Monday, December 31, 2012

Who Is Rhoda Colville?

Today, on the news I heard, Rhoda Valentine (nee Wright) Colville, died at the age of  91 years, on December 29th, 2012. She was a talented artist and poet, wife of renowned Canadian painter, Alex Colville, his muse, and subject of many of his paintings.

Looking at Alex's paintings of Rhoda, I always sensed he was very much in love with her. They were a handsome couple indeed.

My years of attending many Art History seminars, and learning about numerous artists, has been a great education. What was and is often, more interesting and compelling to me, is the many women artists, the wives of those male artists, who unfortunately in most instances, there is little to nothing known or even mentioned  about these talented women artists, their lives and the art they made. Many women artists seemed to live in the shadow of their husband's careers, due to the cultural mores of the generation and times. Fortunately times have changed however you still have to dig for historical information regarding women artists.

I searched for information on line about Rhoda Colville. I found some basic facts, and mention of her talent as an artist and poet. She attended Mount Allison University, where she met Alex Colville. They were in the same fine art class. She wrote a booklet of poems entitled, Rhymes For Alex, dedicated to her husband.

I found this fine and lovely photo of Rhoda and Alex Colville  in Wolfville home, taken by artist, Tim Lowly. They both look very happy and of this I am certain they must have been, after seventy years of marriage. In this soon to be New Year of 2013, it is a rare and beautiful thing to see  love like this between two people. Here's to Rhoda and Alex, and creative love. Long may it live.
Alex and Rhoda Colville


Indigene Theresa said...

I often wonder about these wives of artists, too! I wish there was more information on them and more personal interviews, too! I feel like there are many lost stories because of the lack of info. Thanks for giving us a little piece of lovely couple history! :)

Unknown said...

I was talking online with my Professor and Head of the Fine Art Department at Mount Allison University he said he knew Rhoda and she was a lovely woman. I will pick his brain about her work next time I see him!
I am rather obsessed with finding out about women artists Indigene, past and present day. It is so true, the lack of information is unfortunately appalling. Fortunately, most of the Art Historians now are women, as opposed to men, which certainly did a thorough job of leaving women and their stories out of Art History. There is a wonderful and comprehensive book by Whitney Chadwick, entitled Women Art and Society, Fourth Edition you would enjoy and find very informative.

Thank you Indigene for you comments. Hope you had a blessed and peaceful holiday.

Anonymous said...

Rhoda Colville was happy to be her husband's muse. For proof watch the excellent documentary Colville,
 Director/Producer: Andreas Schultz, 
Colour, 67 minutes, English, 2008

Unknown said...

Thank you Anonymous for visiting and for your comment. I have seen this excellent documentary.

Anonymous said...

why is there no record of Rhoda Colville's art ? Is it because she had none to show or is it because she was blanked by her husband's shadow

Unknown said...


Thank you for your comment and oh I wished I had the answer to that. It was said she was a talented and gifted artist, and I have no doubt she was. Perhaps the art work she produced has been lost some how, or perhaps she, like many, or most women artists whose husbands were artists, she was in the shadow, as many women were in the art world and still are presently being underrepresented by the commercial galleries.

Anonymous said...

Jo Hopper who was a committed artist and the wife of celebrated artist Edward Hopper bequeathed many of their works of art to the Whitney Museum after his death. I was dismayed to learn that the Whitney Museum destroyed her work in the 1960's after her death. I have seen some of her work in reproduction and she did not deserve this betrayal of trust.