inlet the year earlier. Again, McCarthy was invited to stay with John and Colly Scullion, John being the settlement manager at Pond Inlet. The Scullions were transferred to Cape Dorset on the south side of Baffin Island and organized an overnight trip for McCarthy to Frobisher Bay and Pangnirtung, “part way up a narrow, twisting fiord.”McCarthy’s paintings of icebergs and the Arctic landscape, including “Pangnirtung” are considered to be among the artist’s best known and most celebrated works. Recalling her time in Pangnirtung in one of her memoirs, “My Life”, the artist notes: “The painting was terrific. Twice a day, the tide sent a flotilla of ice floes sailing up the fiord. As the tide ebbed, they went back to sea. I came home with enough work for an exhibition of watercolors and small acrylics (This new medium was as good as oils, and its quicker drying made convenient for packing).”Signed lower right; titled and dated “730803” (August 3, 1973) Born in Calgary, Alberta, McCarthy attended the Ontario College of Art from 1926–1930 where she was awarded various scholarships and prizes. She became a teacher shortly thereafter and taught most frequently at Central Technical School in downtown Toronto from 1932 until she retired in 1972. She spent most of her life living and working in Scarborough, Ontario though she travelled abroad extensively and painted the landscapes of various countries including: Costa Rica, Spain, Italy, Japan, India, England and Ireland. McCarthy was probably best-known for her Canadian landscapes and her depictions of Arctic icebergs. McCarthy's work has been exhibited and collected extensively in Canada and abroad, in both public and private art galleries including: The National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, and The Doris McCarthy Art Gallery. McCarthy also penned three autobiographies chronicling the various stages of her life: A Fool in Paradise (Toronto: MacFarlane, Walter & Ross, 1990), The Good Wine (Toronto: MacFarlane, Walter & Ross, 1991), and Ninety Years Wise (Toronto: Second Story Press, 2004). She was also the recipient of the Order of Ontario, the Order of Canada; honorary degrees from the University of Calgary, the University of Toronto, Trent University, the University of Alberta, and Nipissing University; and an honorary fellowship from the Ontario College of Art and Design. She died on November 25, 2010.

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