A Canadian woman who defined an era and herself

Today’s entry for Canada week is a true Canadian icon, artist and writer Emily Carr.

Emily Carr

Best known for her paintings of aboriginal themes and landscapes, Carr, through her autobiographical writing, was also one of the earliest chroniclers of life in British Columbia.

Klee Wyck- by Emily Carr

As noteworthy as her writings were, it was her paintings that she is primarily remembered for. She explored themes in a unique modern style that no one else was exploring at the time. She had a real affinity for the indigenous peoples of British Columbia and celebrated their totems and villages in her work.

The Crying Totem- 1928

Kwakiutl House

Carr’s work can be divided into three distinct phases. her early work, before she studied in Paris.

 Canoes- 1908

Her work from her time in Paris from 1910 to 1912.

House In Brittany- 1911

And finally her work after her encounter with the Group Of Seven, in the 1930’s… the work, for which she is best known.

 A rushing sea of undergrowth- 1932

The Mountain- 1933

Cedar Sanctuary- 1942

Self Portrait- 1938

Her association with the Group of Seven (Canada’s most recognized modern painters of the time) took her out of a 15 year artistic isolation and put her in a social circle of her peers for the first time. This acceptance by her peers reinvigorated her sense of purpose as an artist and inspired her most recognized works.

Carr’s most famous painting, Big Raven-1931

Carr was not only a great talent, but a darling of the women’s movement, as she was succeeding against the odds. She was a successful artist in a decidedly inartistic society. She lived in seclusion, far away from any major art center, carving out her own path. In a time when women’s roles were clearly defined, Carr was undefinable.

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