Mary Pratt, RCA, 1935-2018

Tied Boat | Mary Pratt

Tied Boat | Mary Pratt

Tied Boat, 1980
Limited edition lithograph, No. 3 of 60.
Image size: 15 inch circular. Framed size: 20 X 20 inches.
Price: SOLD

Details: Signed, titled, dated & numbered by artist.
Provenance: Private Collection, British Colombia; Heffel Gallery label.
Condition: Excellent.

Additional Information and Photos Available Upon Request

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Crocus | Mary Pratt

Crocus | Mary Pratt

Original Lithograph* called Crocus
Artist Proof

Size: 16 x 12 inches
Price: SOLD

Details: Signed, titled and listed as Artist Proof in pencil beneath image.
Framed measurements: 21 X 28 inches.
Provenance: Private Collection, Newfoundland.
* Described as an "original lithograph" by an assistant to Mary Pratt.

Additional Information and Photos Available Upon Request

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Tied Boat | Mary Pratt

Tied Boat | Mary Pratt

Serigraph, 1980
Image size: 15 inch circular
Price: SOLD

Details: Signed, dated 1980, Number 2/60 Edition. Framed. Overall dimensions 20 X 20 inches.
Provenance: Private Collection, Purchased when issued from The Gallery, St. John's, NL

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Mary Pratt is known for finding beauty in everyday
objects as well as her masterful figure studies



Mary Frances West Pratt was born in Fredericton, NB, in 1935, to parents who were amateur painters that encouraged her artistic pursuits.

At age 11, one of Mary Pratt’s paintings was selected for an international exhibition in Luxembourg, which further encouraged her to become a professional painter.

While in high school, Mary Pratt studied art with Fritz Brandtner and other artists. She then enrolled in the Fine Arts program at Mount Allison University, where she studied under Alex Colville and Ted Pulford.

It was during her first year that she met Christopher Pratt, a Newfoundland-born student who dabbled in watercolours. Mary Pratt encouraged Christopher to study painting.

Christopher Pratt

Christopher Pratt moved to St. John’s, NL in the mid-1950s and was able to sell paintings.

Soon after Mary married Christopher and the pair moved to Scotland to study at the Glasgow School of Fine Arts, where they remained for over two years. While away, their first child John was born.

In 1961, after returning to New Brunswick, the pair of artists both graduated from Mount Allison.

The couple moved to St. John’s, where Christopher Pratt focused on teaching and painting, while Mary put art aside to raise her family. A daughter Anne was born in 1960, followed by Barbara in 1963 and Edwin in 1964.

Fascination with Light

The family lived year-round in a summer house that belonged to the Pratt family. The house had no running water, and maintaining the household and raising four children left little time for Mary Pratt to be an artist.

She would snatch time here and there to create quick studies of friends and objects around her kitchen, watching how light coming in the windows affected the objects.

The curator of art at Memorial University saw some of these small paintings and offered her a solo show, which was well received.

As Mary Pratt’s children grew she had more time to paint, turning to larger subject matters. She began photographing objects, such as fruit in a fruit bowl, to capture the play of light. Other subject matters were equally simple and domestic: dirty dishes, fish, vegetables, flowers, and items that are in every household.

These works were shown in 1973 at Erindale College in Toronto and in St. John’s. The paintings were well received, and Mary Pratt was recognized for conveying the warmth and beauty of everyday objects by her mastery of light and colour.

National Gallery of Canada

In 1975, 12 Mary Pratt works were chosen for a show of seven Canadian women artists held at the National Gallery of Canada.

Later works included several masterful figure studies of young girls, which were rendered with great sensitivity in the treatment of light and shadow.

Mary and Christopher Pratt separated in 1990.

Solo and retrospective shows of Mary Pratt’s work have been held at major art galleries across Canada, including the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, The Rooms, and the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. Her works are held in major public, corporate and private collections, and are highly sought after by Canadian fine art collectors.

Her art was also featured on a series of Canadian stamps issued in 2007.

Most recently, the solo exhibit Mary Pratt toured Canada from 2013 to 2015, with a fine exhibition catalogue published.

Mary Pratt, a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, was named to the Order of Canada in 1996, and has received honorary degrees from universities across Canada.

Mary Pratt died in 2018.

Source:  A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, volumes 1-8 by Colin S. MacDonald, and volume 9 (online only), by Anne Newlands and Judith Parker. National Gallery of Canada, Artists in Canada database.

Suggested Viewing

Video: A Conversation with Mary Pratt. Circa 1980s. Time: 29:50. Memorial University, retrieved from
Video: The Life and Times of Mary and Christopher Pratt, 1996. Time: 46:36. CBC, retrieved from
Video: Mary Pratt at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 2007. Time: 7:20. Retrieved from
Video: In Conversation with Mary Pratt and Mireille Eagan, 2014. Time: 51:34. McMichael Canadian Art Collection, retrieved from
Video: Mary Pratt, This Little Painting, 2015. Time: 10:41. National Gallery of Canada, retrieved from
Video: Introduction: Mary Pratt, 2013. Time: 7:03. The Rooms and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, retrieved from
Video: Rockburn Presents Mary Pratt, 2013. Time: 29:00. CPAC, retrieved from