Myfanwy Pavelic's Bio and Links

Myfanwy Spencer Pavelic was born in Victoria  BC in 1916. Despite being entirely self-taught, Myfanwy had the wonderful opportunity of a mentorship and mutually stimulating relationship with Emily Carr, who discovered the young girls talent at the young age of six years old, and even arranged a show of Myf's work by the time she was 15. In the 1930's she attended a boarding school in Montreal, but by 1940, she found herself living and painting in Vancouver, where she received a medal of recognition from the Vancouver Art Gallery. 

In 1943, the Second World War led her to New York, where she painted portraits for fees which she gave to the Canadian Red Cross. It was during that time she met here husband, Nikola Pavelic, and by 1950, they were back in Victoria for the birth of their daughter Tessa. 

After being influenced to do abstract work from her American influences, it became clear to Myfanwy that she was a painter of the human figure, and devoted most of her time to painting men, women and children. In 1970, they settled permanently at Spencerwood, their family estate on the Saanich Inlet, which became a meeting place for some of the area's artists. 

She painted many musicians, including Yehudi Menuhin, Glen Gould, Rostropovich, Segovia and Ravi Shankar. She also developed a long lasting friendship with actress Katherine Hepburn, which led to many sittings and portraits of Katherine.  In 1990, former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau chose her to create his official portrait, which now hangs in Parliament in Ottawa, and was later used on his Commemorative Stamp. 

Myfanwy received both an honorary Doctorate from the University of Victoria and the Order of Canada in 1984, and in 2001 received the Order of British Columbia. In 2000 she generously donated 50 pieces of her art to help support both the Victoria Symphony and the dream of constructing the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney. Myfanwy died peacefully on May 7, 2007.


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