|Edythe Hembroff was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in 1906. Moving to Victoria with her family in
1912, she attended Victoria High School, studied art in San Francisco and Paris, and continued her studies
by traveling throughout Europe, sketching and painting in oils and watercolours, and freely experimenting in
the latest artistic fashions.
Returning to Victoria in 1930, Hembroff met Emily Carr, with whom she shared the experience of having
attended three of the same art schools in England, France and California. Thus began an enduring
friendship which would involve three sketching trips together. Her portrait of Carr, painted on one of these
occasions, is part of the permanent collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Hembroff became a great
admirer of Carr’s work and lent her support to the latter’s rise to prominence, at the same time developing
her own distinctive painting style.
Hembroff first exhibited with the Island Arts and Crafts Society (IACS) in 1930. Her painting “Nu”, an oil-on
canvas shown at a Paris exhibition, also in 1930, won a major award at the Art Institute of Seattle later the
same year. This was one of her four paintings displayed in the “Modern Room,” organized by Max Maynard
as a component of the annual exhibition of the IACS in 1932, with the intent of introducing modern trends in
art to the traditionist art scene in Victoria. Other contributors to the Modern Room included Emily Carr, Jack
Shadbolt, Ina Uhthoff and Maynard himself.
During World War II, Hembroff joined Prisoner of War Censorship in Ottawa, where her supervisor was Dr.
Julius Schleicher, a Pole whom she eventually married. During her 20 years in Ottawa she never touched a
paintbrush. After returning to Victoria, Edythe Hembroff-Schleicher wrote her first book about Emily Carr,
entitled “M.E.”, published in 1969, and in 1978 there followed a sequel, “Emily Carr, the Untold Story.”
In 1974 she was appointed by the provincial government as a special consultant on Emily Carr, and
researched the life of her old friend diligently in the Provincial archives. In 1981, at the Emily Carr Gallery in
Victoria, she organized a partial re-creation of Max Maynard’s 1932 Modern Room. Her catalogue, written
for this event, is now a collector’s item.
Edythe Hembroff-Schleicher died in Victoria in 1988.
Photograph: Edythe Hembroff-Schleicher with Jack Shadbolt
Royal Museum of British Columbia Archives, F-09345
1906 - 1988
Past Notable Members