Artist Biography

Lawren Stewart Harris (1885-1970) was a Canadian landscape painter and an influential member of the Group of Seven. Born in Brampton, Ontario, Harris devoted his life and work to art. He attended the University of Toronto in 1903 and spent the following three years (1904-1907) at art school in Berlin. In Berlin, Harris became interested in Theosophy – a mystical division of religious philosophy. He was fascinated by the theosophical concept of nature, and this fascination heavily influenced his later painting.

Harris returned to Canada in 1908 and began a series of painting trips to northern parts of the country. He spent seven consecutive autumns (1917-1922) painting in Algoma and Lake Superior. He began painting annually in the Rockies (1924-1927) and in 1930 went on a painting trip to the Arctic. In 1920, Harris joined with other Canadian artists to form the Group of Seven – Canadian artists who created bold, new representations of the Canadian landscape.

In 1934, Harris moved to the United States, where he began expressing his spiritual ideals through Abstraction. He helped to found the Transcendental Painting Group – artists who advocated spiritual abstraction. In 1940, Harris settled in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he continued to explore Abstraction until his death. Harris led the way for other artists to move into Abstraction and Modernism and had a profound influence on three generations of Canadian artists.