Art Sunday #199: Lawren Harris – Mountains and Light


Lawren Stewart Harris, CC (October 23, 1885 – January 29, 1970) was a Canadian painter. He was born in Brantford, Ontario, and is best known as a member of the Group of Seven who pioneered a distinctly Canadian painting style in the early twentieth century. A. Y. Jackson has been quoted as saying that Harris provided the stimulus for the Group of Seven. During the 1920s, Harris’ works became more abstract and simplified, especially his stark landscapes of the Canadian north and Arctic. He also stopped signing and dating his works so that people would judge his works on their own merit and not by the artist or when they were painted. In 1969, he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada.



Art Sunday #198: Jean-Paul Riopelle – Epiphanie


Jean-Paul Riopelle, CC GOQ (7 October 1923 – 12 March 2002) was a painter and sculptor from Quebec, Canada. He became the first Canadian painter (since James Wilson Morrice) to attain widespread international recognition.

Riopelle represented Canada at the 1962 Venice Biennale. In 1969 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, and began to spend more time in Canada. He was specially recognized by UNESCO for his work. One of his largest compositions, Point de rencontre, was originally intended for the Toronto airport, but is now in the Opéra Bastille in Paris. In 1988 he was made an Officer of the National Order of Quebec and was promoted to Grand Officer in 1994. In 2000 Riopelle was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame.

In June, 2006 the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts organized a retrospective exhibition which was presented at the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia and the Musee Cantini in Marseilles, France. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has a number of his works, spanning his entire career, in their permanent collection.

A set of postage stamps depicting portions of Riopelle’s painting L’Hommage à Rosa Luxemburg was issued by Canada Post on Oct. 7, 2003.


Art Sunday #197: Sophie Pemberton – Little Boy Boy


Sophia Theresa “Sophie” Pemberton or Sophie Pemberton Deane-Drummond (13 February 1869 – 31 October 1959) was a Canadian painter. Despite the social limitations placed on female artists at the time, she made a noteworthy contribution to Canadian art and, in 1899, was the first Canadian woman to win the Prix Julian from the Académie Julian for her portraiture. She was a near contemporary of Emily Carr, and the two artists spent much of their lives in the same small city.


Art Sunday #196: Mary Digam – Dutch Interior with Wool Spinners

Dutch Interior with Wool Spinners, 1893, Mary Dignam

Mary Ella Dignam (Born Mary Ella Williams; 1857–1938) was a Canadian painter, teacher, and art organizer best remembered as the founder and first president of the Women’s Art Association of Canada (WAAC).

Dignam was a member of the Art Association of Montreal (1886-1931), the Ontario Society of Artists (1883-1912), the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (1883-1924), and the Toronto Industrial Exhibition (1891-1900). Her works were exhibited across Canada and New York, London, and Paris. Dignam exhibited her work at the Palace of Fine Arts at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois.


Art Sunday #195: Prudence Heward – Apple Tree


The painter Prudence Heward was one of a small group of women artists who were active in Montreal between the wars. Although she also produced landscapes and still lifes, she was primarily known for her figure painting. Her portraits of physically robust but psychologically complex women challenged conventional representations of passivity; her women, always set in the landscape, appear independent and brooding, at times defiant.

Heward’s works were selected for numerous international exhibitions, including the British Empire Exhibition, London, 1925, and the Exposition d’art canadien, Paris, 1927.She was invited to exhibit her work with the Group of Seven in 1928 and again in 1931, and held her first solo exhibition in 1932 at the Scott Galleries, Montreal. The National Gallery of Canada held a memorial exhibition in 1948, the year following her death. Heward was associated with the Beaver Hall Group; she was a founding member of the Canadian Group of Painters and Contemporary Arts Society, and a member of the Federation of Canadian Artists.