About Alex Janvier
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Photo by Aaron Pierre

Alex Janvier, RCA, CM


Alex Janvier, Denesuline, from Cold Lake First Nations in Alberta has been a professional artist for several decades. Janvier is a trendsetter, renowned for his distinct curved lines and use of bright color combinations. His unique abstract style has blazed the trail for the newcomers in First Nations Art, but also Canadian Art.

 

Janvier is multi-talented, creating Original Works of Art in many different mediums throughout his career. Numerous Janvier murals, enjoyed by many, adorn public buildings. In 1993, while painting the magnificent “Morning Star” in the Canadian Museum of Civilization, he was nicknamed “Alexangelo”. Another large commission is at County Hall, Sherwood Park, Alberta. Alex’s first mural was painted at the Indian Pavilion at Expo 1967.

 

Starting in 1964, numerous galleries have exhibited Janvier paintings in solo and group shows, both nationally and internationally. In 2012, the Art Gallery of Alberta hosted a major exhibition of over ninety paintings, including very large canvas originals and works that were shown to the public for the first time. One of Alex’s highest achievements was the major solo travelling exhibition that was curated by the National Gallery of Canada in 2016-2018.

 

Alex is the recipient of many prestigious awards including the Order of Canada, Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, and the National Aboriginal Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2008 he was honored with the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Marion Nicoll Visual Arts Award, while in 2010 he was invested into the Alberta Order of Excellence. He has also been acknowledged with several honorary Doctorate Degrees from educational institutions across Canada.

 

Although Alex is known internationally as an artist, he has a very humble approach to life. He is grateful to be able to paint full time for it is what he loves to do. His paintings are full of culturally significant themes and history, sometimes recording the pristine beauty of our Mother Earth. The magnitude of spirituality in his paintings will keep his art alive for many centuries yet to come.

Awards or Recognition

AWARDS OR RECOGNITION

  • 2017 Distinguished Artist Award” from the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta
  • 2017 Honorary Degree, “Doctor of Letters” from University of British Columbia Alumni Association
  • 2013 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • 2010 Alberta Order of Excellence, Member – Investiture October 2010
  • 2009 Named one of Alberta’s Most Influential People, Alberta Venture Magazine
  • 2008 University of Calgary Honourary Degree, Doctor of Laws
  • 2008 Marion Nicoll Visual Arts Award, Alberta Foundation for the Arts
  • 2008 Governor General Award in Visual and Media Arts
  • 2008 University of Alberta Honourary Degree (Doctorate of Laws)
  • 2007 Member of the Order of Canada.
  • 2005 Centennial Medal for outstanding service to the people and province of Alberta.
  • 2002 National Aboriginal Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • 2001 Tribal Chiefs Institute Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • 2001 Cold Lake First Nations Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • 1992 Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts.
  • 1985 Canada/China Cross Cultural Exchange Tour.

ART EDUCATION

  • 1956-1960 Fine Arts Diploma, Alberta College of Art, Calgary, Alberta.
  • 1956-1960 Private Tutoring from Professor Carlo Altenburg ,University of Alberta Extension Department

EXPERIENCE

  • 1960-1962 Art Instructor, University of Alberta Extension Department Community Art Classes, Various Northern Alberta Communities
  • Since 1971 Full time Artis
  • Contributing Art Instructor at various colleges/schools
  • Participation in Environmental and First Nations Issues
  • Board Member Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  • Research Coordinator Cold Lake First Nations Land Claims Negotiations
  • Committee Member for planning of new Art College; Blue Quills First Nations College
  • Numerous Thematic Residencies at The Banff Centre for the Arts
    “Active participant for” Environmental and First Nations Issues

AFFILIATIONS

  • Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts
Collections

Collections

(selection)

