Henrietta Mabel May
Westmount, Quebec, 1884 – Vancouver 1971
Snowflakes. Studio Window
Oil on canvas
56.1 x 69.2 cm
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Max Stern, inv. 1959.1220
Quebec and Canadian Art
Montreal’s wealth of religious buildings is corroborated in the many views executed from the windows of their studios or apartments by the group’s female painters. When the image is captured frontally, as in Mabel May’s painting Snowflakes. Studio Window, the composition often includes, as well as the surrounding housetops and roofs, a truncated view of a nearby church. In Snowflakes. Studio Window, the dome of Saint James Cathedral (now Mary Queen of the World) is cropped at the top, which accentuates the proximity of the subject. In truth, this Montreal monument was located farther away. In the form of small patches of colours distributed over the surface, the falling snow unifies the composition like a diffuse veil that defines the picture plane, a feature of modern painting employed by many of the Beaver Hall artists.