Arthur Lismer R.C.A.

Georgian Bay, c. 1932

oil on board
12x16 in.

Charles Hendry, Toronto;
Masters Gallery Ltd., Calgary;
Private collection, Tennessee

In her book Bright Land: A Warm Look at Arthur Lismer, Lois Darroch writes, “…Lismer’s sense of the everlasting came through a feeling for a life force. This life force permeated every facet of
flora and fauna, earth and water. Lismer’s feeling for growth lent a drama and a vitality to whatever he painted. Storm or stillness, sun or shadow, rock or tree, every animate or inanimate thing vibrated
for him, and his portrayals are as varied as his subjects.”1 She is referring to Lismer’s desire to “boil down… his own optical impression to diminutive proportions and yet retain the quality and identity of the whole. His sketch becomes the unit… from which nature took its theme.”2

In this delicate Georgian Bay sketch, Lismer’s theme seems to be one of sunlight, which accents the rocks, brightens the deciduous tree’s limbs and leaves, causing them to sparkle and dance
against the darker conifers behind them. Clouds, so often a feature in his work, peek through the background trees, unifying the whole scene.

1 Darroch, Lois. Bright Land: A Warm Look at Arthur Lismer. Merritt Publishing Company Limited, 1981. p. 104
2 Ibid.

Arthur Lismer, painter, educator (b at Sheffield, Eng 27 June 1885; d at Montréal 23 Mar 1969). Lismer studied at Sheffield School of Art 1899-1906 and the Académie royale des beaux-arts, Antwerp, 1906-07. He moved to Canada in 1911, seeking work as a commercial illustrator. At the Grip Engraving Co…