  • Alberta Art Foundation, Government of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta
  • Alberta Indian Arts and Crafts Society, Edmonton, Alberta
  • AMACO Canada Ltd., Calgary, Alberta
  • The Late Helen E. Band Collection, Toronto, Ontario
  • The Saidye and Samuel Bronfman Memorial Collection, Montreal
  • The Canada Council Art Bank, Hull, Quebec
  • Canadian Museum of Civilization, Hull, Quebec
  • Cinader Collection, Toronto, Ontario
  • Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ottawa
  • Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Ottawa,
  • City of Edmonton, Edmonton, Alberta
  • Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta
  • Edmonton Public Schools Board, Edmonton, Alberta
  • Esso Resources, Calgary, Alberta
  • Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta
  • Government of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta
  • Gulf Oil Resources, Calgary, Alberta
  • McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinberg, Ontario
  • Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • Montreal Museum of Fine Art, Montreal, Quebec
  • National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
  • The Late Lester B. Pearson Collection, Ottawa, Ontario
  • Petro-Canada, Calgary, Alberta
  • Shell Canada, Calgary, Alberta
  • Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Thunder Bay, Ontario
  • Toronto Dominion Bank, Toronto, Ontario
  • Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Government House Foundation, Edmonton, Alberta
Selected Exhibitions

