Fonds 1613 - Irene Romana Nosyk fonds

Identity area

Reference code

UTA 1613


Irene Romana Nosyk fonds


  • ca 1957-1969 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

8 m of graphic records (13 artworks)
57 digital images (jpg)

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Irene Romana Nosyk was born in Chortkiv in Western Ukraine on May 30, 1928. Following the war, she and her parents moved to Prague, Czech Republic and later Innsbruck, Austria where she received her early education and developed her artistic talent. She studied art at the University of Innsbruck from 1945-1949 and in 1949 at The Art Academy of the well-known Austrian artist Kirchmayer. According to a Toronto Star article published in January 1957, “In 1947 three of her portraits were included in a collection at the Innsbruck gallery. A year later they were sent to Switzerland exhibits.” While attending the University she was offered a scholarship to study art in Rome by the international organization Pax Romana. But her family had already decided to move to Canada, and the fall of 1949, Irene, with her parents, Ivan and Lydia, arrived in Winnipeg.

The following year they moved to Toronto, and her father soon found work as a Lab assistant with the Department of Zoology at the University of Toronto. Irene resumed her art studies at the Ontario College of Art, but did not graduate. It was during this time that the University’s Department of Zoology was looking for a staff artist to produce drawings of specimens to illustrate lectures and publications. Professor Coventry, and the then Chair of the department, Prof. J. R. Dymond interviewed Irene and on seeing samples of her art work, hired her immediately in 1952. During her more than twenty years with the department, Ms Nosyk produced over 2000 wall charts and numerous illustrations as teaching aids and for publications.(See A2007-0019) The wall charts, measuring an average of 6 feet by 4 feet, were used for more than 35 years by academic staff to illustrate lectures. As the only scientific staff artist, Ms Nosyk sketched frequently from live specimens viewed through her microscope. For the first ten years, her studio was located in the old Botany building at 6 Queen’s Park Crescent. When the new Ramsay Wright Zoological Laboratories building opened in 1965 she moved to the new building and as well, produced a number of paintings in celebration. The Department, however, did not acquire any of these for the new building.

Irene remained with the department for more than twenty years, resigning in 1976 to take a position as staff artist at a medical clinic in New York. Unfortunately, her parents’ advanced age and fragile health, forced her to return to Toronto within months of her appointment.

Irene also specializes in oil, acrylic, color inks and mosaics. Over the years she has participated in numerous art exhibitions and shows. Her art is found in many private collections in North American and remains an active member of The Ukrainian Association of Visual Arts in Canada.

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Scope and content

This fonds consists of 13 works of art depicting various zoological specimens. A series of 7 works of art are oil on canvas and framed. They are for the most part untitled works, depicting the origin of life, algae, and caterpillars, among others, and were originally produced for an exhibition in the late 1960s. An unframed series of 6 oil on canvas paintings were produced by the artist for the University’s new Zoology building which opened in 1965. They were not acquired by the Department and never exhibited in the building.
This accession also contains 14 digital photographs showing Irene Nosyk painting charts for the Department of Zoology as well as 43 digital scans of an original scrapbook documenting Nosyk's work at the University of Toronto.

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