Lawren Harris

Essay by laralermanHigh School, 12th gradeC+, December 2012

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Lawren Harris: North Shore, Lake Superior


Lawren Harris

North Shore, Lake Superior (1926)

Oil on canvas 102.2 x 128.3 cm Purchased 1930 National Gallery of Canada (no. 3708)

Lawren Stewart Harris (1885-1970) was a leading landscape painter in Canada and the United States. His was the main driving force that brought together and joined the varying talents and temperaments which formed the Group of Seven in 1920 and in the 1930s he helped to organize the Canadian Group of Painters and the Transcendental Painting Group in New Mexico.� Harris worked hard to support the development of the arts in Canada, and he became an influential figure whose paintings are currently quite popular and valuable then and today. He gave new vision to representations of the northern Canadian landscape. Harris spent three years studying in Germany (1904-07), where he became interested in theosophy, a mystical branch of religious philosophy that influenced his later paintings.�

Coming from a wealthy family he was able to devote himself entirely to his art. He was influenced by theosophical beliefs and ideas throughout his life, so much so that one might say that he re-imagined theosophy through Canadian art.�

North Shore, Lake Superior is an oil painting on a 102.2 cm x 128.3 cm canvas. Harris used calm soothing cool colors, such as light blues, white, grey, and a little amount of brown in this vibrant painting. He was influenced by the Russian Kandinsky's CONCERNING THE SPIRITUAL IN ART and he subsequently incorporated symbolic color into surfaces of his work.� The yellows and blues held a mystical significance; yellow for intelligence and blue for conveying spiritual illumination.� The background of Lawren's painting shows soft snow covered hills. The right upper corner is covered with grey white fluffy clouds which then spread out horizontally through the...