Lawren Harris in the Studio Building, 1920/Toronto, ON, Library and Archives Canada/C-085902

Born in Brantford, Ontario, into a wealthy, conservative, and religious family, co-founders of the Massey-Harris farm-machinery company, Lawren Harris enjoyed many privileges. Freed from the necessity of making a living, he could concentrate on his painting and, at the age of nineteen, travelled to Germany where he studied for three years. Following his discharge from the army, Harris organized the first of the famed boxcar trips to Algoma. At this time, Harris and Jackson went to the North Shore of Lake Superior where Harris encountered a stark and bare landscape well suited to the new direction in his art, sparked by his interest in Theosophy and his search for a deeper spiritual meaning. As A.Y. Jackson claimed: "Without Harris there would have been no Group of Seven. He provided the stimulus; it was he who encouraged us to always take the bolder course, to find new trails."

The Effect of Theosophy on the Works of Lawren Harris