Blind Contour Homage #26 – “Muskoka” – Marjorie Pigott
Marjorie Pigott was born in Yokohama, Japan. Her father was English and had commercial interests in Japan. Her mother was Japanese of noble birth. Pigott and her sisters were considered British according to Japanese law which determines ones nationality based on the father. The girls received an education from an English governess until they were old enough to attend boarding schools in Britain and Japan, However Pigott was not strong enough to travel aboard. Her mother had a thorough knowledge of Japanese art and their home was filled with priceless treasures of ancient Japan, (many of which were destroyed during an earthquake in 1923). She recognized Pigott artistic talent early and sent her to study under master artists at the Nanga School, which was founded in the 15th century. After 12 years of study, she received her Seal Diploma and a Master Diploma (Teacher’s Certificate) designating her a Nanga Master. Part of her teacher’s name Shutei is on the Seal Diploma as an honour for her achievement in certain atmospheric misty effects in her paintings. Her father died when she was young and never got to witness his daughter’s accomplishments.
Because of their English nationality it was advised that the girls leave Japan as war was looming. In 1940 and at the age of 36,Pigott left with her sister Edith for Canada. They first settled in Vancouver and then moved east to Toronto because the West Coast climate was hard on Pigott’s health. For the first few years she kept active doing floral studies (many in lacquer) for a commercial firm.
Then from 1955 to 1965 she taught the Nanga technique to Japanese in Canada. This school of painting is almost abstract. Black ink is applied in skillful ways to express how the artist feels about their subject. Pigott started painting Canadian scenes, such as the landscapes around Muskoka, using the Nanga technique. She developed her own style of semi-abstract wet-into-wet watercolour painting. She painted from memory and used photos as reference of the nature around her.
Her work was shown in several solo exhibitions and group shows all over Canada. Her work is represented in the National Gallery of Canada among others. She was a member of and exhibited her work with the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour and the Ontario Society of Artists. She was also elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1973.
Born: January 06, 1904, Yokohama, Japan
Died: January 12, 1990, Toronto, Canada