People / Robert Davidson

Artist. Also known as Guud San Glans. Robert Davidson was born November 4, 1946 in Hydaburg, Alaska. An heir to the carving tradition of his great-grandfather, Charlie Edenshaw, Davidson first learned carving from his paternal grandfather, Robert Davidson, Sr. He apprenticed under Bill Reid beginning in 1966, and followed his teacher to the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University of Art + Design) the next year. Through Reid, Davidson met the anthropologist Wilson Duff and artist Bill Holm. While studying at the Vancouver School of Art, Davidson was also teaching carving at the Gitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Native Art at Ksan, Hazelton. His first solo show took place at the Vancouver Museum and Planetarium in 1971. Davidson’s work, like that of his teacher, is know for representing traditional Haida forms in a modernist aesthetic.

His work has been the subject of several important survey and retrospective exhibitions, including Robert Davidson: Eagle of the Dawn, which traveled from the Vancouver Art Gallery to the Museum of Civilization (1993-1994). Davidson is also the recipient of many important sculptural commissions, both national and international, such as Raven Bringing Light to the World (1986) for the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and Three Variations of Killer Whale Myth, a three totem pole grouping, that same year for PepsiCo’s sculpture garden at its corporate headquarters in Purchase, New York. Davidson’s work is found in many private, corporate, and public collections, including, the National Gallery of Canada, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and the Southwest Museum (Los Angeles). He is the recipient of the National Aboriginal Achievement Award (1995), and honorary degrees from the University of Victoria (1992), Simon Fraser University (1994), the Southern Methodist University (Dallas, 1997), and the Emily Carr University of Art + Design. In addition, he was awarded the Order of British Columbia (1995) and the Order of Canada (1996).

  1. 06. Robert Davidson carving totem pole at "Man in His World"
    Robert Davidson (Photograph)
  2. 07. Robert Davidson carving at Expo 67’
    Robert Davidson (Photograph)
  3. 08. Haida Argillite Carver Robert Davidson, Native Voice, June 1954
    Mungo Martin and Bill Reid (Ephemera)
  4. 09. Haida Argillite Carver Robert Davidson, Native Voice, April, 1962
    Robert Davidson (Ephemera)