Lucius O'Brien P.R.C.A.
Ojibwa Indians, Lake Simcoe
The Collector’s Gallery, Calgary;
Private collection, Calgary
Lucius O’Brien made an immense contribution to the early art history of Canada. He was the founding president of the Royal Canadian Academy of Art, which brought professional standards and practices into the Canadian art industry. He settled in Toronto in 1870, and painted his iconic Sunrise on the Saguenay (National Gallery of Canada Collection) ten years later. That work propelled him to success, solidifying his position in the Canadian art echelon. O’Brien was also the art director of Picturesque Canada, a publication that introduced would-be immigrants and early settlers to the scenery of Canada through large format engravings made from paintings and drawings. O’Brien’s own work featured prominently in this publication. He was also an active and prominent member of the Railway School – artists who painted along the lines of the Canadian Railway system as it was being built, and in the early days of its operations. In addition to all these things, O’Brien maintained a steady production of art, working in eastern Canada, as far was as Howe Sound, and in Banff and the Kicking Horse Pass.