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Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Algoma Sketch XLIII, c. 1920-1921
SOLD
 
Galerie Alan Klinkhoff - Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
 
 
 
LAWREN S. HARRIS, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Algoma Sketch XLIII, c. 1920-1921
Oil on wood 10 3/4 x 14
Verso: marked on a label in ink by Doris Mills: ‘Algoma sketch XLIII / Lawren Harris / 10 ¾ x 14 (top centre)’;
marked in black crayon, ‘2/43’ (upper centre);
marked in felt marker, cross in circle (upper left).
 
 
 
Provenance
Toronto, Sotheby Parke Bernet (Canada) Inc., 26-27 May 1981, lot 100;
Private collection, Montreal
 
Literature
The paintings of Lawren Harris compiled by Mrs. Gordon Mills, July-December 1936 as Algoma Sketch XLIII
 
 
   
  More about this painting  
   
 
Harris painted in Algoma every year from 1918 to 1921, new travelling arrangements being made in 1919. “The Algoma Central converted an old box-car into suitable living quarters, put in a few windows, four bunks, a stove, water tanks, sink, cupboard, two benches, and a table. We carried a one-man handcar inside for use up and down the tracks – two of us could manage to ride on it – and a canoe for use on the lakes and rivers. A freight train would haul us up the line, and leave the box-car on a siding at Batchewana or in the Algoma Canyon for a week or ten days. Then, on instructions, another freight would pick us up and haul us to another siding.”

Arthur Lismer joined Harris, Jackson and MacCallum in May 1920 and Harris, Johnston, MacDonald and Jackson painted at Mongoose Lake in the fall of 1920. Jackson wrote to Catherine Breithaupt in Boston on 17 January 1921, “We only had a half day of rain on our whole trip … a more wonderful autumn there never was. We nearly went crazy. Some people would say we wouldn’t have far to go.”

Harris painted a large number of oil sketches on these Algoma trips that bear witness to the variety of responses to the region’s varying landscapes, lights and colours. The three Algoma sketches in this collection all differ in colour, light and mood. Hubert (Algoma Sketch) of 1918 is characterized by a structured solemnity, Algoma (Beaver Swamp) by a sombre coolness, while Algoma Sketch XLIII is a splash of autumn colour. The dense foliage is framed by the two larger tree trunks that are illuminated by a play of light and shadow, while the dramatically brushed greens, pinks, reds and yellows surround the stolid dark fir in the centre. Rich, blue sky pierces the dense foliage upper right and left. The subject and the density of the composition recall Tom Thomson’s sketches of wood interiors of 1915-1916 but painted with a more animated and spontaneous brush. It is a hymn of praise to the colour and light of the northern autumn landscape.

Harris infrequently titled his oil sketches and rarely dated them. This work could be one of the several Wood Interiors or Autumn Woods, Algoma he exhibited in the early 1920s. Yet these numerous studies of wood interiors were only worked up into one canvas, Autumn, Algoma of 1920 in the collection of Victoria College at the University of Toronto, his preference being for more austere and open compositions.

The title of this sketch comes from an inventory prepared by Mrs. Gordon Mills, later Doris Speirs, in 1936. Harris had divorced his wife in 1934 and married Bess Larkin the former wife of his friend Fred Housser. The divorce created considerable tensions in the conservative Toronto society so Lawren and Bess Harris moved to New Hampshire. Doris Mills, a friend of Bess Harris, offered to inventory all the unsold oil sketches and canvases Lawren Harris had left in Toronto. Numerical titles were given to all works and, in the absence of inscribed titles, the numerical appellations have been retained for most. The manuscript inventory, now in the Library and Archives of the National Gallery of Canada, was partially illustrated by a Danish artist, Hans Jensen, a temporary resident in the Studio Building. But unfortunately he didn’t get around to illustrating the Algoma sketches, of which 148 were listed.

Charles C. Hill, C.M.
From 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
Oil on Beaverboard 10 3/8 " x 13 5/8"
Detailed view
  Lawren S. Harris - Galerie Alan Klinkhoff  
 
Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
A Row of Houses, Wellington Street (Street Painting I), 1910
Oil on canvas 25" x 30"
Detailed view
  Lawren S. Harris - Galerie Alan Klinkhoff  
 
Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Rock, Spruce and Hill (Lake Superior Sketch C), c. 1921
Oil on wood 10 1/2" x 14"
Detailed view
Lawren S. Harris paintings sold
  Lawren S. Harris - Galerie Alan Klinkhoff  
 
Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Rock and Hill (Lake Superior Sketch CXXXII), 1922
Oil on Beaverboard 10 ½ " x 14" (Sold)
Detailed view
  Lawren S. Harris - Galerie Alan Klinkhoff  
 
Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Algoma Sketch XLIII, c. 1920-1921
Oil on wood 10 3/4 x 14 (Sold)
Detailed view
  Lawren S. Harris - Galerie Alan Klinkhoff  
 
Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Hubert (Algoma Sketch), c. 1918
Oil on composite wood pulp board 13 5/8 x 10 1/2 (Sold)
Detailed view
  Lawren S. Harris - Galerie Alan Klinkhoff  
 
Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Snow Laden Trees, c. 1916
Oil on wood 12 ½" x 10 ½" (Sold)
Detailed view
  Lawren S. Harris - Galerie Alan Klinkhoff  
 
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)
Detailed view
  Lawren S. Harris - Galerie Alan Klinkhoff  
 
Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Pic Island Lake Superior, c. 1926
Oil on Beaverboard 12" x 15" (Sold)
Detailed view
  Lawren S. Harris - Galerie Alan Klinkhoff  
 
Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Return from Church, 1919
Oil on Beaverboard 10 ½" x 13 ¾" (Sold)
Detailed view
  Lawren S. Harris - Galerie Alan Klinkhoff  
 
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
  Lawren S. Harris - Galerie Alan Klinkhoff  
 
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
  Lawren S. Harris - Galerie Alan Klinkhoff  
 
Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Swan Lake, Algonquin Park
Oil on panel 10 1/2" x 14" (Sold)
Detailed view
  Lawren S. Harris - Galerie Alan Klinkhoff  
 
Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Algoma sketch, c. 1919
Oil on panel 11" x 14" (Sold)
Detailed view
  Lawren S. Harris - Galerie Alan Klinkhoff  
 
Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Lake Superior Sketch, 1923
Oil on panel 11"x 14" (Sold)
Detailed view
  Lawren S. Harris - Galerie Alan Klinkhoff  
 
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
  Lawren S. Harris - Galerie Alan Klinkhoff  
 
Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Icebergs
(Sold)
Detailed view
  Lawren S. Harris - Galerie Alan Klinkhoff  
 
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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