Joseph Plaskett

Canadian painter, Officer of the Order of Canada

Joseph Plaskett

Joseph Plaskett was born in 1918 in New Westminster, British Columbia. His work can be found in the collections of Canadian public galleries from Prince Edward Island to Vancouver Island, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. In 2001, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for his excellence in the visual arts. His autobiography, A Speaking Likeness, was published in 1999 by Ronsdale Press. The Plaskett Gallery at the Massey Theatre in New Westminster was named in his honour.

Nominated by Lawren Harris, Joseph Plaskett received the first Emily Carr Fellowship in 1946. This award changed his life by allowing him to study first at the California School of Fine Art in San Francisco, then with Hans Hofmann in New York and Provincetown. At the end of that year, on the double recommendation of Lawren Harris and A. Y. Jackson, he accepted the position of Director of the Winnipeg School of Art where he taught for two years until the lure of Europe became irresistible.

In 1957, Joseph moved to Paris. Soon after, he and his American colleague, artist David Hill, set out to buy and renovate an abandoned house in the Marais district, discovering its 15th century beauty and filling it with treasures unearthed at Parisian flea markets. The parties held in this house were legendary. Artists, musicians, entrepreneurs and dignitaries from around the world were invited. Young Canadian artists visiting Paris were always welcome.

Paris proved to be the ideal context for his artistic development. Mr. Plaskett produced some of his greatest paintings and pastel works during his stay at 2 rue Pecquay in the Marais. A commemorative plaque outside his home was erected by the Prefect of Paris in 2016. The plaque honors Plaskett's contribution to the arts and culture of Canada and beyond.

fter David's death in 1977, Joseph began to spend more time in the United Kingdom, where he had inherited a small country house in central Suffolk, aptly named "The Cedars". He transformed the two acres of woodland into an enchanting garden, complete with orchard, pond, arch bridge, pathways and tea house with the help of Canadian artist Mario Doucet, who would become his assistant and companion for the rest of his life.

In 2000, Joseph and Mario left their Paris home and moved to The Cedars. Mr. Plaskett continued to paint well into his nineties under the care of Mr. Doucet. He passed away peacefully in his sleep on Sunday, September 21, 2014, at his home. He was ninety-six years old

Source: Bibliography of the painter Jospeh Plaskett website:


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