David Blackwood in his studio.

A new print.

With the copper plate.

Photos and site design: Stephen Amini

David Blackwood is one of Canada’s most respected visual storytellers. His narrative work reflects the legend, toughness and landscape of Newfoundland- an historic journey not that far removed in essence and time.

Blackwood’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally with over 90 solo shows and scores of group exhibitions. He has been the subject of two major retrospective exhibitions and the National Film Board’s 1974 Academy-Award nominated documentary film BLACKWOOD.

His work has been the subject of 3 major publications:

The Art of David Blackwood, text by William Gough, McGraw-Hill Ryerson 1988

David Blackwood: Master Printmaker, text William Gough, Douglas & McIntyre 2001

Black Ice: David Blackwood Prints of Newfoundland, text by Katharine Lochnan & others, Douglas & McIntyre & The Art Gallery of Ontario 2011

Blackwood’s work may be found in virtually every major public gallery and corporate art collection in Canada, as well as in major private and public collections around the world, including the collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (The Royal Collection,Windsor Castle) and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.


In 2000, the Art Gallery of Ontario announced the creation of the Blackwood Research Centre within the Marvin Gelber Print and Drawing Centre. This will make the AGO the ‘institution of record’ for Blackwood’s work.

In making the announcement, AGO Director Matthew Teitelbaum noted that “this acquisition reflects the AGO’s commitment to build a strong permanent collection of prints and drawing, and to broadly represent the work of a significant Canadian artist.”


David Blackwood was born in 1941 in the outport community of Wesleyville, to a family with a long seafaring history. Recognized as an artistic prodigy, he was awarded a Government of Newfoundland Centennial scholarship to study at the Ontario College of Art, in Toronto. By the age of twenty-three one of his etchings had been purchased by the National Gallery of Canada.

He went on to become Art Master at Trinity College School, Port Hope, Ontario, a part time position which allowed him to teach as well as continue studio work. In 1969 he was appointed the first Artist-in-Residence at Erindale College, University of Toronto, in Mississauga, a position he held until 1975. In 1992 the Blackwood Gallery, named in his honour, was officially opened at the Erindale campus, now known as The University of Toronto in Mississauga. The same year, 1992, Blackwood was awarded two honorary degrees: a Doctor of Laws from the University of Calgary, and a Doctor of Letters from Memorial University, St. Johns.

In 1993, Blackwood was awarded the Order of Canada in recognition of his ongoing and important contributions to the cultural life and heritage of our country.

In 2000 the Art Gallery of Ontario announced the acquisition of a major collection of Blackwood prints and the creation of a Blackwood Research Centre within the Marvin Gelber Print and Drawing Centre which will make the AGO the ‘collection of record’ for the artist’s work.

In 2003 Blackwood was awarded the Order of Ontario.

In November of 2003, David Blackwood was named Honorary Chairman of the Art Gallery of Ontario, the first practising artist to be so honoured.

David Blackwood currently lives and works in Port Hope, Ontario, and maintains a studio in Wesleyville, Newfoundland.