Former Presidents

John Steegman: 1956 -1957

Charles Axlett, from The Arts & Letters Club. Source MMFA

Charles Axlett, from The Arts & Letters Club. Source MMFA

Born in Great Britain in 1899. He graduated at King Colle at University of Cambridge in 1921 with an Ordinary Degree in History and Modern Languages. After a few years of travelling, tutorships and work as an art and drama critic and a writer on art and architecture, he was employed at the National Portrait Gallery from 1926–1945, with a short break during the war years when he was lecturing for the British Council and organised the Sala de l’Alianca at the Lisbon Centenaries Exhibition. From 1945, he was Keeper of the Department of Art at the National Museum of Wales,  In 1952, he became Director of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.  Although he was more interestied in XVIII and XIX century british painting than in modern or contemporary art, he was strongly involved in the founding of AICA Canada in 1954 and 1955. He was elected it first president 1955 1957. After his resignation  from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 1959, he  returned to Great Britain spending half of each year travelling and lecturing abroad and half of the year in London entertaining friends. He died on 15 April 1966 at Coffinswell, Devon.

He published several books on aesthetics and art history, including ‘The Rule of Taste’, 1936 and Catalogue of Paintings Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Montreal, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1960.

Honours: OBE, 1952

His archives are kept at King,s College Archives Centre, Cambridge.

Rodolphe de Repentigny: 1957-1959

Photo La Presse Montréal

Photo La Presse Montréal

Elected President of AICA Canada in 1957, his tragic death in August 1959 abruptly interrupted its mandate.

Rodolphe de Repentigny , is an art critic, theorist and painter, principal representative of the Mouvement Plasticien. He signed his works under the pseudonym Jauran.

Links :


« Les peintres peignent des tableaux et non pas des êtres de la nature, non plus que des fantasmes de leur subjectivi­té. » | The painters paint pictures, not beings of nature, nor their fantasies of subjectivity

« La peinture est un langage direct, une action, et non pas, ce que l’on suppose généralement qu’est le langage parlé : une simple traduction de la pensée et de la perception. » | Painting is a direct language, action, and not, what is generally assumed that is the spoken language: a simple translation of thought and perception.

Donald Buchanan: 1959-1960

Crédit : Musée des Beaux arts du Canada avec les remerciements d'AICA-Canada

Credit : National Gallery of Canada with graditude from AICA-Canada

Donald William Buchanan was an art historian, an arts administrator and art writer, He was born in Lethbridge, Alberta, in 1908. After completing studies in modern history at the University of Toronto, he held a fellowship at the University of Oxford. In 1934, he received another fellowship from the Carnegie Corporation to train in museum administration and to complete a biography on James Wilson Morrice (1865-1924). After a career in the new media (National Film Society of Canada (1937 -1940), the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the National Film Board 19??-1947), where he established the stills division, he was employed by the National Gallery of Canada, serving as director of the Industrial Design Division (1947-1953) and later as the Gallery’s Associate Director (1955-1960). Buchanan returned to the Gallery in 1963 as a member of its Board of Trustees. In 1963, he was appointed director of the International Fine Arts Exhibition Man and His World at Expo ’67. He was the most active Canadian art critic involved in the creation  of AICA – Canada  in the mid-forties and became its third president after Rodolphe de Repentigny’s tragic death in 1958. Buchanan himself died accidentlaly, struck by a van in Ottawa in 1966.

Buchanan wrote several books on art and design during his career, including James Wilson Morrice: A Biography (1936), Canadian Painting from Paul Kane to the Group of Seven (1945), Design for Use (1947), The Growth of Canadian Painting (1950), and Alfred Pellan (1962).

In 1958, he develop an interest in photography and took a six-month leave of absence from his job at the National Gallery to photograph areas of France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Jordan. The photographs produced by Buchanan during this trip led to an exhibition entitled  A Not Always Reverent Journey: Photographs by Donald W. Buchanan (1959), organized and circulated by the National Gallery of Canada. Buchanan continued his career in photography after he retired from the National Gallery, exhibiting his work in Toronto, (1960); Rome, (1962); and Ottawa (1964). He also published two books of his photographs, A Nostalgic View of Canada (1962) and Sausages and Roses (1963).

