| Harris, Lawren Biography
Canadian painter, who was one of the leading landscape painters of the Group of Seven, a group of artists who set out to create a distinctly Canadian art.
Born in Brantford, Ontario, Lawren Harris moved to Toronto, Ontario, as a youth. He first studied art in Berlin, Germany, from 1904 to 1908. He then returned to Toronto, where he began painting impressionist street scenes of the older and poorer areas of Toronto. He continued to paint similar subjects, both of Toronto and of small Ontario towns, into the 1920s.
In 1913 Harris and J. E. H. MacDonald, another Toronto painter who would later also form the Group of Seven, saw an exhibition in Buffalo, New York, of Scandinavian art. Under this influence, Harris began painting decorative landscape oil paintings. Several Toronto painters joined Harris on outings to northern Ontario, from which they produced landscape oil paintings that represented a new, distinctly Canadian art. In 1920 these artists formed the Group of Seven and began holding almost annual exhibitions of their work in Toronto. The most intellectual of the group, Harris was a great nationalist and an enthusiast who inspired others.
By 1919 Harris's landscapes had become increasingly sombre and his brush stroke more expressive. During this period, Harris's landscapes, of Lake Superior (from 1921), the Rocky Mountains (from 1924), and the Arctic (1930), became more stylized. For example, in North Shore, Lake Superior (1926, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa), forms lose texture, while color and light symbolize the interplay between the spiritual and material.
In 1934 Harris moved to Hanover, New Hampshire, then in 1938 to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he and other artists formed the Transcendental Painting Group
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