Dorothy Knowles, Canadian landscape painter


Canadian landscape painter, Dorothy Knowles painting

Dorothy Knowles, Canadian landscape painter

Dorothy Knowles is one of Canada’s most prominent painters. Born  in Unity, Saskatchewan, in 1927, she is a  prolific artist with a devoted studio practice. Knowles has spent nearly 70 years at her craft, maintaining an artistic and intellectual dialogue with many established artists such as her late husband, Colourfield painter, William Perehudoff; and her friend and former art teacher, the late watercolourist, Reta Cowley.


Primarily known as a Canadian landscape painter, Dorothy Knowles is at ease with both large scale and small formats, and uses a variety of media, including acrylic, oil and water colour paint, charcoal and pastel.

Canadian Landscape painting

Dorothy Knowles history

After studying at the University of Saskatchewan, she attended Goldsmith School of Art in London, England, before marrying Perehudoff in Paris in 1951. It was at a 1962 Emma Lake Artist Workshop in northern Saskatchewan that the notable modern art critic Clement Greenberg encouraged Knowles to continue her focus on the landscape despite the modernist preoccupation with hard-edge abstraction. Since then, Knowles has developed a style that combines the classical traditions of composition with the loose brushwork evocative of pleine air sketches, transforming the Canadian landscape into works of pictorial and formal inventiveness that reflect her strong connection to ‘place,’ especially to Western Canada where she was born and still lives today.


In 2017 Dorothy Knowles was awarded the Canada 150 Medal. In 1987 she was given the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in
recognition of her contribution to the art and culture of the province. in 2012 she was a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and in 2004, she was awarded the designation of Member of the Order of Canada. 

Art collections

Knowles’ work is widely collected in public and private art collections all over North America including the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; the Boston Museum; the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, the Portland Art Museum; the National Gallery of Canada and many more.