Born in 1896, to a prosperous Montreal family, Prudence Heward received her formal art training at the Art Association of Montreal (AAM).One of the few art institutions which admitted female students at the time, it was run by RCA president, William Brymner.There, she received instruction in drawing from Brymner and landscape painting from Maurice Cullen.Prudence won an AAM scholarship in 1912 and exhibited her work, for the first time, at the AAM spring exhibition, in 1914. In 1916, Prudence moved to Englandto serve with the Red Cross with her mother and sisters, in order to be near her brothers who were in the armed forces. Upon her return to Montreal, she resumed her studies at the AAM in 1918. Following her graduation from the AAM she studied in Paris, where she met fellow artist, Isabel McLaughlin, who would become her lifelong friend.Considered by critics and collectors to be either dilettantes or hobbyists, female artists were extremely marginalized at the time.This prejudice made it difficult for women to be recognized as serious artists.It was, therefore, advantageous to associate with like-minded women artists.In the 1920s, Heward was invited by women of the Beaver Hall Group, (Mabel May, Anne Savage, Mabel Lockerby, Sarah Robertson, Lilias Newton, and Nora Collyer), to be part of their unofficial artist’s society. In 1933, she was also co-founder of the Canadian Group of Painters, and served as co-vice-president along with A.Y. Jackson.(Lawren Harris was president). In 1939, Heward was a founding member of the Contemporary Arts Society.The first solo exhibition of her work was at the ScottGalleryin Montréal, in 1932. She continued to exhibit with the Beaver Hall women in 1934, (in Torontoand Montréal); in 1940, (in Toronto) and in 1945, (in Windsor).The increased opportunities for showing her work and the recognition accorded it, led to increased sales and prices. Works by Heward can be found in several Canadian galleries including the WinnipegArtGalleryand the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, as well as private collections.Heward had never been of robust constitution, and an automobile accident exacerbated the asthma she had suffered from since childhood.She died in March of 1947, in Los Angeleswhere she had traveled for medical treatment.A memorial exhibition of Heward's work was shown at the National Gallery in March of 1948.


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