Collection Connection: Artist Christmas Cards


Artist Christmas cards are a true gem of Glenbow’s collection. They offer a glimpse into a more personal and whimsical side of artistic production – there is something quite touching and intimate about these tiny, hand-made pieces that were shared with friends and family at the holiday season.

These cards have come to Glenbow in a number of different ways. Sometimes they are donated by the artists themselves, while others make their way into our collection via donations of personal archives or by private collectors. When the calendar turns over to December, we always look forward to sharing these unique and beautiful mementos of the season.

Alistair Bell, Untitled [Christmas card], date unknown

Alistair Bell’s contemporary and dear friend, Group of Seven member Lawren Harris, was such a fan of his wood engravings that he commissioned Bell to design his Christmas cards from 1948 to 1964. This card, signed “Bless you both – Lawren and Bess,” was gifted to Glenbow as part of a group of 20 artist Christmas cards.

Henry George Glyde, Untitled
[Christmas card], date unknown

This delightful design by artist H.G. Glyde features a stylized Santa on a sleigh and three reindeer. Glenbow is a major research centre for the work of H.G. Glyde as the artist’s estate donated a collection of 573 works to Glenbow in 1998.

Henry Eric Bergman, Untitled [Winter, Night Forest Scene], ca. 1930

Born in Germany, Henry Eric Bergman immigrated to Canada in 1913. Bergman’s training was in commercial art, but he later worked in pencil, watercolour, oil paint and colour wood block printing. However, as showcased in this beautiful Christmas card the Bergmans sent in 1930, he is best known for his fine black and white wood engravings.

Sylvia Hahn, Tree Stumps with Snow,date unknown

Sylvia Hahn was a Canadian artist who worked as the head of the Art Department at the Royal Ontario Museum from 1934 to 1976. She was known for her mastery of many different artistic media, from metal work to mural painting. As evidenced by this idyllic Christmas scene, she was also clearly skilled in the art of linocut.

Marion Nicoll, Untitled [Christmas card], date unknown.

Calgary artists Marion and Jim Nicoll sent this festive scene from their home in the Bowness neighbourhood of Calgary, where they settled in 1945. The Nicolls are among the most influential figures in the history of the arts in Calgary. Marion is recognized as one of the first abstract painters in Alberta, and had a long career as an instructor at the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art (now the Alberta College of Art and Design). Jim was a civil engineer, and though he worked for many years for the Canadian Pacific Railway and J.O.G. Sanderson, his first love was always art.

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