Day, Mabel Killam

Sex: Female
Birth Date/Place: 7 July 1884, Yarmouth NS
Death Date/Place: 26 August 1960, Yarmouth NS
  • Painting

Biographical Links:

Mabel Eliza Killam was born in Yarmouth 7 July, 1884 to John H. Killam, merchant, and his wife Carrie B. Johnson.  She studied at the Mount Allison Ladies' College (1900-1904) under John Hammond and with Robert Henri in New York (1905-1909).  She married Francis Parker Day 1 January, 1910. Frank was a Rhodes Scholar who had recently returned to Canada from England to teach at the University of New Brunswick. They moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1912, where Killam Day became Director of Academic Studies at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. During the First World War, she moved to England while her husband served in France, returning to Pittsburgh at the end of the war. Upon her return, Killam Day became involved in the artistic community, joining a group of women artists who called themselves Experimentalists as they based their work upon the idea of change, striving to express their personal vision of the contemporary world. In 1933, the Days returned to Nova Scotia due to Frank's declining health, but Mabel continued to paint in her studio in Lake Annis, Yarmouth County.  Her distinguished career included the acceptance of a work by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 1910, along with several exhibitions in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and, later on, in Nova Scotia.  She was awarded First Honour and second prize by the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Carnegie Art Gallery, and the prize for best picture painted by a woman by the Pittsburgh School of Design. In 1927, her work was shown at the 40th Annual Exhibition of American Art at the Art Institute of Chicago. Tragically, in 1937, a retrospective of her work was destroyed in a fire at Zwickers Gallery, Halifax, and many of her major paintings were lost.  Mabel Killam Day died in Yarmouth in 1960, aged 76.

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