John Harold Thomas Snow

Canadian [1911-2004]

Alberta Society of Artists, Canadian Society of Graphic Artists, Royal Canadian Academy of Arts

John Snow was born in Vancouver in 1911; his family moving to England during WWI. While in England, Snow’s English relatives fostered in him an interest in art and music. The Snow family returned to Canada in 1919, relocating to Olds, Alberta.

In 1928, Snow took a job with the Royal Bank of Canada and began a distinguished banking career that would last 43 years. The only interruption was to serve as a navigator in the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Air Force during World War II. Tours of duty in Great Britain, India and Northern Africa provided Snow opportunities to visit some of the world’s great museums, which would profoundly influence his art and his life.

When the war ended, and Snow returned home, continuing his banking career, but with an invigorated interest in art. He signed up for a life drawing class with Maxwell Bates at the Provincial Institute of Technology, becoming good friends with the senior artist. In 1953, Bates and Snow famously “rescued” two old lithographic presses with an old truck from the alley behind the Western Printing and Lithograph Company. No one in Alberta was producing fine-art lithographs at the time and neither Snow nor Bates knew how to truly operate the presses. Through trial and error, and by reading books, they taught themselves how to run the press and became proficient. The rescued press would help define Snow’s artistic output for the rest of his career.

Snow produced 410 of his own lithographs, plus assisted fellow artists. such as Bates, Illingworth Kerr, and Pat Gordon with editions of their lithographs. Snow’s prints have been described as “moody and rich-hued,” and “varied and venturesome.” He himself has said of his work that “coloring is of primary importance.” Snow has been labeled “a central figure in Canadian art” who, along with Bates, helped usher Alberta into the modernist period – not by imitating foreign styles but by inventing a vocabulary unique to the province. He is praised for his generosity, approachability, and gentleness – qualities that made him a mentor to new generations of artists. Alberta is rightfully internationally recognized as a printmaking centre, in large part due to the pioneering work of John Snow.

Solo exhibitions of John Snow’s work took place at the Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon in 1974, and the Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton in 1989. Snow exhibited with the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts from 1966 through to 1970, and with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts from 1956 to 1962. His work has also been shown in the U.S., Japan, France, England, Chile, Mexico, Italy, Scotland, and Australia, and has been commissioned by such agencies as the Royal Canadian Academy, Parks Canada, the City of Calgary and Grant MacEwan Community College in Edmonton. Snow’s artworks hang in the National Gallery of Canada, the residence of the Governor General of Canada and Alberta’s Government House in Edmonton.

Snow received the Alberta Order of Excellence on November 21, 1996.

John Snow died peacefully on August 23, 2004 at the age of ninety-two, after several years of failing health.

We are currently seeking works by John Snow to be included in future auctions.

If you are interested in selling with us or wish to get our opinion of the value of your artworks please contact us for an appointment to evaluate your artwork for auction.

A Few Notable Results from our Auctions

John Harold Thomas Snow

MOUNTAIN MEADOW; ca 1970
oil on board
12 x 16 in.

Sold for $ 2,750 (hammer price) – May 2021

John Harold Thomas Snow

BARN NEAR MILLARVILLE; 1987
oil on canvas
22 x 30 in.

Sold for $ 2,600 (hammer price) – November 2008

John Harold Thomas Snow

FOOTHILLS ROAD; 1975
oil on board
16 x 20 in.

Sold for $ 2,400 (hammer price) – November 2006

John Harold Thomas Snow

FOOTHILLS EVENING; 1979
oil on canvas
22 x 30 in.

Sold for $ 1,700 (hammer price) – November 2020

John Harold Thomas Snow

FOOTHILLS LANDSCAPE; 1982
oil on board
12 x 16 in.

Sold for $ 1,600 (hammer price) – November 2010

John Harold Thomas Snow

CREEK; 1982
oil on canvas
30 x 40 in.

Sold for $ 1,500 (hammer price) – September 2018

John Harold Thomas Snow

FOOTHILLS LANDSCAPE; 1979
oil on canvas
20 x 24 in.

Sold for $ 1,400 (hammer price) – September 2020

John Harold Thomas Snow

ELBOW RIVER; 1978
oil on board
16 x 20 in.

Sold for $ 1,200 (hammer price) – February 2018

John Harold Thomas Snow

PARADE; 1961
watercolour on paper
25 x 19.5 in.

Sold for $ 1,000 (hammer price) – November 2011

John Harold Thomas Snow

ABSTRACT COMPOSITION
mixed media on paper
20.25 x 25.75 in.

Sold for $ 850 (hammer price) – May 2016

View more extensive results on John Snow artworks sold by Hodgins Art Auctions.

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