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Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Maligne Lake, Jasper Park, 1924
SOLD
 
Galerie Alan Klinkhoff - Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
 
 
 
LAWREN S. HARRIS, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Maligne Lake, Jasper Park, 1924
Oil on Beaverboard 10 ¾" x 13 ¾"
inscribed in ink by artist ‘Miss Anges Tait / Warsac / Harbour Rd. / N.Y. State’ [illegible] (crossed out) (verso, upper right) and in graphite (verso, upper left);
inscribed in ink ‘11’ [in circle] (verso, upper right);
marked in ink and crossed out in circle (verso, upper left);
marked in black crayon ‘KEEP’ (verso, upper left);
marked in graphite ‘property / Bess / Harris’, in ink ‘since’, and in graphite ‘1938’ (verso, centre);
marked in red crayon ‘63’ (verso, centre).
 
 
 
Provenance
Artist, Vancouver;
Bess Harris, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1938;
S.C. Torno, Toronto by 1970; McCready Galleries Inc., Toronto;
Private Collection, Montreal.
 
Exhibited
Toronto, The Art Gallery of Toronto, October-November 1948, Lawren Harris, no. 128, collection of the artist;
 Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada, 19 June – 8 September 1970, and Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 23 September – 31 October 1970, The Group of Seven, no. 150, reproduced, loaned by S.C. Torno, Toronto; Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, Jan 14 - Feb 26 1978, Lawren S. Harris: Urban Scenes and Wilderness Landscapes 1906-1930, catalogue no. 144
 
Literature
Peter Mellen, The Group of Seven (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1970) p. 161, reproduced p. 160; Dennis Reid, The Group of Seven (Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 1970), p. 193, reproduced p. 191; 
 R.H. Hubbard, Canadian Landscape Painting 1670-1930 The Artist and the Land (Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1973) p. 174; Jeremy
 Adamson Urban Scenes and Wilderness Landscapes (Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 1978) p. 167; Peter Larisey, Light for a Cold Land Lawren Harris’s Work and Life – An Interpretation (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1993) pp.101-102
 
 
   
  More about this painting  
   
 
In 1924 Lawren Harris and A.Y. Jackson spent August and early September sketching in Jasper Park in the Rocky Mountains. They first walked from Jasper Lodge to Maligne Lake. By horse they went on to the Colin Range, before hiking over the Shovel Pass to the Athabaska and Tonquin valleys. “We camped at the south end of Maligne Lake on a wide delta of gravel,” Jackson wrote in the January 1925 issue of The Canadian Forum. “Round about were vast piles of crumbling mountains that crowded in the cold green, silt-coloured water of the lake… we decided that mountains have to be roughly handled – big rhythms running across and in, paintings built up architecturally, forms considered as abstract in determining their relationship and the creative faculty given free rein.” While the mountains weren’t to Jackson’s taste, this trip initiated Harris’ lifelong love of the mountains.

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(Fig. 1) Lawren S. Harris Maligne Lake, Jasper Park 1924 Oil on canvas 48 x 60 in (122.8 x 152.8 cm) National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (3541). Purchased 1928

Soon after his return to Toronto, Harris began work on a canvas based on this sketch. Maligne Lake, Jasper Park (fig. 1) is dated 1924 and marks a crucial turning point in Harris’ art. In no previous work had he reduced nature to such geometric forms. Severely abstracted clouds echo the forms of the rocks and peaks. Colour is reduced to a restricted palette of grey-greens, browns and off whites. While the foreground rocks provide a sure, if off centre, foothold for the viewer, one is immediately drawn into the vast coldness of the panoramic, “stereoscopic effect.” As one reviewer wrote when the painting was shown in England in 1926, “Maligne Lake … is eerie to a degree, Nature, gaunt and grim, viewing her image in a flawless mirror amid a silence that may be felt.”

The painting is all the more fascinating when compared to the oil sketch painted on the spot. Whereas in the canvas all is clarity and light, in the study forms are diffuse, the lake and mountains are partially obscured by a soft mist, the green reflection at the left creates a bright accent, and the eye focuses on the reflections in the water rather than on the sharp angle of the Samson Narrows where the left and right peaks intersect. While the basic components are already present in the sketch, a radical transformation has taken place between sketch and canvas, a transformation that launched a new direction in Harris’ art.

The canvas was included in the January 1925 exhibition of the Group of Seven. Critics expressed their surprise at this “jangle of angles and triangles in grey-green” and Hector Charlesworth wrote in Saturday Night, “In [Harris’] large canvases … he twists the contours of nature into hard and turgid outlines… Angles and spirals abound as in mechanical drawings; and the rigid outlines enclose untoned masses of crude colour.” Augusts Bridle enthused in the Star Weekly, “[Harris] does not give you a mountain but the platonic idea of a mountain, a mathematical infinite series of mountain impressions, something gigantically pyramidical, if not veridical, a real brainstorm among the mountains.”

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Lawren S. Harris Maligne Lake, Jasper Park 1924 Pen and black ink on wove paper 13 ¾ x 16 in (35.2 x 40.3 cm) National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (3167) purchased 1925

That same exhibition included, for the first time, ink drawings by Group members that were also reproduced as photolithographs in a portfolio titled Canadian Drawings by Members of the Group of Seven published by Rous and Mann. Harris’ contributions included a severe ink drawing after the canvas of Maligne Lake. The drawing was purchased by the National Gallery of Canada.

This sketch was one especially chosen by Bess Harris for her collection of exceptional Harris sketches.

