- 1933-1994 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
7.7 m of textual records and other material
Name of creator
Michael James Aleck Snow (1928-2023) was a Canadian painter, sculptor, filmmaker, photographer and musician. He was born in Toronto and educated at Upper Canada College and subsequently at the Ontario College of Art (1948-1952). After travels in Europe (1953-54) he worked for Graphic Films in Toronto (1955-56), producing his first independent film, A-Z. His first solo exhibition as a painter was at the Greenwich Gallery in Toronto in 1956. Between 1961 and 1967, mostly while living in New York, Snow produced work in the Pop-art mode based on the silhouette of a young woman, entitled Walking Woman, probably his most widely recognized creation. A series of 11 stainless steel sculptures of the image was created for the Ontario pavilion at Expo 67 and is now in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario. After moving to New York in 1964, he made films regarded as Minimalist, such as New York Ear and Eye Control (1964) and Wavelength (1966-67). Returning to Toronto in 1972, Snow worked mainly on cinematic and photographic projects including ‘Rameau’s Nephew’ by Diderot (Thanx to Dennis Young) by Wilma Schoen. His work is concerned with the nature of media themselves, with perception and with the interrelation of language, sound and meaning. Snow has been the subject of exhibitions and retrospectives in Toronto, Vancouver and Paris.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
The Michael Snow fonds was donated by the artist in 1992 and 1996.
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Fonds consists of Michael Snow’s correspondence with family, other artists, musicians, filmmakers, dealers and curators; sketchbooks, art portfolios and sound recordings of the artist’s work; photo-documentation and other materials related to his artworks, publications, music and films; financial and legal records; reviews and other writings about the artist; posters and promotional material from exhibitions. Fonds is comprised of the following series: Correspondence (1992 donation) Walking Woman projects Film projects (1992 donation) Music projects (1992 donation) Other artistic projects (1992 donation) Public commissions (1992 donation) Financial records (1992 donation) Legal records (1992 donation) Reviews Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre Publications Sketchbooks Early portfolios Correspondence (1996 donation) Film projects (1996 donation) Other artistic projects (1996 donation) Public commissions (1996 donation) Music projects (1996 donation) Book/writing projects Secondary writings/Writings on Snow Financial records (1996 donation) Legal records (1996 donation) Posters Mailers
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
Further accruals are expected.
System of arrangement
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Conditions governing reproduction
As set out in the terms of the deed of gift, no material in the fonds may be published or exhibited in such a way as to suggest that it is a completed work of art. It may be used in a didactic context but must be identified as forming part of the Michael Snow fonds. Copyright is held by the creator. Copyright belonging to other parties, such as that of photographs, may still rest with the creator(s) of these items. It is the researcher’s responsibility to obtain permission to publish any part of the fonds.
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Language and script notes
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Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
Includes 40 posters, 10 portfolios, 10 sketchbooks, 8 sound recordings
Some documents in French, German, Hungarian, Polish, Dutch and Japanese.
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Description control area
Rules and/or conventions used
Level of detail
Dates of creation revision deletion
Prepared by Alain Giroux, 1992 and Kathleen McLean, 1996.Modified by Amy Marshall with assistance from Gary Fitzgibbon, 2005 and 2018
Uploaded and adapted by Nirvana Chainani,2019.