Fonds SC626 - Pnina Granirer fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Pnina Granirer fonds

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  • Textual record
  • Graphic material
  • Moving images

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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  • 1960-2020 (Creation)
    Granirer, Pnina, 1935-

Physical description area

Physical description

1.6 m of textual records and other material
2.58 GB of digital materials

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Pnina Granirer (b. 1935) is a Romanian-born Canadian painter and writer. Granirer grew up in Nazi-allied Romania, and attended a Catholic girls’ school that accepted Jewish students. In 1950, Granirer and her mother joined her father in Israel as pressures to join the Communist Party in Romania increased under the new political regime. At fifteen years old, life in Israel was an exciting adventure. Granirer painted Walt Disney images on cuckoo-clocks and lampshades for children’s rooms, and eventually adopted the name “Pnina,” a popular Hebrew name meaning “pearl” (Ted Lindberg, Pnina Granirer: Portrait of an Artist, p. 20). In 1954, she married Edmond (Eddy) Granirer, a fellow Romanian. She attended the Bezalel School of Art in Jerusalem, the only art school in the country. Granirer worked illustrating books and making educational filmstrips for school, which she was able to do from home while caring for her first son, David Eran.

From 1962 to 1965, the family lived in the U.S. Her husband, a mathematician, secured a teaching position at the University of Urbana in Illinois, and later at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, two years later. During this time when she was not permitted to work due to her visa, Granirer began working with woodblock prints, drawings, watercolours, and mixed-media compositions.

The Granirers moved to Canada in 1965, first to Vancouver for her husband’s appointment at the University of British Columbia, and then to Montreal in 1966. The following year, the Granirers decided to remain in Canada, settling in Vancouver.

Granirer’s second son, Dan Michael, was born in 1968. Creating art and exhibiting her work, as well as having a family and running a household was important to Granirer. She frequently drew inspiration from her children and her own childhood, and also focused on educating young people about the appreciation and enjoyment of art.

A mixed-media artist, Granirer produced her work in series and suites, and her art has been exhibited locally, nationally, and internationally. Influenced by fairy tales and folk art, as well as her diverse experience of cultures, Granirer often explores themes of family and childhood, the duality of good and evil, landscape, and immigrant experiences. Among her many solo exhibitions are The Kite Series (1972) at the Burnaby Art Gallery; West Coast Images (1975) at the University Women’s Club and Bau-Xi Gallery, both in Vancouver; Childhood Magic (1978) at Bau-Xi Gallery; Coast Forest Images (1979) at Bau-Xi Gallery; the Cannibal Bird Suite (1981-82) at the Burnaby Art Gallery; Family Portraits (1984-85) at various galleries including the Calgary Jewish Centre, Bau-Xi Gallery, and the Koffler Gallery; Carved Stones Suite (1989) at Alliance Française; In Search of Eden (1995) at Torres Gallery in Vancouver; Synchronicity (1997) at Oktavia Gallery; Dancers (2001) at Ballard Lederer Gallery in Vancouver; The Dancers’ Suite (2002) at the Yukon Arts Centre; and Floating Dancers (2005) at the Seymour Art Gallery in North Vancouver.

Granirer’s work is featured permanently in galleries such as the University of Victoria Legacy Art Galleries; the Richmond Art Gallery; and the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Alberta. The triptych Sorrow/Hope/Truth is featured at Government House in Victoria, B.C.

Granirer has also published books accompanied with her illustrations, including The Trials of Eve (1990) and Light within the Shadows: A Painter’s Memoir (2017). In 1998, the Richmond Art Gallery held a forty-year retrospective of her work curated by Gregg Simpson. Ronsdale Press published Pnina Granirer: Portrait of an Artist by Ted Lindberg in 1998, which analyzes Granirer’s art throughout her life as a young girl in Romania, a student in Israel, and her career in Canada.

In 1993, along with artist and friend Anne Adams, Granirer co-founded Artists in Our Midst, a project for community participation in the arts.

Custodial history

Donated by Pnina Granirer in 2020.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of records produced by and about Pnina Granirer throughout her career as an artist and a writer. Ephemeral material include posters, cards, pamphlets, and brochures of exhibition invitations and advertisements of Granirer’s work. Granirer also accumulated published materials, such as magazines and books where her work was featured. Photographic and film records relate to Granirer’s exhibition openings and interviews. Textual records include interviews, artist statements, texts, and lectures, as well as guestbooks with exhibition visitors’ comments and letters. The fonds includes 18 notebooks with Granirer’s diaries and sketches. Correspondence records include financial documents and letters relating to exhibition donations, transactions, and sales. Entire published works about and by Granirer can be found at the University of Victoria Libraries catalogue. A flash drive of 2.58GB of materials includes biographical information, as well as PowerPoint slideshows of samples of Granirer’s artworks.

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The fonds is arranged into eleven series: 1. Exhibition invitations and advertisements; 2. Exhibition catalogues and press releases; 3. Exhibition documentation; 4. Diaries and sketchbooks; 5. Guest books and visitors’ comments; 6. Artist statements and lecture notes; 7. Films and interviews; 8. Artists in Our Midst; 9. Correspondence; 10. Published materials and featured art; and 11. Digital materials. Original order is maintained for much of the fonds. The archivist arranged some of the correspondence files chronologically for ease of access.

Language of material

  • Chinese
  • English
  • Hebrew
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Spanish

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