Artist Vivian Lindoe in 1946.

Artist Feature: Vivian Lindoe


One of our priorities at Glenbow is to celebrate the art and culture of this place and be a centre for artists’ stories. Behind the scenes, many of our team members study groundbreaking artists of the past—especially those whose stories have been overlooked or forgotten—and work closely with contemporary artists who are doing transformative work today. In a new series on our blog, we’re delighted to be presenting artists’ stories. Read on to learn about Vivian Lindoe, one of the leading artists in mid-century Calgary.

Vivian Carroll Lamont was born in Calgary in 1918. In later life, commenting on how her childhood influenced her art, she stated, “As a child, we lived on the outskirts of the city, so my orientation was toward the nature of the prairie space around me. This affinity with nature—rocks, plants, insects, birds and animals is a continuing necessity. I strive to portray, in whichever medium I work, the unity between life forms or the feeling of oneness of all things.” [1]

In 1937, Lamont began studying at the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art in Calgary, where the faculty included H. G. Glyde and Marion Mackay (later Marion Nicoll). Two years later, Lamont’s work was featured in a student exhibition held at the Hudson’s Bay Company, and her submissions, among them illustrations of the Sleepy Hollow legend and the story of the Sword in the Stone, were praised for their representations of movement. [2]

It was through her studies that Lamont met Luke Lindoe, who was also taking classes at the Institute in the late 1930s. The couple married in 1940, and in the early years of their marriage they moved frequently: first to Toronto, where Luke Lindoe studied at the Ontario College of Art in 1940–41; then to Medicine Hat, where he worked with Medicine Hat Potteries; then to Calgary, where he soon learned of an opportunity to work as an instrument specialist for Imperial Oil’s expeditions in Saskatchewan, a position he held from 1942 to 1945. Vivian Lindoe accompanied her husband and assisted him with his geological work, both before and after the birth of their first child, Allan, in 1944.

Throughout the 1940s and the 1950s, the Lindoes worked on creative projects together as well as individually. In 1945, they moved to British Columbia, settling in Salmon Arm with the intention that Luke Lindoe would be able to pursue his art full-time. Although they moved to Calgary the following year and he joined the faculty at the Institute, they both continued painting. In 1947, they held a joint exhibition at Coste House, then the main arts centre in Calgary, that also toured to Edmonton and Saskatoon. Writing in the Edmonton Journal, a reviewer noted the Lindoes’ artistic independence: “There is no similarity in their pictures, each preserves an identity and yet both are strongly imaginative, possess a marked sense of design, rhythm and mood and are skillful handlers of their respective techniques.” [3] Both Lindoes joined the Calgary Group in 1947, and when Jock Macdonald wrote about the group’s formation for Canadian Art, Vivian’s painting Spring was one of only two illustrations; he declared her work was distinctive in “using animals and birds as forms to achieve rhythmic compositions which are distinctive in their fantasy and mood.” [4] The following year, the Calgary Group’s exhibition began a national tour, while in Calgary, the Lindoes welcomed their second child, Carroll.

The Calgary Group’s work and new interest in modern art at Coste House led to new exhibiting opportunities. In 1950, Vivian Lindoe participated in Four Calgary Women Artists, an exhibition held at Coste House that also featured the work of Marion Nicoll, Janet Mitchell, and Helen Stadelbauer and focused on experiments with abstraction in painting. The show was described as an experience for those “who revel in the ultra-modern in art,” and the Calgary Herald noted that Lindoe used “brilliant colors […] to produce distinct, although abstract patterns.” [5] Later in the 1950s, she continued to submit her work to group exhibitions, including the prestigious Jubilee Exhibition of Alberta Painting, held at Coste House in 1955 in honour of Alberta’s fiftieth anniversary.