Guy Viau: 1960-1963

Guy Viau et un Étudiant

Guy Viau et un Étudiant

Guy Viau held a leading role on the Canadian cultural scene between the middle of the forties and his sudden death on November 7th, 1971. Painter and designer, a friend of Borduas, he exhibited with the latter and with several of the young artists who were going to be known as the group Automatistes and he also became their friend. Guy Viau taught at Ecole du Meuble, a furniture design school (1948–1953), then at École des Beaux-arts de Montreal and at the Fine Arts Department at McGill University until 1961.

Guy Viau practiced art criticism from his formative years publishing papers on the visual arts in the “Latin Quarter” (1943–1945). In Paris at the turn of the 40s, he was also an independent contributor to Canadian newspapers, radio and Canadian broadcasters, where he distinguished himself as an art critic. In the fifties, he has kept on publishing articles on art in various periodicals, including Le Devoir, Cité Libre, The Canadian Architect, Vie des Arts and Canadian Art. At the turn of the 50s, he was working full time for the broadcasting media, often in the form of major international stories for CBC. Thus, we owe him several interviews for television with major artists such as Marcel Duchamp. At the NFB, he worked on several art films, including John Lyman. He is the author of Modern Painting in French Canada, Department of Cultural Affairs, 1964.

Appointed vice-president of the Arts Council of the Province of Quebec, Guy Viau was one of the kingpins of the definition and guidance of Quebec’s cultural policy in the early 60s while the Department of Cultural Affairs was then founded. He participated in the production of the White Paper of 1965, which outlined its main directions.

In 1965 he became the head of the Musée du Québec. He was appointed in 1967 deputy director of the National Gallery of Canada, a position he held until 1969. In 1969, he founded and directed the Canadian Cultural Center in Paris and was its first director. In all these positions, he continued to exercise his art talent as a writer by writing and publishing several exhibition catalogs.

Applicant for membership to AICA-Canada in 1960, he was elected president in replacing Rodolphe de Repentigny, following the accidental death of the latter the previous year. He held this post until 1963. He was also its vice-president in the late 1960s, working with its then President, Laurent Lamy, on the organization in Montreal of the XXe General Annual Assembly of this international organization in August 1970. He was the real prime coordinator of the 2nd extraordinary Congress of this association, which took place in parallel to this meeting, in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver. On the theme “Art and Perception”, he brought together several reknown art critics, including Rudolf Arnheim, Abraham Moles, Harold Rosenberg, Marshall McLuhan and Lawrence Alloway. In April 1971, while he was the director of the Canadian Cultural Center in Paris, he was the host of an international colloquium of AICA on the theme Art and communication and again he was involved in its organization.

Paul Gladu: 1963-1967

At first Paul Gladu was the art critic of Montreal newspaper Le Canada in the early fifties. Then he wrote about the visual arts in the Petit Journal in the middle of this decade while he became a collaborator of the conservative art periodical Art et pensée in 1952. He soon became a collaborator of the first real art magazine in Quebec, Vie des arts, in which he wrote occasionally until the 1970s. He also signed an article about Alfred Pellan in the periodical Agora, in 1993. He has published a few biographies about very traditional painters in the 1990s.

Accepted as an AICA-Canada member in 1963, he immediately became its president as the successor to Guy Viau, a position he held until 1967.



Laurent Lamy: 1967 – 1976

L_Lamy___a_desilet_1966©Denyse Coutu

1966©Denyse Coutu

Art critic for newspaper Le Devoir from 1962 to 1972, he also collaborated regularly to the magazine Vie des Arts. He animates or contributed to numerous arts programs for the French CBC, including L’Art aujourd’hui and Café des arts. As an author, he signed La renaissance des métiers d’arts au Canada français (Revival of Crafts in French Canada), Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Québec, 1967 and, in collaboration with Jean-Claude Hurni, Architecture contemporaine au Québec 1960-1970 (Contemporary Architecture in Quebec from 1960 to 1970), L’Hexagone, Montreal 1983. He also collaborated in the publication of exhibition catalogs for the Quebec Ministry of cultural Affairs and was the organizer of the international Biennial of arts in Montreal for several years.

