Emily Carr, Odds and Ends, 1939, oil on canvas
Today’s Art on this Day puts a female artist in the spotlight. On this day back in 1945, Canadian artist and writer Emily Carr (born on December 13, 1871) died from a heart attack. Hardly fully recognized during her lifetime, she was one of the first Canadian painters to adopt a Modernist and Post-Impressionist style. For her subject matters, she was heavily inspired by the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Later in her career, her subjects shifted from aboriginal themes to landscapes.
Emily Carr’s career would be an unconventional one. As she painted her best-known works from age 57 and further, she was a late bloomer. She also lived most of her life in an artistically unadventurous society. Carr’s father encouraged her creativity, but it was only after her parents’ deaths in 1891 that she pursued this passion seriously. She took classes at an art school and started travelling. Once back home, she started teaching at the ‘Ladies Art Club’, but only for a month. She was boycotted by her students who did not appreciate her rude behaviour. Carr wanted to deepen her knowledge of the European artistic trends, so she went back to Europe. There, she met and studied post-impressionist and Fauvist painters. Her meeting with modernist painter Harry Gibb, for instance, influenced her career heavily. She was shocked by the audacity of his work and then started to paint in a more vibrant colour palette herself.
Emily Carr, The Indian Church, 1929, oil on canvas