In 1954, Luke Lindoe established Lindoe Studios with the intention of creating a ceramics studio business, and Vivian played an important role in the company. The Lindoes designed the space together, and he later noted that she had a gift for spatial planning. [6] She was also deeply involved in production, particularly glazing: an article from the Calgary Herald in 1955 noted that he was “well-known for his beautiful ceramics” but “Mrs. Lindoe does much of the planning of shapes for his work and decorates them. This she manages to do by getting up at five o’clock every morning. She must get her housework done and the children off to school before she can devote her time to her artistic endeavors.” [7] Though it is clear that Lindoe had significant household responsibilities, she still made time for her own art, continuing to paint, working in the ceramics studio, and creating batiks and furniture. Such a wide-ranging creative practice was not unusual at the time: many of the Lindoes’ friends, including Marion Nicoll, Wes Irwin, and Janet Mitchell, were also working in a range of media. In contrast, Luke Lindoe chose to cease painting to concentrate on sculpture and ceramics, and by 1957, the Lindoes’ ceramics were receiving national acclaim.

The Lindoes’ marriage ended in 1961, and the early 1960s was a pivotal period for Vivian Lindoe’s art. She studied at the Institute Allende de San Miguel in Mexico in the summer of 1961 (this art school attracted several prominent Calgary artists in the 1950s, including Roy Kiyooka and Ron (Gyo-Zo) Spickett). After returning home, she joined the staff of Ceramic Arts, Calgary. In 1962, she had her first solo exhibition, a selection of nineteen paintings (many influenced by her time in Mexico) that was displayed at the Bowness Recreation Centre, and, the following year, at the Calgary Allied Arts Centre. In an interview, she explained that she saw herself as an Expressionist painter, and she hoped to paint more in the years ahead. [8]

Around 1966, Vivian Lindoe built a home in Salmon Arm, on a hill that overlooked Shuswap Lake, and she lived there until the mid 1990s. Soon after moving to Salmon Arm, she began work on an important series of prints, experimenting with silk-screening. In the 1970s she was increasingly known as a printmaker, and in 1972, Calgary Galleries held an exhibition of her serigraphs. In an artist statement for that exhibition, she spoke about her interest in nature, noting that “At present I am living in the interior of B.C. on an acreage teeming with life. Bear, deer, pheasants, gophers, and insects help eat the garden, and all the elements have a direct bearing on survival, or ease of survival.” [9] She would continue to work in printmaking throughout the 1970s, exploring subjects such as animals, trees, and dancers and continuing to emphasize movement and organic forms in her compositions; in 1977, she held an exhibition of her silkscreens in Salmon Arm.  

Vivian Lindoe died in 2006. Though her work has never been the subject of a retrospective, in 2022 the Salmon Arm Arts Centre held an exhibition titled In Dialogue with Vivian Lindoe, in which they invited ten artists to reflect on and respond to her serigraphs.

Would you like to contribute to Glenbow’s research on Vivian Lindoe? We’d love to hear from you!
Please email Jocelyn Anderson, Director, JR Shaw Institute for Art in Canada, at


[1] University of Calgary, Vivian Lindoe Artist File.
[2] “Technology Institute’s Annual Exhibit of Work Interesting, Instructive,” Calgary Herald, May 20, 1939.
[3] F. H. Norbury, “Two B. C. Artists Offer Show Here,” Edmonton Journal, March 26, 1947.
[4] James W.G. Macdonald, “Heralding a New Group,” Canadian Art 5 (October – November 1947): 35. The other illustration was a still life by W. L. Stevenson.
[5] “Abstract Art Technique Shown at Coste House,” Calgary Herald, October 14, 1950.
[6] Come Walk With Me: A Luke Lindoe Retrospective (Medicine Hat: Medicine Hat Museum and Art Gallery, 1992), 14.
[7] Linda Curtis, “Work of Local Artists to Be Sold at Coste House,” Calgary Herald, December 3, 1955.
[8] Ken Preston, “Show Woman’s First Splash at Art Fame,” Calgary Herald, February 24, 1962.
[9] University of Calgary, Vivian Lindoe Artist File.

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