Selected Exhibitions

* Solo shows are marked by an asterisk

  • 2012 *Gallery Gevik, Toronto, Ontario, “Alex Janvier: Spiritual Expressions,” (October 27 – November 16, 2012).
  • 2012 *Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, “Alex Janvier,”
    (May 17 – August 19, 2012).
  • 2012 *Bearclaw Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta, “Oil Drum: An Exhibition of New Works by Alex Janvier,” (April 21 -May 4, 2012)
  • 2011 *Janvier Gallery, Cold Lake, Alberta, “Coming Full Circle,” (May 7, 2011)
  • 2011 *Plug In Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba, as a part of “Frontrunners”.
  • 2010 *Canada House Gallery, Banff, Alberta. “Alex Janvier, Banff 2010, Works on Paper,” (November 13, 2010).
  • 2010 Profiles Public Art Gallery, St Albert, Alberta, “Shifting Patterns” (June 3 – July 3, 2010)
  • 2010 *Bearclaw Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta, “I Love My Line”
    (March 27 – April 8, 2010)
  • 2009 France, Essor Des Vallees De L’Auxois , “ Évasions des arts contemporains” (International Guest Artist)
  • 2009 *South France, Var area, Le Grand Cros, “Art and Vin – The Riches of Diversity – A Celebration of Canadian Art”
  • 2009 *Nyree Hazelton Arts Gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia, “Trading Over the Mountains”
  • 2009 Contemporary Aboriginal Art from Canada, “Among Nations” , Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
  • 2008 *Canada House Gallery, Banff, Alberta ,“Alex Janvier RCA CM” (September 2008)
  • 2007 *Art Gallery of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta “The Alberta Biennial Celebrates the Work of Alex Janvier” (September 7, 2007 – January 5, 2008)
  • 2007 *Bearclaw Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta, “Deep Roots”
  • 2006 *Janvier Gallery, Cold Lake, Alberta, “New Works”
  • 2006 Alberta Foundation for the Arts, “Talking Pictures: From the Sacred Circle to the Square Canvas” (Jan. 2006 – Jan. 2008, traveling exhibit)
  • 2005 *Janvier Gallery, Cold Lake, Alberta, “New Watercolour Circles”
  • 2005 *Bearclaw Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta, “Beautiful Mother Earth”
  • 2004 *Janvier Gallery, Cold Lake, Alberta, “Permanent Collection”
  • 2004 Bearclaw Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta
  • 2004 The Canadian Forum on Cultural Enterprise, Paris, France (January 12-14 2004)
  • 2003 *Janvier Gallery, Cold Lake, Alberta.
  • 2002 Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta, “New Works in Watercolour”
  • 2001 Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, Nova Scotia, “Journey”
  • 2000 Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta “Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art 2000” (travelling exhibition)
  • 1996 National Aboriginal Achievement Award, Winnipeg, Manitoba,
    “Morning Star” image as “Stage Set” for Award Ceremony
  • 1996 Canada House, Banff, Alberta.
  • 1996 Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Thunder Bay, Ontario, “Recent Acquisitions”
  • 1996 Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts, “Gifts of the Spirit”
  • 1995 Wallace Gallery, Calgary, Alberta.
  • 1995 Big Brothers, Ottawa, Ontario.
  • 1995 Robertson Galleries, Ottawa, Ontario.
  • 1994 West End Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta.
  • 1994 West End Gallery, Victoria, British Columbia.
  • 1994 Wallace Galleries, Calgary, Alberta.
  • 1994 Mendal Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, “ Negotiating the Land”
  • 1994 Assiniboia, Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan.
  • 1994 Assiniboia Bessborough Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
  • 1994 Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta.
  • 1993 Yukon Gallery, Whitehorse, Yukon.
  • 1993 *Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Thunder Bay, Ontario, “Alex Janvier, His First Thirty Years 1960-1990 retrospective” (travelling exhibition to major galleries across Canada).
  • 1993 Assiniboia, Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan.
  • 1993 Assiniboia Bessborough Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
  • 1992 *Wallace Gallery, Calgary, Alberta, “Janvier’s Classics”
  • 1992 National Art Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, “Land, Spirit, Power: First Nations Art at the National Gallery of Canada” (travelling exhibition).
  • 1992 *Gallery 1450, Victoria, British Columbia.
  • 1992 New Gallery, Calgary, Alberta, “The Mentors”
  • 1992 Robertson Galleries, Ottawa, Ontario.
  • 1992 Gallery Moos, Toronto, Ontario.
  • 1992 Unique Gallery, Grand Prairie, Alberta.
  • 1992 Provincial Museum, Edmonton Alberta, “Alberta First Nations: From The Four Directions”
  • 1992 Canada’s First People, “A Celebration of Contemporary Native Visual Arts” (travelling exhibition)
  • 1991 Triangle Gallery, Calgary, Alberta
  • 1991 Unique Gallery, Grand Prairie, Alberta, “One Trick Pony”
  • 1991 West End Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta, “20th Anniversary”
  • 1991 West End Gallery, Victoria, British Columbia.
  • 1990 *Wallace Galleries, Calgary, Alberta, “Intertribal Indian Unlimited”
  • 1990 Wallace Galleries, Calgary, Alberta
  • 1989 *Gallery Moos, Toronto, Ontario
  • 1989 *West End Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta, “Apple World”
  • 1989 Canadian Museum of Civilization, Hull, Quebec, “In the Shadow of the Sun”
  • 1988 Wallace Galleries, Calgary, Alberta, “The Spirit of Lubicon”
  • 1988 Arts Court, Ottawa, Ontario, “Modern Echoes of Ancient Dreams”
  • 1988 Wallace Galleries, Calgary, Alberta
