Lawren Stewart Harris


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(b Brantford, Ontario, 23 Oct. 1885; d Vancouver, 29 Jan. 1970).

Canadian painter, active mainly in Toronto and (from 1940) in Vancouver. From 1904 to 1908 he studied in Berlin, where his work was influenced by Expressionism. Early in his career his favourite subjects were cityscapes and views of houses, but in about 1911 he also took up landscape and from 1920 (when he was one of the founder members of the Group of Seven) this became his main interest. Harris was a follower of Theosophy and he used spectacular scenery as a way of expressing spiritual values. To this end he sought out the most overpowering landscapes he could find—in the Rockies and even the Arctic. The transcendental quality in his work was maintained when he turned to abstraction in the 1930s. In the later part of his career he became a patriarchal figure in Canadian painting. Many younger artists, including Jock Macdonald, were inspired by him.

Subjects: Art.

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