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Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
Morning Sun Over Hill, Lake Superior (Lake Superior Sketch XXVII), 1922
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Galerie Alan Klinkhoff - Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
 
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Galerie Alan Klinkhoff - Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970) Galerie Alan Klinkhoff - Lawren S. Harris, C.C., LL.D. (1885-1970)
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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"
written in ink by Doris Mills ‘MORNING SUN OVER HILL / Lake Superior / LAWREN HARRIS’ (verso, upper left);
written in ink and then crossed out ‘NOT FOR SALE’, by Doris Mills, ‘Lawren / Harris (verso, upper left);
written in ink by Doris Mills on printed label, “Morning Sun over Hill” / Lawren Harris / Lake Superior Sketches XXVII 10 ¾ x 14 on printed label (verso, upper right);
written in blue pencil on printed label #h.26 (verso upper right)
written in graphite ’10 ⅜ x 13 ⅝’ (verso, upper right);
written in black marker, cross in a circle (verso, centre);
written in black crayon, ’4/27’ (verso, venter right)
 
 
 
Provenance
Walter Klinkhoff Gallery, Montreal;
Kastel Gallery, Montreal;
McCready Galleries, Toronto;
Private collection, Montreal.

 
Literature
The paintings of Lawren Harris compiled by Mrs. Gordon Mills, July-December 1936 as Morning Sun Over Hill (Lake Superior Sketch XXVII)
 
 
   
  More about this painting  
   
 
In the fall of 1921 Lawren Harris and A.Y. Jackson painted in Algoma then travelled on to Rossport on the north shore of Lake Superior. In the autumns of 1922 and 1923 the two artists returned to Lake Superior, painting at Port Coldwell in 1922 and at Port Munro and Pike Lake in 1923. The artists probably didn’t return to Lake Superior in 1924 as they were painting in Jasper Park and Jackson had to return to Toronto to teach at the Ontario College of Art but they returned to Port Coldwell the following year. On 7 October 1925 Jackson wrote to his friend Norah Thomson (later de Pencier), book buyer for the T. Eaton Co., “We are back in our old haunts, and it is pretty good stuff. It is three years since we did any work here and it all looks new. I think we will fill our panels and start home by Oct. 24th.”

The sketch was most likely painted at Coldwell in the fall of 1922. A sketch of the same hillock, painted by A.Y. Jackson and dated 1922, was given by Jackson to fellow artist Anne Savage, and another oil sketch of the same subject is identified by Jackson as being painted at Coldwell.

There is considerable confusion over the dating of Harris’ Lake Superior paintings. His first canvases, such as First Snow, North Shore, Lake Superior of 1923, in the Vancouver Art Gallery, depicted the rocky hills above Lake Superior. In the mid-twenties Harris painted the burned out stumps overlooking the lake, such as Above Lake Superior in the Art Gallery of Ontario, a canvas often erroneously dated to 1922 but which was first exhibited in spring 1924. Finally, Harris focused on Pic Island off Port Coldwell and the dramatic light effects over the vast expanse of water.



(Fig. 1) Lake Superior Hill (Lake Superior Painting XV) 1923 Oil on canvas 48 x 60 ½ in. (121.9 x 153.7 cm.) Private Collection

Vancouver’s First Snow, North Shore, Lake Superior was first exhibited in March 1923 as Landscape and Lake Superior Hill (Lake Superior Painting XV) (fig. 1) was probably exhibited with the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in November 1923 as Above Lake Superior. The subject of both is not the expanse of Lake Superior but the rocks and sparse foliage of the hills. Paul Duval has reproduced the oil sketch for this latter canvas in Lawren Harris Where the Universe Sings (Cerebrus Publishing 2011), but the same rounded hillock depicted in Morning Sun over Hill probably formed the subject of the large canvas. Painted from a slightly further distance the foreground rocks in this sketch became the middle ground and he has eliminated the stumps at the left. Bright orange lichen or moss grows between the rocks, and the purple hillock dominates the centre of the canvas, set against a blue sky and stylised clouds.

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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