Excerpt from “Modern Art in Canada – The Beginnings”, 1991

Emily Carr's 1910 trip to Paris where she was exposed to and affected by a new trend in European art. From: “Modern Art in Canada – The Beginnings” Modern and Abstract Painting in Canada, 1991

National Film Board of Canada/National Gallery of Canada
Sharona Adamowicz-Clements

© 1991, Courtesy NFB/National Gallery of Canada


British Columbia painter, Emily Carr. She left for Paris in 1910 with a specific goal: "I did not care a hoot about Paris history," she said. "I wanted now to find out what this new art was about." In Paris, she realized that works of art had gone beyond simple description. She was excited by what she saw, and her own style began to change. She had found that pure colour and uncomplicated form helped her approach the totality of the subject, and made it easier to express subjective ideas. Returning to British Columbia, she continued along these lines. In “War Canoes”, the expressive brushwork, free use of colour, and simple yet sinuous lines emphasize the emotive force of the superb Indian war canoes. In her painted visions of the elementary forces of nature, her expressive power reached new heights.

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