Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: George Swinton (1917-2002)

Artist, historian, writer.

Born at Vienna, Austria on 17 April 1917, he fled to Canada during the Second World War. He earned a degree in economics and political science from McGill University (Montreal). In the late 1940s he attended the Art Students League in New York but did not finish formal training in fine art. In 1954 he was hired to teach art at the University of Manitoba and first travelled north for the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1957. His experiences there were the basis for his books Eskimo Sculpture (1965) and Sculpture of the Eskimo (1972) which led to greater awareness of Inuit art. He taught at the University of Manitoba before departing in 1974 for Carleton University (Ottawa). His paintings hang in the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the National Gallery in Ottawa, among others. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy and the Order of Canada (1980). He was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Manitoba (1987) and he received the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation Medal (1992) and the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002). He died at Winnipeg on 21 April 2002.


“U of M confers six honorary degrees,” Winnipeg Free Press, 7 June 1987, page 22.

“Winnipeg writer gave prestige to Inuit art,” Winnipeg Free Press, 23 April 2002, page D7.

“They will never be forgotten,” Winnipeg Free Press, 31 December 2002, pages A8-A9.

We thank Don Phillipson for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 18 February 2019

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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