Robert Davidson

Tribal Affiliation: Haida
Birthplace: Hydaburg, Alaska
Birthdate: November 4, 1946


Coghlan Studio and Gallery - Aldergrove, B.C., Canada

Sept. 15, 2001 - Mar 15 2002

The show is online at
The show page will be linked to the rest of the web site on Sept 15
Robert Davidson: Retrospective Of A Haida Printmaker

Robert Davidson was one of the first northwest coast native artists to apply two dimensional design to limited edition prints. As a young artist he learned to cut his own screens and hand pull prints from them. His firsteditions were not numbered or signed. In 1970 he began numbering and signing his editions. He progressed from single color prints of traditionalHaida crest designs to two color original images developed from his ownwork in wood and silver. Today Davidson, along with his jewelry and wood carving, produces multicolored prints of contemporary Haida images. He is considered amongst his peers as the premier artist of the northwest coast art form. This collection consists of over 40 examples of Robert Davidson's early printmaking. 

Thank You

Bryant Ross - Coghlan Art


Robert Davidson is widely acclaimed as the consummate Northwest Coast Native Artist, a master
in every medium: gold, silver, wood, argillite, paper.

At an early age, Davidson began carving under the tutelage of his father, the late Claude Davidson,
Chief of the Village of Massett. Davidson's great grandfather was renowned turn of the century
Haida artist, Charles Edenshaw. Much of Robert Davidson's cultural history of the Haida was
passed on to him by his paternal grandmother, "Naanii," Florence Davidson. Florence Davidson
was raised in the old Haida ways and upon her death at the age of ninety-six took with her ancient

Robert Davidson has always taken seriously his trusteeship of his Haida knowledge and much of the focus of his life has been in reclaiming the artform and the old songs and stories. Davidson is an
accomplished singer and drummer. With his younger brother, Reg, he founded the Rainbow Creek
Dancers, which performs at major ceremonies and potlatches.

In March of 1997, the Order of Canada was bestowed upon Davidson by the Governor General of Canada and during the same month the Royal Canadian Mint released a 22 Kt gold coin in the
image of his masterpiece entitled, Raven Bringing Light to the World.

Photo provided courtesy of Ulli Steltzer from the book titled, "Eagle Transforming - The Art of Robert Davidson," copyright © 1994.

Robert Davidson - "Looking Back at Where we Came From, 2000"

The four colour serigraph, Looking Back at Where We Came From was inspired by the artist’s reflecting upon the new millennium and the inherent wisdom of not forgetting past experiences. The print shows his use of traditional imagery and form line combined with innovation on an impressive graphic scale. Frog imagery has been a constant theme in his art over the years and has been described as a “spirit helper” to his work. The energy of the Frog, able to move at the slightest whim, is responsive to changing environments and situations. His first Frog print was created in 1968 and since that time, he has refined the image in a variety of two and three dimensional media with increasing elegance and sophistication. A true Davidson trait.

ROBERT DAVIDSON is one of Canada’s most respected and important contemporary artists. A Northwest Coast native of Haida descent, he is a master carver of totem poles and masks and works in a variety of other media as a printmaker, painter and jeweler. He is also a leading figure in the renaissance of Haida art and culture. Robert Davidson is best known as an impeccable craftsman whose creative and personal interpretation of traditional Haida form is unparalleled.

Robert Charles Davidson, whose Haida name is -Guud San Glans (Eagle of the Dawn), was born November 4, 1946 in Hydaburg, Alaska. He moved with his family to Massett on Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) in 1947 and lived there until 1965 when he moved to Vancouver to complete his education at Point Grey Secondary School. It was here that he first learned the fundamentals of silkscreening. In 1966 he met Bill Reid and soon after, began an eighteen month appreticeship that launched his career as an artist. Through Reid, he met anthropologist Wilson Duff, artist Bill Holm and learned much about the Haida people and their art. In 1967 he enrolled in the Vancouver School of Art, a place he credits for developing his drawing and design skills.

Robert Davidson was surrounded by fine carving from an early age as both his father, Claude Davidson and grandfather, Robert Davidson Sr. were respected carvers in Massett. His great grandfather was the famed Haida carver Charles Edenshaw. Robert began carving at the age of 13 when his father insisted he carry on the family artistic tradition. Since that time, he has continued to explore the carved form in a variety of traditional and non-traditional media including bronze. He is now the consummate Haida artist whose strong rhythms and personal style are immediately recognizable and sought the world over.

For more than thirty years, Robert Davidson has worked as an artist and has produced an internationally acclaimed body of work. His work is found in a number of important private and public collections including the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebec, the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles and of course, the Artists For Kids Gallery in North Vancouver. He has also received many honours for his accomplishments. In 1995 he received the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for his contribution to First Nations art and culture. He holds honourary degrees from the University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and, the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver. He has received the Order of British Columbia and in 1996, was awarded the prestigious Order of Canada.

click the thumbnails for more information

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Human (1971)

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Grizzly Bear (1973)

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Killerwhale Fin (1973)

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Raven and Fetus (1973)

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Beaver (1969)

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Thunderbird (1970)

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Killerwhale (1975)

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Raven finned Killerwhale (1975)

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Raven , Broken Beak and Blind Fisherman (1971)

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Killerwhale (1970)

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Sea Monster (1976)

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Killerwhale (1973)

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Chest End Design

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Sea Bear Box Front (1969)

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Sea Bear Box Back (1969)

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Feather Design #1 (1972)

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Feather Design #2 (1972)

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Feather Design #3 (1972)

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Feather Design #4 (1972)

Most of these feather designs are available in both black and beige backgrounds.

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Feather Design #5 (1972)

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Wolf Box Front

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Wolf Box Back

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Raven with Broken Beak (1975)

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Moon #1 (1978)

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Moon #2 (1976)

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Moon #3 (1976)

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Eagle (1969)

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Beaver (1972)

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Split Beaver (1975)

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Thunderbird (1970)

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Negative and Positive

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Dogfish (1969)

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Change of Address

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Sara's Birth Announcement

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Exhibition Invitation

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Bentwood Box

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Raven with Broken Beak

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Benjamin's Birth




Artists for Kids Trust,
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Telephone (604) 903-3797 Fax: (604) 903-3778

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