Emily Carr: Life & Work by Lisa Baldissera

Few artists impress us equally with their paintings and paragraphs. Van Gogh was one, Emily Carr another. During her life she struggled for acceptance, but her vision of Canada is now iconic. Read and download the online art book here: http://www.aci-iac.ca/emily-carr
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Carr on horseback during a visit to the Cariboo Regional District, British Columbia, c. 1909.

Carr on horseback during a visit to the Cariboo Regional District, British Columbia, c.

Emily Carr’s father encouraged her independence and spirit. At the same time his authoritarianism and sternness led to her early sense of alienation and rebellion. Studio portrait of Carr’s parents, Emily Carr (née Saunders) and Richard Carr, c. 1876.

Emily Carr’s father encouraged her independence and spirit. At the same time his authoritarianism and sternness led to her early sense of alienation and rebellion. Studio portrait of Carr’s parents, Emily Carr (née Saunders) and Richard Carr, c.

Emily Carr’s work from her time in Vancouver shows a living culture: peopled villages alongside longhouses and totems. The communities she depicts were as much a part of her vision as the cultural objects she found there. “Potlatch Figure (Mimquimlees),” 1912, National Gallery of Canada.

Potlatch Figure (Mimquimlees), oil on canvas by Emily Carr

In 1927 Emily Carr visited with all members of the Group of Seven, who welcomed her into their studios. At the conclusion of the visit Lawren Harris told her, “You are one of us.” Arthur Lismer, “Emily Carr and the Group of Seven,” c. 1927, McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

In 1927 Emily Carr visited with all members of the Group of Seven, who welcomed her into their studios. At the conclusion of the visit Lawren Harris told her, “You are one of us.” Arthur Lismer, “Emily Carr and the Group of Seven,” c. 1927, McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

From 1910–11 Emily Carr studied in France, learning new expressive styles like Fauvism. One of her teachers was John Duncan Fergusson with whom Carr exhibited at the Salon d’Automne in Paris. “People and Sails at Royan,” 1910, Fergusson Gallery.

From Emily Carr studied in France, learning new expressive styles like Fauvism. One of her teachers was John Duncan Fergusson with whom Carr exhibited at the Salon d’Automne in Paris. “People and Sails at Royan,” Fergusson Gallery.

During her hospitalization in 1903 Emily Carr was unable to paint, but her creative spirit led her to create a sketchbook, documenting her stay at the East Anglian Sanatorium. “Sketchbook for Pause; Rest,” page 3, 1903, McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

During her hospitalization in 1903 Emily Carr was unable to paint, but her creative spirit led her to create a sketchbook, documenting her stay at the East Anglian Sanatorium. “Sketchbook for Pause; Rest,” page McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

In 1910 Emily Carr travelled abroad to Paris, studying with Harry Phelan Gibb, who at the time was painting in the Fauvist style. Emily Carr, “Breton Farm Yard,” c. 1911, McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

In 1910 Emily Carr travelled abroad to Paris, studying with Harry Phelan Gibb, who at the time was painting in the Fauvist style. Emily Carr, “Breton Farm Yard,” c.

Emily Carr on the beach at Tanoo, 1912. Carr used photographs of her journey to the Queen Charlotte Islands in 1912 and “plein air” sketches as source material for paintings like “Tanoo, Q.C.I.,” completed in her studio in 1913.

Emily Carr on the beach at Tanoo, Carr used photographs of her journey to the Queen Charlotte Islands in 1912 and “plein air” sketches as source material for paintings like “Tanoo, Q.

Studio portrait of Emily Carr and her sisters. Clockwise from left: Lizzie, Edith, Clara, Emily, and Alice. Photograph by Skene Lowe, c. 1895.

Studio portrait of Carr and her sisters, c. 1895 - Clockwise from left: Lizzie, Edith, Clara, Emily (dress has white collar) and Alice

“The house was large and well-built, of California redwood, the garden prim and carefully tended. Everything about it was extremely English.” – Emily Carr. The Carr family residence, with Richard, Emily (Saunders) Carr, and children assembled on the front porch, c. 1869.

“The house was large and well-built, of California redwood, the garden prim and carefully tended. Everything about it was extremely English.” – Emily Carr. The Carr family residence, with Richard, Emily (Saunders) Carr, and children assembled on the front porch, c. 1869.

After 1937, when Emily Carr’s health made painting difficult for her, she turned mainly to writing, producing a series of books. Harold Mortimer-Lamb, “Emily Carr in Her Studio,” 1939, Vancouver Art Gallery.

After when Emily Carr’s health made painting difficult for her, she turned mainly to writing, producing a series of books. Harold Mortimer-Lamb, “Emily Carr in Her Studio,” Vancouver Art Gallery.

Emily Carr ran a boarding house from 1913 through the 1920s, recording her experiences as a landlady in her book “The House of All Sorts” (1944). Carr with her pets, in the garden of her home on Simcoe Street in Victoria, 1918.

Emily Carr and pets in her garden at 646 Simcoe Street, Victoria, British Columbia, c. Courtesy the Royal BC Museum, BC Archives.

In 1903 while studying painting in England, Emily Carr was hospitalized at the East Anglian Sanatorium where she stayed for the next eighteen months, diagnosed with hysteria. “Sketchbook for Pause; Rest,” page 9, 1903, McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

In 1903 while studying painting in England, Emily Carr was hospitalized at the East Anglian Sanatorium where she stayed for the next eighteen months, diagnosed with hysteria. “Sketchbook for Pause; Rest,” page McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

“As the day of our departure from Sitka drew near, we betook ourselves to the Indian village, and procured a curio or two as mementos of our happy trip, and offerings for our friends.” – Emily Carr. “Alaska Journal,” page 35, 1907, private collection.

“As the day of our departure from Sitka drew near, we betook ourselves to the Indian village, and procured a curio or two as mementos of our happy trip, and offerings for our friends. “Alaska Journal,” page private collection.

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