Clarence Tillenius OC


Clarence Tillenius produced nearly 20 dioramas of Canada’s wildlife and habitat for museums across Canada and the United States, including those created for the provincial museums of British Columbia, Alberta, and Manitoba. Eight are on display at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, with each representing specific habitats across the country.

Tillenius was named a member of the Order of Canada in 2005, and he received the Order of Manitoba in 2003 as well as an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Manitoba. He was a founding member of the Society of Animal Artists in New York and the Society of Wildlife Art of the Nations (SWAN) in England, as well as a member of the Manitoba Naturalists Society. He was elected a fellow with the Explorers Club (New York) and the Royal Geographic Society (London).

Born in Manitoba, he was a keen student of nature and devoted himself, despite losing his arm in a construction accident in 1936, to painting all species of Canadian wildlife. Tillenius sold his first cover to Country Guide in 1934. His connection to Banff came through his visits with Carl Rungius at that artist’s “Paintbox” studio on Cave Avenue. Paintings and sketches by Clarence Tillenius are found in private and corporate collections worldwide.

Tillenius sat on numerous committees to preserve tracts of Manitoba wilderness to benefit wildlife. He felt strongly that human encroachment eliminates wildlife habitat and species, and this is the reason he painted wildlife and wilderness.