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Arthur Lismer
(1885-1969)

Back to Realism / Naturalism

Introduction
Carmichael Harris Jackson Johnston Lismer
MacDonald Varley Casson FitzGerald Holgate
Tom Thomson

Lismer was born in Sheffield, England. He studied at the Sheffield School of Art from 1899 to 1906, then at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts (Royal Academy of Fine Arts) in Antwerp, Belgium, from 1906 to 1908. He worked as a graphic designer in Sheffield until 1911, when he moved to Toronto, Ontario. In Toronto Lismer met a group of artists, including Tom Thomson and J. E. H. MacDonald, who worked for Grip Limited, a commercial art firm, and who painted landscapes of Canada’s northland. Lismer soon joined them on sketching trips to northern Ontario. 

Canada 1995. Group of Seven. Realism/Naturalism. Arthur Lismer. A Septembere Gale, Gorgian Bay.

In 1916 he moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to teach at the Victoria School of Art and Design (now Nova Scotia College of Art and Design). While there, he painted naval ships arriving and departing in the Halifax harbor for the Canadian War Memorials, a private agency that commissioned works of art commemorating Canada’s contributions to the war effort. He returned to Toronto in 1919 as vice principal of the Ontario College of Art. 

In 1920 Lismer and other Canadian landscapists from Toronto formed the Group of Seven and began exhibiting their work together. 

Lismer painted in the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Québec, and Ontario, and in the Rocky Mountains. Beginning in the 1930s he painted mostly on Georgian Bay in Ontario and in Atlantic Canada. 

One of his early paintings from Georgian Bay in Ontario, is "September Gale, Georgian Bay", which is shown here largely oversized.  

After 1950, he did much of his work in British Columbia.  From this period is his painting "Isle of Spruce". The stamp is pretty small, only 4,5 * 4,0 cm, so it shown large oversized for a better view.
 

Canada 1970. Group of Seven. Realism/Naturalism. Arthur Lismer. Isle of Spruce.

Canada 1970. Group of Seven. Realism/Naturalism. Arthur Lismer. Isle of Spruce. ("Burning Bush"-variety).

  • Canada 1970. 50th Anniversary of The Group of Seven.  Isle of Spruce.  Scott # 518. 

  • Idem, but in an interesting variety known as "The Burning Bush".  I have digitally encircled the spot where the burning bush is located.  It is a colour failure in a print run of the stamp, where the orange colour in the smallest spruce to the left has become a little too distinct, leaving an impression of a fire.  

His early impressionist style, as seen in paintings such as The Guide's Home, Algonquin (1914, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario), became more stylized in the 1920s. The more rhythmic compositions were intended to catch the underlying mood and significance of a scene, as seen in Pine Wrack (1933, National Gallery of Canada). 

Devoted to teaching, Lismer left the Ontario College of Art in 1927 to initiate a children’s art program at the Art Gallery of Toronto. In the 1930s he established similar programs in South Africa, then taught at Columbia University in New York City in the 1938-1939 academic year. In 1940 he moved to Montréal, Québec, where he directed the art school of the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts until 1967. 

Introduction
Carmichael Harris Jackson Johnston Lismer
MacDonald Varley Casson FitzGerald Holgate
Tom Thomson

Sources and links: 

Other Realist artists on this site: 
 

Back to Realism / Naturalism


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