From 1966 to 1988 he taught design at Cégep du Vieux-Montreal. From 1970 to 1986 he organized several exhibitions, including the Symposium of Quebec painting in La Rochelle (France), in 1980. Director of the Visual Arts Art and Culture Program of the Organizing Committee of the Montreal Olympics in 1976, he curated related exhibitions, including the famous and controversial installation exhibition Corridart.

Laurent Lamy was invited to join AICA-Canada, along with his friend and colleague Guy Viau, following the accidental death of Rodolphe de Repentigny in 1959. The association interim president, Donald Buchanan, thus sought to replace its only Francophone member and ensure better representation of francophones in the international association Canadian chapter. He assumed its presidency between 1967 and 1976. It was during his presidency that was held in Canada for the first time, an international congress of AICA which led hundreds of criticism from around the world to visit our museums, our galleries and discover the modern and contemporary Canadian art. He remained active in AICA until the early 1990s.


Virgil Hammock: 1976-1980 et 1987-1990

HammockBorn in Long Beach, California, in 1938, Virgil Hammock has been a Canadian citizen since 1973. He studied at the San Francisco Art Institute where he graduated with a BFA in 1965. After serving as a photographer in the US Army, he continued his studies at Indiana University where he obtained a M.F.A in 1967. He immigrated to Canada after being appointed to the Fine Arts Department of the University of Alberta in 1967. From 1968 to 1970, he was Assistant Professor of Art, also acting as Director of the University of Alberta Art Gallery and Museum. Later, as Associate Professor of Art at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, from 1970 − 75, he became Director of Exhibitions at the University Gallery 1.1.1, from 1970 − 1973. In 1975, he moved to Sackville, New Brunswick to become Professor of Fine Arts and Head of the Department of Fine Arts at Mount Allison University where he taught until 2004. He was also acting Director of the University’s Owens Art Gallery in 1988 and 89.The University nominated him Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts in 2005. Deeply involved in his community, Professor Hammock was a member of the New Brunswick Arts Board from 1996 − 2002, and of the New Brunswick Foundation for the Arts in 1999. Virgil Hammock was President of the University’s Art Association of Canada between 1973 − 79.

Professor Hammock has also been fully involved in art criticism since 1968 when he became the art critic for the Edmonton Journal. He is the author and co-author of several art books and artist monographs. He also published numerous articles in Canadian and international journals and magazines, particularly art magazines. He is, since 1973, the Atlantic provinces correspondent for Vie des Arts where he regularly publishes. His published articles and commentary can be found at

A member of the editorial board of Vie des Art (1973 − 80), Artfocus (1990 − 2011),  and Artsatlantic (1999 − 2004), Professor Hammock is currently Adjunct Curator at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton, New Brunswick and has already curated several exhibitions for the gallery. Recent publications include The Circle Completed in Redeemed: Restoring the Lost Free Ross Mural, UNB Art Center, University of New Brunswick (2013) and In Plain Sight, Off the Grid, Beaverbrook Art Gallery (2014).

A member of AICA Canada since 1973, Virgil Hammock was a member of its board from 1975 to 2014 and was twice elected President between 1977 − 80 and 1987 − 91. He was also Vice-President of the AICA International board between 1987 and 90. He was nominated AICA-Canada President Emeritus in 2014.


Andrée Paradis: 1980-1986

Portrait Andrée Paradis Le bonBorn in Montreal on May 26, 1919, Andrée Paradis died on August 27, 1986. A leading figure in the Canadian art world, and on the international scene, she created and directed the magazine Vie des Art from 1964 until her death in 1986.

During her career, she addressed all facets of art criticism. From 1954 to 1965, she participated as a host and columnist on various cultural and visual arts programs for radio and television. Between 1980 to 1983, she taught art history at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières.