  • 1987 *West End Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta
  • 1987 Southwest Museum, Los Angeles, California, “A Celebration of Contemporary Canadian Native Art”
  • 1987 Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Thunder Bay, Ontario, “Eight From the Prairies”
  • 1986 West End Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta
  • 1986 Native Business Summit, Toronto, Ontario, “New Beginnings”
  • 1986 Alberta College of Art Gallery, Calgary, Alberta, “Founders of the Alberta College of Art”
  • 1985 *Gallery Moos, Toronto, Ontario
  • 1985 *West End Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta
  • 1985 MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan, “Two Worlds”
  • 1985 Holland Festival, Amsterdam, “Challenges”
  • 1984 *Gallery Moos, Toronto, Ontario
  • 1984 *West End Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta
  • 1983 *National Arts Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, “The Seasons”
  • 1983 *Soho Mercer Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario
  • 1983 – Rideau Hall, Ottawa, Ontario, “Contemporary Indian Art at Rideau Hall” (Collection of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development)
  • 1983 United Nations General Assembly Building, New York, USA, “Contemporary Indian and Inuit Art of Canada” (travelling exhibition opening at the UN building in New York)
  • 1983 Woodland Indian Cultural Educational Centre, Brantford, Ontario “Indian Art ’83”
  • 1983 Edmonton, Alberta, “Universiade ’83 Kaleidoscope”
  • 1982 *Gallery Moos, Calgary, Alberta
  • 1982 *West End Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta
  • 1982 Thunder Bay National Exhibition Centre and Centre for Indian Art, Thunder Bay, Ontario, “Tailfeathers/Sapp/Janvier”
  • 1982 Thunder Bay National Exhibition Centre and Centre for Indian Art, Thunder Bay, Ontario, “Renewal: Masterworks of Contemporary Indian Art from the National Museum of Man”
  • 1981 *West End Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta
  • 1980 *Gallery Moos, Calgary, Alberta and Toronto, Ontario
  • 1980 West End Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta
  • 1980 *Robertson Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario
  • 1979 *Gallery Moos, Toronto, Ontario
  • 1979 *Hampton Galleries, Pontiac, Michigan, United States of America
  • 1979 Robertson Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario
  • 1979 *West End Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta
  • 1978 *Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario, “Contemporary Native Art of Canada Series: Alex Janvier”
  • 1978 *West End Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta.
  • 1978 *Calgary Galleries, Calgary, Alberta.
  • 1977 *Gallery Stenhusgarden, Linkoping, Sweden.
  • 1977 Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, “Links to a Tradition” (travelling exhibition to Brazil)
  • 1977 *National Museum of Man, Ottawa, Ontario: Alex Janvier: a new dialogue between Native Sensibility and Western Tradition.
  • 1977 Gallery Moos, Toronto, Ontario.
  • 1977 Mackenzie Gallery and Native Studies Programme, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, “Contemporary Indian Art –The Trail from the past to the Future”
  • 1977 Woodland Indian Cultural Educational Centre, Brantford, Ontario, “Indian Art ’77”
  • 1976 *Johnson Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta.
  • 1976 *Framecraft Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta
  • 1976 Ontario and Quebec, Canada, “Imprint ’76” (travelling exhibition)
  • 1976 Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, “Cinader Collection”
  • 1976 Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta
  • 1976 Woodland Indian Cultural Educational Centre, Brantford, Ontario, “Indian Art ’76”
  • 1975 *Calgary Galleries, Calgary, Alberta
  • 1975 Alberta Art Foundation, London, Brussels, Paris, New York, Montreal (travelling exhibition)
  • 1975 Pollock Gallery, Toronto, Ontario.
  • 1975 Dominion Gallery, Montreal, Quebec.
  • 1975 Wallack Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario.
  • 1975 Art Emporium, Vancouver, British Colombia
  • 1974 *Canue, Edmonton, Alberta
  • 1974 *Framecraft Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta
  • 1974 Gallery Anthropos, London, England
  • 1974 Inukshuk Gallery, Waterloo, Ontario
  • 1974 The Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona, “First Biannual Invitational Painting Exhibit”
  • 1974 Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario, “Indian Art ’74”
  • 1974 Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta, “Prairie ’74”
  • 1973 *Pollock Gallery, Toronto, Ontario
  • 1973 *Downstairs Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta
  • 1973 *Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta
  • 1972 Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba, “Treaty Numbers 23, 287, 1171”
  • 1972 Framecraft Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta
  • 1970 *Framecraft Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta
  • 1970 McIntosh Memorial Art Gallery, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario
  • 1968 Glenbow Museum, Calgary, “Contemporary Indian Artists” (Western Canada Tour)
  • 1966 Department of Indian Affairs, Ottawa, ON
  • 1965 Jacox Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta
  • 1964 *Jacox Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta
  • 1964 Jacox Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta, “Spring All-Alberta Show”
  • 1950 International Vatican Exhibition, Rome, Italy
Bibliography