Charles C. Hill, C.M.
Lawren Harris & Canadian Masters, Alan Klinkhoff Gallery, 2017

Charlie Hill began working at the National Gallery of Canada in 1972 and was Curator of Canadian Art from 1980 to 2014. The exhibitions he organized  and publications he wrote include “Canadian Painting in the Thirties” (1975), “To Found a National Gallery. The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts 1880-1913” (1980), “Morrice A Gift to the Nation The G. Blair Laing Collection” (1992) and “The Group of Seven Art for a Nation” (1995). He was co-curator and contributed essays to the catalogues of “Tom Thomson” (2002), “Emily Carr A New Perspective” (2006) and “Artists, Architects, Artisans Canadian Art 1890 - 1918” (2013). He was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2000, received an Honorary Doctorate from Concordia University in 2007 and the Award of Distinguished Service from the Canadian Museums Association in 2012.
 
   
 
  
Lawren Harris Biography
 
 
 
Lawren Stewart Harris, a Canadian painter, was born October 23, 1885 in Brantford, Ontario. He was a key figure in the creation of the Group of Seven, also a founding member and first president of the Canadian Group of Painters. Harris also later became a leading abstractionist who believed that colour and form were capable of expressing spiritual truths. Coming from a wealthy family, he was able to devote himself entirely to his art.

 Related Pages


Lawren Harris studied in Berlin, Germany, from 1904 to 1908, where he became interested in theosophy, a mystical branch of religious philosophy that would influence his later painting. He then returned to Toronto. In 1908 he went on a sketching trip to the Laurentians; in 1909, with J.W. Beatty, he sketched in Haliburton. That fall he went to Lake Memphremagog. At the same time, he drew and painted street scenes of the older and more modest areas of Toronto.

Harris developed into a magnificent landscape painter, transforming the powerful forms of nature into works of force and elegance. In 1913, he financed the construction of the Studio Building in Toronto with his friend, Dr. James MacCallum. The Studio provided artists with cheap or free space where they could live and work. Later, in 1918 and 1919, Lawren Harris with J.E.H. MacDonald financed boxcar trips for the artists of the Group of Seven to the Algoma region. Another painting trip after Algoma was to Lake Superior North Shore with A.Y. Jackson. In 1920 Harris, J.E.H. MacDonald, Frank Hans Johnston, Franklin Carmichael, A.Y. Jackson, F.H. Varley, and Arthur Lismer founded the Group of Seven.

Harris was so passionate about the Lake Superior’s North Shore and fascinated by the theosophical concept of nature, he returned annually for the next seven years. There he developed the modernist style he is best known for. Harris’s paintings in the early 1920’s were characterized by rich, decorative colours that were applied thick, in painterly impasto. He painted landscapes around Toronto, Georgian Bay and Algoma.

During the 1920s, Harris’s works became more abstract and simplified, especially his stark landscapes of the Canadian north and Arctic. His first of three annual trips to the Rockies was in 1924. In 1930, Harris’s landscape paintings became even more simplified as he sailed to the Arctic with A.Y. Jackson aboard a supply ship.

From 1934 to 1937, Harris lived in Hanover, New Hampshire, where he painted his first abstract works, an artistic direction in which he would continue for the rest of his life. In 1938 he moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and helped found the Transcendental Painting Group, an organization of artists who advocated a spiritual form of abstraction.

Harris settled in Vancouver in 1940 and became a leading figure in the Vancouver arts community. He was a strong supporter of younger artists and of the Vancouver Art Gallery. In 1969 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada.

He died in Vancouver on January 29th 1970.
 
   
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Lawren S. Harris paintings for sale
 
  Lawren S. Harris - Galerie Alan Klinkhoff  
 
Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Morning Sun Over Hill, Lake Superior (Lake Superior Sketch XXVII), 1922
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Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
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Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Snow Laden Trees, c. 1916
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Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Mountain Form IV (Rocky Mountain Painting XIV), c. 1927-1930
Oil on canvas 48" x 60" (Sold)
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Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Pic Island Lake Superior, c. 1926
Oil on Beaverboard 12" x 15" (Sold)
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Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Return from Church, 1919
Oil on Beaverboard 10 ½" x 13 ¾" (Sold)
Detailed view
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Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Mountain Sketch (Lake and Mountain), c. 1928
Oil on Beaverboard 11 ¾ x 14 ¾ (Sold)
Detailed view
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Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Maligne Lake, Jasper Park, 1924
Oil on Beaverboard 10 ¾" x 13 ¾" (Sold)
Detailed view
  Lawren S. Harris - Galerie Alan Klinkhoff  
 
Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Sun, Fog and Ice, Smith Sound (Arctic Painting IV), 1931
Oil on canvas 40" x 50" (Sold)
Detailed view
  Lawren S. Harris - Galerie Alan Klinkhoff  
 
Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Mitchell Lake, Batchewanna (sic), Algoma (Algoma Sketch CXXII), c. 1918
Oil on board 14" x 10 ¾" (Sold)
Detailed view
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Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Swan Lake, Algonquin Park
Oil on panel 10 1/2" x 14" (Sold)
Detailed view
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Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Algoma sketch, c. 1919
Oil on panel 11" x 14" (Sold)
Detailed view
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Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Lake Superior Sketch, 1923
Oil on panel 11"x 14" (Sold)
Detailed view
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Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
North of Lake Superior, c. 1921-22
Oil on panel 10 1/2" x 14" (Sold)
Detailed view
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Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Icebergs
(Sold)
Detailed view
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Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Sand Lake, Algoma, 1921
Oil on panel 10 1/2" x 13 1/2" (Sold)
Detailed view
 
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