When Doris McCarthy passed away in 2010, she left behind an impressive legacy. In her final year, McCarthy celebrated not only her one hundredth birthday, but also the opening of a major retrospective entitled Roughing It in the Bush, curated by Nancy Campbell and presented concurrently at the Doris McCarthy Gallery and the University of Toronto Art Centre.
She studied at the Ontario College of Art having won a full scholarship, awarded to her by Group of Seven member Arthur Lismer in 1926.
McCarthy is the recipient of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario, as well as numerous fellowships and honorary doctorates from institutions across Canada, including the University of Toronto and the Ontario College of Art and Design. She was also named the first Artist of Honour by the McMichael Canadian Collection. McCarthy wrote a two-part autobiography: A Fool in Paradise and The Good Wine. Two subsequent books, My Life, an abridged version of her autobiographies written with Charis Wahl and Ninety Years Wise, are still available at the gallery. Three major retrospective catalogues, Celebrating Life, Doris McCarthy: Everything Which Is Yes and Roughing It in the Bush, are also available.
Her work has been widely exhibited and collected. Among the numerous private and public collections across Canada and abroad are the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Glenbow Museum, Calgary, the London Regional Art Gallery, the High Court of Australia, Canberra; The Royal Collection, Windsor Castle; and the Doris McCarthy Gallery, University of Toronto, Scarborough, where her archives are also housed.
In his third edition of The Concise History of Canadian Painting, Dennis Reid states:
“— Following her retirement in 1972 from [teaching at]Central Technical School, Toronto, she began exhibiting commercially on a more regular basis, not just in Toronto but in Ottawa, Calgary and later Winnipeg, showing work that some saw as a fresh take on the Canadian landscape tradition. She made the first of a number of trips to the Arctic in 1972, and that encouraged greater boldness with light, colour and pattern, and in 1977 she began painting larger canvases that emphasized this confident command of formal issues even more. She began showing with Aggregation Gallery in Toronto in 1979 (which became Wynick/Tuck Galley in 1982), and her subsequent regular showings there assured close critical attention to both the work of the half century already accomplished and the new, always fresh work that continued through the nineties and beyond. A major retrospective exhibition at the McMichael Canadian Collection in Kleinberg, Ontario, that opened late in 1999, Celebrating Life: The Art of Doris McCarthy, was a clear measure of the level of recognition that had finally come her way.”
Exhibitions from 2002-2012: on the archived WTG site.