Selected publications

  • Volmers, Eric. “Glenbow exhibition traces Janvier’s 65-year evolution, Calgary Herald, June 16, 2018.
  • Klinkenberg, Marty. “’I am a lucky man.’ How art saved Alex Janvier, one of Canada’s greatest living painter,” The Globe and Mail, September 22, 2018.
  • Hill, Greg. Alex Janvier, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON, 2016.
  • Weiner, Rachel. “Breaking Barriers: Alex Janvier on his Early Life, His Artistic Development, and the Challenge of Being a Native Artist in Canada,” McMichael Magazine, 2015.
  • Theobald, Claire. “Artist called up to NHL,” Edmonton Sun, March 31, 2015.
  • Whyte, Murray. “At the McMichael Gallery, the other Group of Seven,” The Star, May 13, 2015.
  • Celina IP. “Janvier one of Alberta’s 50 most influential people,”
  • Simpson, Peter. “The Morning Star rises better than ever,” Ottawa Citizen, September 16, 2014
  • Lavallee, Michelle. Professional Native Indian Artists Inc.: Group of Seven, Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina, SK, 2013.
  • Seraphim, Theresa. “Observation is key to Janvier’s painting,” Cold Lake Sun, September 10, 2013.
  • Copley, John. “Janvier celebrates official opening at CLFN, Alberta Native News, September 2013.
  • Griwkowsky, Fish. “Alex Janvier’s new gallery a beacon,” Edmonton Journal, October 5, 2013.
  • Griwkowsky, Fish. “Artist and Architect conspire for good,” Calgary Herald, October 7, 2013.
  • Moore, Sandee. “Tradition meets Activism,” Visual Arts Review, June 9, 2011.
  • 2011 Art History, Journal of the Association Of Art Historians, 34/ 3/ June 2011, – “Alex Janvier’s Entangled Cartographies: Hunters’ Dreams, Bauhaus Aesthetics, and the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range’ written by Chris Dueker
  • 2008 Janvier RCA CM” Catalogue, Canada House Gallery .
  • 2007 “Canada Collects” Catalogue, Royal Ontario Museum .
  • 2007 “Living Utopia and Disaster” Catalogue, Art Gallery of Alberta
  • 2003 “Remarks by Alex Janvier” on National Gathering on Aboriginal Artistic Expression.
  • 2003 “Gold Buffalo Coin based on Chipewyan Lore”
  • 2003 Concordia University Art History Thesis Abstracts On-Line
  • 2002 “Alex Janvier: New Works” on Turtle Island Native Network.
  • 1997 Cronin, Keri.  “Canada’s Michaelangelo,” Legacy, August-October.
  • 1997 “Canadian Art at the McMichael”
  • 1997 Cardinal – Schubert, Joane. “In the red.” In Borrowed Power: Essays on Cultural Appropriation,
  • 1994 Collins, Curtis J. “Janvier and Morrisseau: Transcending a Canadian Discourse.” M.A. Thesis, Concordia University.
  • 1994 “Alex Janvier: Negotiating the land.” Canadian Art 11, no.4, Winter 1994: 79-80.
  • 1993 Martin, Lee-Ann. The Art of Alex Janvier: His First Thirty Years,
  • 1960-1990. Essay by Robert Houle. Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Thunder Bay, Ontario.
  • 1993 “Morning Star.” Globe and Mail Metro Edition, October 15, 1993, p. C8.
  • 1993 Canadian Museum of Civilization, ed. “In the Shadow of the Sun: Perspectives on Contemporary Native Art.” The Museum, Hull, Quebec.
  • 1992 Nemiroff, Diana, Robert Houle, and Charlotte Townsend-Gault. Land, Spirit, Power: First Nations at the National Gallery of Canada.
  • 1985 Warner, John Anson. “New vision in Canadian plains painting.” American Indian Art Magazine 10 (Spring 1985)
  • 1982 “Janvier,” Art West 7, No. 9, October Issue.
  • 1978 “Light and Space in the Suburban Landscape.” Artscanada, February/March.
  • 1978 Contemporary Native Art of Canada: Alex Janvier. Royal Ontario Museum.
  • 1977 “Alex Janvier.” Heritage Alberta, September/October
  • 1976 “Janvier.” Artwest, March/April
  • 1974 Hill, Tom. “Its Death and Rebirth.” Art Magazine, Vol. 5, No. 18, Summer
  • 1972 Fry, Jacqueline. Art Canada, Vol. XXIX, No. 3
  • 1969 “Museum Plans” Medicine Hat. Alberta New, January.
  • 1966 “Advice Sought from Alberta Indians on Expo. ” Western Week, January.

Selected media

  • 2018 Alex Janvier paints the vast landscape of Indigenous Life, The Globe and Mail.
  • 2017 Alex Janvier: Full Interview, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.
  • 2017 The North Star Project, Ep. 1, Alex Janvier: The Gifts of the Creator, Jay Gould.
  • 2017 Alex Janvier: In Conversation, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.
  • 2016 Ice Level: The Feature on Alex Janvier
  • 2016 Alex Janvier: Opening, National Gallery of Canada.
  • 2015 The Life and Work of Alex Janvier, First Voices Multimedia Inc., Winnipeg, Manitoba.
  • 2015 The Pass System, Alex Williams, produced in association with Tamarack Productions.
  • 2006 CBC Artspots, Alex Janvier, RCA Play the movie
  • 2004 The Sharing Circle, segment featuring Alex Janvier.
  • 1991 Investment in Art, Alberta Art Foundation, Edmonton, Alberta.
  • 1991 Echo Des Songes, Arthur Lamothe, Montreal, Quebec.
  • 1984 Seeing It Our Way: Alex Janvier, CBC Edmonton.
  • 1983 Our Native Land: Alex Janvier, CBC/CBO.
  • 1973 Canadian Indian Canvas, Henning Jacobsen Productions, Toronto, Ontario.
  • 1973 Colours of Pride, National Film Board of Canada.
  • 1973 Alex Janvier: The Native Artist, Alberta Native Communications Society.