Lot #36

Arthur Lismer
Neil’s Harbour, Cape Breton Island

oil on board
incised signature and dated 1946 lower right; signed, titled and dated July 1946 on the reverse
12 x 16 ins ( 30.5 x 40.6 cms )

Sold for $21,850.00
Sale date: November 23rd 2017

Provenance:
Mary Pratt, Newfoundland
Private Collection, Ontario
Private Collection, Calgary
Literature:
Dennis Reid, Canadian Jungle: The Later Work of Arthur Lismer, Toronto, 1985, pages 42-43
Travelling extensively and internationally throughout his life, juggling roles as an artist, teacher and Canadian art ambassador, Arthur Lismer returned to his tradition of lengthy summer sketching holidays in 1945. Cape Breton Island “now became most important in terms of his work” with Lismer visiting the region to paint during summers in 1945, 1946, 1948 and 1950, usually staying around Ingonish and Neil’s Harbour.

Dennis Reid remarks that Lismer’s work on Cape Breton Island is “strong, assured, often innovative” and “dominates the period following the middle of the decade.” “Lismer was repeatedly drawn back to the small villages such as Neil’s Harbour and Ingonish, attracted by the fishing culture as practiced in the fashioning of docks and boats, killicks, buoys and traps, and all the other paraphernalia necessary to derive life from the sea. These objects crafted by the fishermen were to Lismer evidence of a fundamental creative response to the environment, reflecting attitudes fixed on simple but profound values…the particular inherent beauty of Nova Scotian fishing handicrafts is Lismer’s constant postwar theme.”

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Arthur Lismer
(1885 - 1969) Group of Seven, OSA, RCA

Arthur Lismer was born in Sheffield, England in 1885. He apprenticed there as an engraver for seven years. During his apprenticeship, at the age of 15, he became an illustrator for the Sheffield Independent. He studied at the Sheffield School of Art (1898 - 1905) and in Belgium at the Antwerp Academy (1906-07). Lismer came to Canada in 1911 where he was employed as an engraver at David Smith and Co. in Toronto. He later moved to the Grip company where he met other future members of the Group of Seven. He first visited Georgian Bay in 1913 and in 1914 made the trip again with Tom Thomson. He became one of the founding members of the Group in 1920. Lismer taught at the Ontario College of Art from 1915 and was principal at the Nova Scotia College of Art, Halifax from 1916 to 1919. He returned to Toronto to become vice principal of the Ontario College of Art from 1920 to 1927. He was involved in education at the National Gallery of Canada and later taught at McGill University. He painted landscape in northern Ontario, Nova Scotia, the St. Lawrence, the Gaspe, Newfoundland, and the Rocky Mountains. In his later years he exhibited at the Dominion Gallery.