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NORA COLLYER (1898-1979)

 
 
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Nora Collyer
Afternoon, the Village of Cap-à-l'Aigle Overlooking the St. Lawrence River, 1950 (recto)
Oil on canvas (Sold)
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Nora Frances Elizabeth Collyer was born in Montreal on June 7, 1898. She attended Trafalgar School, a prestigious Montreal girls school and between 1913 and 1924 Collyer studied at the Art Association of Montreal under Maurice Cullen and William Brymner. She was the youngest of the ten women artists who today are commonly referred to as the Beaver Hall Group or sometimes as the Beaver Hall Hill Group or the Beaver Hall Women Painters (the others were Emily Coonan, Prudence Heward, Mabel Lockerby, Mabel May, Kathleen Morris, Lilias Torrance Newton, Sarah Robertson, Anne Savage, Ethel Seath). Nora Collyer moved into the now famous building at 305 Beaver Hall Hill in 1921 and for three yeas shared a studio with Anne Savage. She began exhibiting with the Royal Canadian Academy (R.C.A.) as early as 1922 and a few years later took a job as an art teacher at a private girls school in Montreal where she continued for five years. Barbara Meadowcroft in her excellent book on the Beaver Hall women (1) claims that after the death of her mother in 1930 she made a commitment to look after her father and the household, actually two properties, one in Westmount and the other in the Eastern Townships at Foster, which she continued to do dutifully until her father's passing in 1946. Shortly after, Nora Collyer relocated with her friend Margaret Reid first to an apartment and then to a duplex on Elm Avenue not too far from where she had been brought up. Here in the Elm Avenue home she gave art lessons privately to individuals and sometimes to very small groups. In 1950 she and Reid bought a property near Magog, Quebec and built Strawberry Hill. Her paintings were included in several exhibitions of the Canadian Group of Painters and one of her works was included in the exhibition of Canadian paintings in the Canadian Pavilion at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. In 1964, Galerie Walter Klinkhoff hosted a solo exhibition for Nora Collyer. It is the only solo exhibition of Nora Collyer paintings to be hosted by a commercial art gallery still actively specializing in Canadian art. Collyer died on June 11, 1979, only three weeks after Margaret Reid.

(1) "Painting Friends The Beaver Hall Women Painters", Barbara Meadowcroft, Vehicule Press, 1999.
 
   
 
 
Nora Collyer paintings sold
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Nora Collyer
View From the Front of Our House, Chanbay, Lake Memphremagog, Quebec, August 1956
Oil on panel 13" x 14" (Sold)
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Nora Collyer
Lilies, Elm Street, 1970
Oil on masonite 20" x 16" (Sold)
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Nora Collyer
Wayside Cross, Cap a l'Aigle, 1946
Oil on panel 12" x 14" (Sold)
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Nora Collyer
Sherbrooke Street Looking East to Guy and the Martello Towers
Oil on board 18" x 16" (Sold)
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Nora Collyer
Looking Up the Saguenay River, Pink Rock, Tadoussac, Quebec, 1965
Oil on canvas 24" x 28" (Sold)
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Nora Collyer
Brome Lake
Oil on canvas board 12" x 16" (Sold)
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Nora Collyer
Boat on Memphremagog Lake, 1966
Oil on board 14" x 18" (Sold)
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