Yvonne Housser was born in 1897 in Toronto Ontario. She attended The Ontario College of Art during World War I, studying under William Cruikshank, J. W. Beatty and Robert Holmes. Her studies did not end there, Housser was a lifelong learner embarking on further studies abroad in places such as, Paris, under Lucien Simon at the Grande Chaumière, the Académie Colarossi, and the Académie Ranson, the University of Vienna, briefly under Franz Cisek, as well as in Taos, New Mexico, and Provincetown, Massachusetts, with abstract expressionist Hans Hofmann.
In 1918, Housser graduated from The Ontario College of Arts and became a teacher there until 1946. She was assistant to Arthur Lismer during the early days of her teaching career. Her teaching was not limited to The Ontario College of Art, she also taught adult and children's art classes in many schools and universities in the Toronto area. She was also principal advisor to the Art Students' League when it was founded in 1926.
Many of Housser's greatest works depict northern Ontario mining towns. Her work, which also included drawing and prints, often interpreted the nationalistic perspectives expressed through Canadian art at the time. Much of her inspiration came from the many sketching trips she took throughout her career. Housser explored the Rockies, Québec, Northern Ontario, Mexico and the Caribbean. Later in her career she explored abstraction and non-representational work.
Housser first exhibited her work in 1923 with the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, and in 1927 was included in the Annual Exhibition of Canadian Art at the National Gallery of Canada. She participated in three Group of Seven shows in the late 1920's. She has also exhibited at The Montréal Museum of Fine Arts.
Housser was a founding member of the Canadian Group of Painters and Federation of Canadian Artists, a member of the Heliconian Club, Ontario Society of Artists and Royal Canadian Academy. She became an Honorary Fellow of the Ontario College of Art in 1981 and member of the Order of Canada in 1984.
She died in Toronto in 1996.