In 2015, the National Gallery of Canada received a considerable donation from art dealer and collector A.K. Prakash: 49 paintings by Canadian modernist painter James Wilson Morrice. Now, two years later, the collection of works is on showcase for the exclusive exhibition James Wilson Morrice: The A.K. Prakash Collection in Trust to the Nation, on until March 18, 2018.
The Montreal artist, known for his post-Impressionist oeuvre of delicately painted petite wooden panels, left behind an affluent family and career in law when he chose to pursue his passion for art, attending schools in London and Paris. While most Canadian artists only remained abroad to study, Morrice settled in Paris where he thrived among his contemporaries in the city’s artistic community. Still, the drive to find fresh landscapes to paint would eventually lead him to many other parts of the world: North Africa, where he lived with friend and fellow artist Henri Matisse; Italy, where he painted romantic canals and was featured at the 1958 Venice Biennale; and in his later years, the sunny warmth of the Caribbean. However, it was Quebec that drew his heart back home every winter, to paint pristine snow-covered scenes in Montreal, Quebec City, and the countryside.
As a talented painter, pioneer of modernism, and world traveller, Morrice left behind a legacy as the first Canadian artist to achieve an international reputation.
James Wilson Morrice: The A.K. Prakash Collection in Trust to the Nation is on at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario until March 18, 2018. Visit gallery.ca for more information.
Photos courtesy of the National Gallery of Canada.
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