Emily Carr (1871-1945)
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Emily Carr was a Canadian artist born in Victoria, British Columbia. Carr's art was greatly influenced by the indigenous groups in the Pacific Northwest of Canada. Carr grew up in a two-story house that is now known as the Emily Carr house, and is registered historical landmark in Canada.
Carr's parents died when she was only a teenager, which prompted her to move to San Francisco. Carr realized her interest in art and enrolled in the California School of Design. When Carr finished school she moved back to Victoria, where she transformed a family barn into a painting studio. Carr worked on her own paintings and offered art classes to children. After a few years of working in her self-made studio, Carr decided to continue her education and moved to London to study at the Westminster School of Art. Carr was not fond of the climate in London and relocated numerous times to schools in Cornwall, Bushey and Hertfordshire England.
In 1910 Carr spent a year studying at the Academie Colarossi in Paris before settling in her native British Columbia. Carr was fascinated by the First Nations cultures and made several visits to the Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakwaka'wakw, Haida, Tsimshian and Tlingit communities. Carr picked up the practice of painting totem poles in order to learn more about them. Carr continued to make paintings influenced by the post-impresionist and fauvist styles she had learned about in France.
In 1913 Carr returned to Victoria for financial reasons. Carr felt extremely isolated and unable to find artistic support. Carr stopped painting for several years and worked as a potter and dog breeder.
In 1920 Carr was invited to participate in a show at the National Gallery of Canada in Ontario titled "Canadian West Coast Art, Native and Modern". At the exhibition Carr met the "Group of Seven", who were focused on creating distinctly Canadian art. Carr was accepted by the group and began showing with them. Carr's enthusiasm in painting was restored and she made some of her best-known pieces. The Group of Seven sometimes referred to Carr as "The Mother of Modern Arts".
Carr had many exhibitions during the 1930s in prestigious locations such as the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Vancouver Art Gallery. Carr has become an icon in Canada, and an inspiration to women artists around the world. Do you think you own a painting by Emily Carr? Contact us. We are the Emily Carr experts.