The A. J. Casson Award is given to an artist whose work is considered the best submission to the annual "Open Water" competition organized by the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour (CSPWC). It is named after Alfred Joseph Casson (1898–1992), painter. and a member of Canada's "Group of Seven". It is officially given "for outstanding achievement in watercolour painting" and is considered Canada's most significant award in this most challenging medium.
"Open Water" is as implied open to any artist working in watercolour. The juried exhibitions have over the years been held in a number of notable exhibition venues including The National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa, Ontario), The Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto, Ontario), The Beaverbrook Art Gallery (Fredericton, New Brunswick), The University of Alberta [Edmonton], The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Halifax), The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (British Columbia), The Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (Brampton, Ontario) and the John B. Aird Gallery (Toronto, Ontario).
The award consists of a bronze medal created by Dora de Pedery-Hunt which carries an image inspired by one of Casson's most iconic landscapes. The naming of the award in honour of a beloved CSPWC member and the longest surviving founder of the Society was approved by Casson himself shortly before his death. He was actively involved in the selection of the image and in approving the first sculpted maquette.
Accompanied by a cash award the medal was first presented in 1991 when it replaced the CSPWC's Honour Award, a diploma, which had been presented annually from 1956 onwards to the "outstanding watercolour of the year". During a transition period 1991 to 1997 the medal was accompanied by the Honour Award diploma but the latter was phased out in 1998.
|1956-1990||Honour Award Recipients||1991-2011||A. J. Casson Award Winners|
|1956||Tom Hodgson||1991||Michael Dobson|
|1957||Maxwell Bates||1992||Sam Black|
|1958||Ethel Raicus||1993||June Selznick Drutz|
|1959||Marion Greenstone||1994||John Inglis|
|1960||William Roberts||1995||Neville Clarke |
|1961||Bobs Cogill Haworth||1996||Anthony J. Batten|
|1962||Peter Kolisnyk||1997||June Selznick Drutz|
|1963||Herbert Ariss||1998||David Ladmore|
|1964||Goodridge Roberts||1999||Neville Clarke|
|1965||Ray Cattell||2000||Daniel Barklay|
|1966||D. Mackay Houston||2001||Marilyn Blumer Cochrane|
|1967||John Henry Martin||2002||Vivian Thierfelder|
|1968||Bobs Cogill Haworth||2003||Chow Jian Sheng|
|1969||Harriet Manore Carter||2004||Karen Wilson|
|1970||Eric Freifeld||2005||David McEown|
|1971||Ray Cattell||2006||Jennifer Annesley|
|1972||Tom LaPierre||2007||Joanne Lucas Warren|
|1973||John Newman||2008||Linda Kemp|
|1974||Dainis Miezajs||2009||William Rogers|
|1975||Ray Cattell||2010||Josy Britton|
|1976||June Selznick Drutz||2011||Pat Fairhead|
|1977||Les Tait||2012||Daniel Barkley|
|1978||recipient unknown||2013||Andrew Kish III|
|1979||Janet Mitchell||2014||Lisa O'Regan|
|1980||Tom LaPierre||2015||Jansen Chow|
|1981||Osvald Timmas||2016||Fan Zhang|
|1982||Sam Black||2017||Inge Kjeldgaard Tajik|
|1984||Ann MacIntosh Duff|
|1986||Bobs Cogill Haworth|
|1989||June Selznick Drutz|
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