John Snow, 1911 - 2004

John Harold Thomas Snow was born in Vancouver in 1911.  His family moved to England during WWI, there, Snow’s English relatives fostered in him an interest in art and music.  The family returned to Olds, Alberta in 1919.  

In 1928, Snow took a job with the Royal Bank of Canada and began a distinguished banking career that would last 43 years. His career was only interrupted when he was called to service in WWII as a navigator in the Royal Canadian Air Force. 

When the war ended, and Snow returned home with a renewed interest in art. He signed up for a life drawing class with Maxwell Bates at the Provincial Institute of Technology. Bates and Snow became good friends and in 1953, they famously “rescued” two old lithographic presses with an old truck from the alley behind the Western Printing and Lithograph Company.

Bates and Snow had no idea how to run the press, but by trail and error and reading books they mastered the machine and soon both were creating artworks from the press, however, this press would define Snow’s work for the rest of his life. He produced 410 of his own lithographs, plus assisted fellow artists. such as Bates, Illingworth Kerr and Pat Gordon with editions of their lithographs. Snow was deemed a mentor to new artists and helped usher Alberta into the modernist period along with Max Bates.

Besides his career in visual art, Snow organized the Calgary Film Society in the late 1940s and served as its president. Also an accomplished musician, Snow was instrumental in creating the New Works Calgary Society, which is dedicated to presenting new compositions, many commissioned by the society. 

Snow retired from the Royal Bank 1971, his works are still proudly displayed in the bank's head office in Montreal. Snow produced numerous exhibitions throughout Canada, the U.S., Japan, France, England, Chile, Mexico, Italy, Scotland, and Australia.

He received the Alberta Order of Excellence on November 21, 1996. 

John Snow died peacefully on August 23, 2004 at the age of ninety-two, after several years of failing health.  



Selected Collections
The Feckless Collection, Vancouver, BC
Alberta's Government House in Edmonton, AB
City of Calgary, AB
Grant MacEwan Community College in Edmonton, AB
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON
Residence of the Governor General of Canada, Ottawa, ON
Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts, Toronto, ON
Royal Bank, Head office, Montreal, QB
Parks Canada, Gatineau, QB