Emily Carr: Fresh Seeing French Modernism And The West Coast

Emily Carr - War Canoes, Alert Bay, 1912
oil on canvas, 64.93 x 81.28 cm
Audain Art Museum Collection
Gift of Michael Audain and Yoshiko Karasawa
Image courtesy of the Audain Art Museum

“Emily Carr: Fresh Seeing - French Modernism and the West Coast,” which runs from Sept. 21, 2019 to Jan. 19, 2020, is the museum’s most ambitious exhibit to date. Upon arriving home to the West Coast of Canada from France, Emily Carr’s approach to painting underwent a dramatic change from her initially conservative art training. This exhibit showcases the vibrant changes to Carr’s style over three significant years: 1910 to 1912.

The exhibition, with works from public, private and corporate collections, provides a rare opportunity for the museum. Visitors will be able to view more than 50 paintings, watercolours, and drawings by Carr, as well as a selection of works by Carr’s instructors, who directly influenced her artistic development. The works include those from English painter Henry William Phelan Gibb, Scottish painter John Duncan Fergusson and New Zealand watercolourist Frances Hodgkins.

Postcard showing the same building with distinctive vents below the eaves as in By the Canal, Crécy-en-Brie, 1911. This building is now demolished.

Michael Audain, the founder of the Audain Art Museum, has a passion for Carr’s French period, which is what inspired this project. “For the work of an unrecognized artist from Victoria, B.C. to have been featured at such a prestigious international exhibition during the early 1900s was unprecedented,” Audain said. “As a young woman, Emily Carr was truly ahead of her time. Travelling to France set the stage for Carr’s recognition as one of our country’s most important artists.”

Carr’s historically significant painting, “Le Paysage (Brittany Landscape),” which was recently acquired by the museum, is also featured in this exhibition. The same piece was featured in 1911 at the famed Salon d’Automne exhibition in Paris.

The Carr exhibit is co-curated by Kiriko Watanabe, the AAM’s Gail & Stephen A. Jarislowsky curator, and Carr expert Dr. Kathryn Bridge.

The permanent collection at the Audain Art Museum displays approximately 200 works of coastal British Columbia art from the 18th century to the present.
For more information about the Audain Art Museum’s exhibits and special events, visit audainartmuseum.com.

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