Artwork by Lawren Stewart Harris,  House, Toronto

Lawren Harris
House, Toronto

oil on panel
titled and inscribed “Lawren Harris” on the reverse; titled “Houses, Group No. XIV” and inscribed “Lawren Harris” by Doris Mills on a label; inscribed “property of Bess Harris 1942”; typed “Howard K. Harris Estate” on a label (titled “House Toronto”)
10.5 x 14 ins ( 26.7 x 35.6 cms )

Sold for $115,000.00
Sale date: May 31st 2016

Provenance:
Private Collection, Ontario
Literature:
Jeremy Adamson, “Urban Scenes and Wilderness Landscapes, 1906-1930”,Toronto, 1978, pages 25 and 96-99
Beginning with realistic studies in charcoal of Toronto and the European cities Harris visited while travelling, Harris developed his urban landscape genre capturing numerous socio-economic classes of dwellings from working-class shacks to Rosedale residences.

“House, Toronto“ embodies the artist’s fascination with light's effect on colour and his experimentation of colour palettes. Standing out from the muted blue shadows, the bright orange facade and vibrant yellow trim on the front of the house exemplify Harris' exploration of colour not traditionally witnessed in earlier palettes of Canadian painting. On the neighbouring house, light reflects brightly off of its white exterior, emphasizing the bright day in which Harris sketched these Toronto houses. Fluid and loose brushstrokes in the sky and clouds are contrasted by the more linear strokes on the central home, complementing and delineating the architectural details of the house.

As no figures are present, the scene stands as a portrait of a house and neighbourhood of Toronto. For Harris, it was not merely an exercise in depicting what he saw, but incorporating what he conceived should be reality. In this respect, the artist captures the the feeling of the home and leaves a token of Toronto's past, a glimpse into the urban history and development of the city.

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Lawren Stewart Harris
(1885 - 1970) Group of Seven, Canadian Group of Painters

Lawren Harris was born in Brantford, Ontario and at the age of 19 went to Berlin for academic training. Upon returning to Ontario he met J.E.H. MacDonald who shared his vision of a new and distinctive way of depicting the Canadian landscape. Harris became the driving force behind the Group of Seven. A.Y. Jackson claimed: "Without Harris there would have been no Group of Seven. He provided the stimulus; it was he who encouraged us always to take the bolder course, to find new trails."

By 1918 Lawren Harris had travelled to the Algoma region in the company of MacDonald and Johnston. Harris made his first trip to the North Shore of Lake Superior in 1921. His search for a deeper spiritual meaning eventually took him to the stark landscapes of the far north. By the late 1920s the artist's work strove to capture the spiritual essence of the bold landforms of the Rockies and the Arctic. Throughout the ensuing decade Harris continued to simplify and abstract his landscapes until his subjects became non-representational. Lawren Harris worked as a member of the Transcendental Group of Painters in Santa Fe, New Mexico for two years, returning to Canada in 1940 and settling in Vancouver for the remainder of his lifetime.