Lynn Sissons

Arts, Culture & Heritage

Above image: Lynn Sissons (Canadian, 1889-1985). From 6th Floor, London Towers (From 6th Floor, London Towers / Roslyn Road), 1968. Watercolour, graphic on paper. 39.4 x 57.3 cm. Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. Blair MacAulay, G-85-11. Photograph: Earnest Mayer, courtesy of the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

The Road to 100

Honouring those who have shaped our community through The Foundation.

Shaping Winnipeg’s artistic scene: Lynn Sissons

Winnipeg has long been renowned as a vital centre of contemporary art. Women have been instrumental in earning this desired reputation.

Lynn Sissons was born Sept. 13, 1889 on Maple Farm, the family’s homestead west of Portage la Prairie. The daughter of Thomas and Mary Ann Sissons, and a member of the third generation of Sissons on that farmstead, Lynn was one of seven daughters and two sons.  

In 1921 she came to Winnipeg to study art. Since childhood, art was her passion. She acknowledged the role played by her teachers at the Winnipeg School of Art and the University of Manitoba School of Art. Notable among them were Lemoine Fitzgerald, Franz Johnston, Joe Plaskett, Walter J. Phillips and George Swinton.

Lynn developed her own expressive style. Her watercolours have been exhibited not only in Manitoba, but across Canada. In 1961 she had a one person show at the Winnipeg Art Gallery as part of its 50th anniversary. She is represented in the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s permanent collection and in private and public collections throughout the continent. 

Her activities in other arts were significant, including set and costume design and execution for Winnipeg’s Little Theatre and years of service as treasurer of the Poetry Society of Winnipeg.

Miss Sissons served as President for the Winnipeg Sketch Club and the Manitoba Society of Artists, and was given honorary life memberships for both. She was also given a gold medal from the Manitoba Historical Society.

On her 90th birthday the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts awarded her their first Citation of Merit “for distinguished serviced to the visual arts over a long period of time in Canada.” Until shortly before her death she continued to paint, enter competitions and win top prizes. 

When Lynn Sissons died in 1985 a fund was set up at The Winnipeg Foundation from her estate to benefit “students of water colours attending at a School of Art in Metropolitan Winnipeg or enrolled in the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Manitoba.” Lynn remembered how she had benefited from the support of others in her artistic journey. We are proud to remember her legacy and her commitment in assisting the next generation. 

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