"Miss May is interested in form and rhythm perspective rather than the more external manifestations of nature. There is a sweep to most of her landscapes and a skilful arrangement of mass and color. Some are sombre in tone and others bright, but all have a notable unity in conception and manage to suggest the essential nature of the scenes depicted." Colin S. MacDonald,

Henrietta Mabel May was born in Montreal, Quebec in 1877. She studied with William Brymner at the Art Association of Montreal from 1909-1912. May then travelled to Paris with Emily Coonan and was influenced by the work of the Impressionists. She also travelled to Northern France, Belgium, Holland, London, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

 

In 1916, May became an associate of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. In 1918, she painted several canvases for the Canadian War Memorial, depicting women working in ammunition factories. In 1920, May was one of the founding members of the Beaver Hall Group and in 1933 became a founding member of the Canadian Group of Painters. She was appointed supervisor of children's classes at the National Gallery of Canada in 1938.

 

In 1950, May retired to Vancouver where was held a retrospective show and sale of one hundred of her paintings. She died in 1971 at the age of ninety-four.

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