Beginning in the 1960s, Andrée Paradis was also a member of the board of several government agencies and commissions helping to define the cultural policies of Canada and Quebec. Thus, she was a founding member of the Canada Council and of its Arts Advisory board and she was the founding Vice-President of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO from 1960 to 1962. She also had a seat on the Quebec Conservation Commission (1972-1977) and on the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board (1977-1982). Moreover, she was a member of the Arts Council of Metropolitan Montreal, an organization of which she was the Vice-President from 1971 to 1975. Commissioner for arts education in Quebec from 1966 to 1968, she was a member of the Quebec University Council from 1974 to 1978.

Andrée Paradis received the Centennial medal of Canada in 1967 and was nominated officer of the Order of Canada in 1969.

Andrée Paradis chaired the Canadian section of the International Association of Art Critics (1977-1981). She was again president of AICA-Canada from 1983 to her death in 1986. She was also a much-appreciated Vice-President of AICA-International.

Normand Biron: 1991-2001

biron3(1)Born in 1946 in Quebec, Normand Biron did his university studies in literature at Laval University (Quebec), then at the University of Aix-en-Provence (France) and the University of Haute Bretagne (France), as well as studying ethnopsychoanalysis at l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Paris, where he lived from 1970 to 1984.

As a journalist and author, between 1970 and 1980, Normand Biron interviewed more than 300 writers and artists worldwide for cultural programs of Radio Canada and for articles in specialized journals. From 1980 to 1984, he was in charge of public relations at the Canadian Cultural Center in Paris. From 1970 until today, he has been a lecturer alternating between the University of Montreal, Laval University (Quebec), Concordia University (Montreal) and the University of Quebec in Montreal.

Since 1988, he has been Commissioner for International Cultural Relations and for the Award of Excellence of the Department of Culture of the City of Montreal. From 1975- 2001 he was a member of several juries, including the Canada Council for the Arts, the International Festival of Films on Art, the Albert Dumouchel Award, the Francophone Games in Morocco, the Montreal Biennale, the National Award for Monumental Art in Mexico, the Biennale of Young painting in Bolivia, and the Alexandria Biennale of Mediterranean Countries.

He has published three books of essays: Paroles de l’Art, Montreal, Québec/Amérique, 1988; L’artiste et le critique et L’art peut-il s’écrire ? (1975-2000), Montréal, Liber, 2000 ; and L’œil énamouré. Préfaces, mélanges et postiche, Montréal, Liber, 2001. He wrote prefaces for numerous exhibitions and published widely, including in Le Devoir, where he was the art critic for four years. He also wrote for La Nouvelle revue d’esthétique (Paris), Vie des Arts, le Cahier des Arts Visuels, Espace, and Liberté. As guest curator, he has curated several exhibitions in museums, including the Museum of Printing in Lyon (France). He has lectured widely in Canada and abroad.

He has received numerous awards including the title of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French Republic (2006), the Médaille du mérite from the Jacques Cartier Centre (France), and a medal of honor from the Great Library of Alexandria.

Member of AICA since 1975, he was its President from 1991 to 2000. He was also an International Vice President of AICA (1991 to 1995). Since 2001 he is President Emeritus of AICA-Canada.


Ken Carpenter:  2001-2010


Ken Carpenter at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo.

KEN CARPENTER was born in Cabri, Saskatchewan, in 1939 and was educated at the universities of Toronto (B.A.), California (M.A.) and London (Ph. D.).

He taught at York University from 1964 to 2013, where his main subjects were art history and criticism. Carpenter was Chair of the Department of Visual Arts from 1996-2000. He has received awards for excellence in teaching from both the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations and the Faculty of Fine Arts of York University.

He has been guest critic at the Emma Lake Artists’ Workshop, has organized a number of exhibitions on artists such as Jack Bush and Sir Anthony Caro. He has published five books and exhibition and almost 100 articles on contemporary art in encyclopaedias, scholarly journals and art magazines such as Abstract critical, Art in America, Art International, Border Crossings, Canadian Art, Canadian Aesthetics Journal, Canadian Encyclopaedia, Dictionary of Art, Journal of Canadian Art History, RACAR (Canadian Art Review/Revue d’Art Canadienne), Studio International and Vie des Arts.  Ken Carpenter has served on a number of museum boards and for nine years was President of AICA-Canada, the Canadian Section of the International Association of Art Critics. He was nominated AICA – Canada President Emeritus by his peers.