“Look What I Found!”

English: Title: Lawren Harris at his studio So...
Title: Lawren Harris at his studio Source: Archives of Ontario Date: April 25, 1926 Creator: M.O. Hammond (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The second artist in my Group of Seven series is Lawren Stewart Harris.

He was born on October 23, 1885 in Brantford, Ontario.  Harris is the eldest member of the group.  He was born into a wealthy family.

Harris became friends with J.E.H. MacDonald in 1911, and together they formed the Group of Seven.  Harris, and friend Dr. James  MacCallum, funded the construction and use of a studio where artists could work and live either cheaply or for free.

An interesting fact about Harris’ career, is that at one point he stopped signing his paintings, and dating them.  He did this because he wanted the public to judge his work on their own merit, not who it was painted by or when it was painted.

Harris passed away on January 29, 1970, at age 84, in Vancouver, British Columbia.

On May 29, 2001, Harris’ Baffin Island painting was sold for $2.2 million, a record at the time.  His Algoma Hill was stored in the back-room closet in a Toronto hospital for years, and was forgotten until a cleaning staff worker found it!  The hospital sold it to the Sotheby’s auction in 2005 – where it was bought for $1.3 million.

For more information about Lawren Harris, you can go to CBC Archives (don’t forget to view the video), and then Art Country Canada.com for a gallery of his work, and lastly, there’s the McMichael.com.


    • Which was how he managed to finance the buildings, and could offer free rent … I admire that he felt so strongly about art that he chose to back the Group of Seven! Canadians are surely richer for these painters’ work!
      Thanks for dropping by, Debra! 🙂


  1. Thanks for this post! Harris is my favourite and I’ve travelled to many Canadian museums to see his paintings. Absolutely love the Algoma Hill fact. HIs photo is quite is AMAZING – can honestly say that in all of these years searching out his paintings, I’ve never once seen a photo of what he looked like. 🙂


    • Thanks for the feedback – I was debating with myself about whether to put a photo of the painter, or one of their works. After reading your comment, I feel good about my decision. Thank you! 🙂


  2. Quite artistic hair. Mine looks like that when I get up… we call it bed-head. But, that’s the difference between artists and the rest of us… we comb our hair to not look that way. Regarding signatures, artists rarely signed works before the Rennaiscance. They were considered craftsmen, akin to potters and glass blowers. In the Rennaiscance, many artists worked under the instruction of a master, whose name went on the piece (very much like many well known novelists work these days with researchers, drafter, ghost writers…). Art historians make careers out of deciphering brush strokes to determine which parts of the paintings and fresco’s the artist actually painted. DiVinci and Michealangelo were the odd balls (recluses/eccentrics) who actually painted and sculpted most of their own works. The 19th & 20th centuries were probably the eras when artists’ signatures became of value at the time the paintings were created. At the same time, the concepts of art and beauty greatly shifted… but I’m starting to sound like a pontificating art history lecturer. I shall not sign this so that it’s value stands separate from my reputation 🙂 What? Did I comb my hair today…


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