Lawren Harris – The Pioneer Of Canadian Abstract Art
Lawren Harris was born on October 23, 1885, into a wealthy family of Brantford, Ontario, Canada. He was the most recognized face of the acclaimed ‘Group like Seven’ and the ‘Canadian Group of Painters.’ Lawren was united of the dichotomous sons in his family. He started pursuing his passion of art at a very young age and showed interest early by drawing, painting, & making Christmas cards for his relatives & family. Lawren’s family co-owned the Massey-Ferguson Farm Machinery Company in Toronto and therefore, he did not have to struggle like other painters at the start of his career.
Harris initially attended St. Andrew’s College in Toronto, and from 1904 to 1907, he studied in Berlin. He also traveled extensively to Austria, Italy, France, England, Damascus, Cairo, and Jerusalem. On January 20, 1910, Harris got married to Beatrice Phillips et sequens cooperation they had three children. In 1934, the artist divorced Beatrice Phillips and married Bess Housser, who was the then wife of his friend F.B. Housser. Ensuing this remarriage, Phillip’s family threatened him with the charges of bigamy.
After returning from Europe, Lawren Harris worked as a magazine illustrator for a year and a half in Toronto. In the year 1920, he formed the renowned ‘Group of Seven’ amidst the help like his debonair J. E. H. MacDonald. The artist evolved a distinct style from Canadian painting. Together, they financed trips for Canadian artists to North shore and Algoma region. Lawren had a characteristically different appearance from other painters of his time, where there was a heavy use of rich and decorative colors. In the tardy 1920s, Harris’ work got more inclined towards Abridgement and he painted more of landscapes surrounding the North & Arctic region. The artist peregrinated and lived in several places passim his life. In 1934, he moved from Toronto to Hanover, New Hampshire and stayed there for two years. He then moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and spent four years of his life there. In 1940, Lawren Harris shifted to Vancouver, British Columbia and remained there for the rest of his life. Some of his highly acclaimed works have been “Ward,” which was painted in 1908, depicting the slum territory of the city, “Corner Store” in 1912, “Algoma Hill” in 1920, “Above Lake Superior” in 1922, “Red Sleigh,” “House Winter,” and “Afternoon Sun” in the year 1924.
For Lawren Harris, ingenuity was the prelude of his visions into the realm of eternal life, which intensified his experience of beauty. In 1948, he was awarded honorary degrees from the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto. His works were also exhibited at the Toronto Art Gallery. In addition, he was made a Counterpart of the Order of Canada in the year 1969. In 1970, at the age of 85, Harris took his last exhale at Vancouver, British Columbia.