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John & Katharine Maltwood Collection

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John & Katharine

Notable B.C. Artists in the Collection - Ina D.D. Uhthoff

In her deep dedication to art Ina D. D. Uhthoff possessed an outspoken enthusiasm and stamina that Katharine Maltwood greatly respected. Their friendship in particular brought the latter into close contact with Victoria's artistic community and its endeavours. Ina Uhthoff's career spans an era of critical awakening in the Victoria art scene. She had received her formal art training at the Glasgow School of Art under the instruction of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Maurice Grieffenhagen. When she settled in Victoria in 1926 she found the artistic environment conservative to say the least. Other than Emily Carr's work, painting had changed little since the Edwardian era and there was a serious lack of public interest in the visual arts. Mrs. Uhthoff proceeded to open an art school and studio on Wharf Street and later, in 1929 and 1930, joined with Emily Carr to sponsor classes given by the American artist Mark Tobey.

M964.1.118, Mount Temple, by Ina D.D. Uhthoff
Mount Temple
by Ina D.D. Uhthoff

The quality of Ina Uhthoff's teaching soon became well-known and her classes eventually led to the formation of the Victoria School of Art in 1937 under the direction of the Provincial Department of Education.84 The school prospered but due to the Second World War Mrs. Uhthoff was forced to return to private teaching, an activity she continued until 1951.

During this time Ina Uhthoff was also instrumental in the development of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.85 In addition her columns of art criticism appeared in the Daily Colonist for many years and as a member of the British Columbia Society of Artists she exhibited regularly at the Vancouver Art Gallery.86

Ina Uhthoff's work reflects the great technical versatility of her teaching. She produced some very fine portraits and a long series of landscapes which capture the moods and rhythms of her physical surroundings. Her watercolour and oil impressions of the West Coast often possess a silent, bleak and powerful atmosphere suggesting primeval nature. This can be seen in Mount Temple,87 an oil painting, the Maltwoods selected in 1942. Here rugged and angular mountains are boldly carved in a free palette-knife technique. Using pure colours and little medium the cool, icy blues of the mountain heights are skillfully set off by a splash of orange and red undergrowth far below. Mountain Shadows, a later watercolour in the Maltwood Collection, is more abstract in conception. Simple, lucid washes, in varying tones of blue, are used to create the stark monumental forms. Although Katharine Maltwood had little time for abstract art she admired the dramatic impression of soaring height and otherworldly solitude suggested in this severe and reduced style.



All content on this page is copyright © 7 February, 2006
Rosemary Brown, the Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery, and the University of Victoria

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