Arthur Lismer R.C.A.

Reflections, Georgian Bay, 1946

oil on board
18x23.875 in.

signed and dated 1946 lower right

signed titled and inscribed “$300” on the Art Association of Montreal label to verso

A gift from A. Sidney Dawes to Theodosia Dawes, May 1949
Estate of Theodosia Dawes Bond Thornton, Montreal
Sale of Heffel, Fine Canadian Art, November 25, 2010, lot 156
Private collection, Calgary

Art Association of Montreal, 64th Spring Exhibition, 1947

Dennis Reid, Canadian Jungle: The Later Work of Arthur Lismer, Art Gallery of Ontario, 1985, p. 105 and 107;
Theodosia Dawes Bond Thornton, Personal Art Collection Catalogue, reproduced, unpaginated, catalogue #R22;
The Gazette, Montreal, 12 April 1947, reproduced p. 10


“Although Lismer painted in many parts of Canada, he is best known as the Group of Seven’s painter-biographer of the Georgian Bay district. His lush oil sketches of the Bay’s vegetation and pine-etched island horizons compose the richest part of his life’s work. Summer after summer, he returned to Georgian Bay to search out the lichen-made patterns of its rocks and to track with brush and pen the tangle of its undergrowth.”

Paul Duval, A Vision of Canada, 1973, p. 77

In the summer of 1946, as he had for many years prior, Arthur Lismer made a sketching trip to Georgian Bay. Throughout the 30s and 40s, the Lismers had established somewhat of a tradition of taking two to three weeks stay there. The family stayed on Amanda Island, one of the many small islands that are situated along the East side of the Bay in Parry Sound. Lismer’s later work saw him capturing the little details to be found among forest floors, tangled vines and swampy ponds, and we can see this beautifully illustrated in the foreground of the canvas, with a gentle lily pond reflecting the forest in the background. Upon its first showing in the Art Association of Montreal’s Spring Exhibition of 1947, critics noted the canvas for its lush colour and directness. In 1949, the work was purchased and subsequently gifted to Theodosia Dawes Bond Thornton, who was an avid Montreal art collector in the period that followed the Second World War. She amassed an incredible collection over a number of years, and sought out contact with artists themselves. Thornton at one point took painting lessons from Lismer, who was as dedicated an art teacher as he was an artist. Reflections, Georgian Bay remained in her collection for over 60 years before being reintroduced to the market in 2010.

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