Historic Art | Arthur Lismer R.C.A.


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Neil’s Harbour, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia July 1946

Technique: oil on board

Dimensions: 12 x 15 in.



Private collection, White Rock, BC

ex. collection of Mary Pratt

After World War II, Arthur Lismer was able to settle into a regular routine of summer painting trips. In 1945 he and his wife made their first trip to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. They returned again in 1946, 1948, and 1950, staying usually on the East coast near Neil’s Harbour.

Neil’s Harbour became Lismer’s predominate theme following the war. Returning to draw ideas from the lively docks and fishing culture that prevails through the town.

Neil’s Harbour, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia July 1946 would have been painted during his second trip to the island. On his first visit he painted a similar work; both works are dynamic and packed full of fishing paraphernalia. They show the bustling nature of the harbour and reveal Lismer’s fascination with working life there.

About the Artist

For sixteen years, beginning in 1951, Arthur Lismer would spend part of each Summer at Wickaninnish Bay, Long Beach on Vancouver Island. Lismer and his wife Esther would set out by train from Montreal to Vancouver. From Vancouver they took the ferry across to Nanaimo, a taxi to Port Alberni, a supply boat to the town of Ucluelet and a taxi to an inn on Wickaninnish Bay.

Lismer’s paintings from these trips were filled with the earth force, the vitality that was undeniably his mark. The colours of his palette were more restricted. Green predominated, for he was suuounded by the lush vegetation of the forest and growth was the essence of the life Lismer loved.
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