A Brief History of Lawren Harris

Written by Janvi Sharma

Lawren Harris (born in 1885 and dead by 1970) was a Canadian painter who played a significant role in shaping the early 20th century Canadian art scene. 

Born into a wealthy family in Brantford, Ontario, Harris studied in Berlin and New York. Influenced by Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, he developed a distinctive style with bold geometric forms and a focus on the Canadian landscape. His paintings often depicted the rugged beauty of the country’s wilderness, reflecting spiritual and metaphysical significance. Harris’ artistic vision emphasized a unique national identity tied to the country’s natural surroundings. Later, he explored abstract and spiritual themes, establishing a deeper connection between art and spirituality! 

Lawren Harris

“Isolation Peak” is one of the paintings made by Lawren Harris in 1930. 

It features a stylized geometric mountain peak in a restrained colour palette. The painting conveys isolation and spiritual depth, emphasising the landscape’s monumental nature. The play of light and shadow adds drama, giving it a transcendent quality. Harris’ unique artistic vision and influence on Canadian art make it a testament to nature’s ability to inspire deeper contemplation. 

Isolation Peak

The “North Shore, Lake Superior” is a series created by Lawren Harris between 1922 and 1924. 

It is a renowned collection of paintings that depict the rugged beauty of the northern wilderness around Lake Superior within 43 paintings. The series features rocky shores, dense forests, and turbulent waters, evoking a sense of awe and reverence for nature. Harris’ distinctive style, characterized by bold geometric forms and a limited color palette, played a significant role in shaping Canada’s artistic identity and remains celebrated for its powerful portrayal of the Canadian landscape.

The last of lawren harris’s paintings i’ll be mentioning is “Abstract Painting No. 20”. Created in 1939, it is a significant departure from his earlier representational works. 

It features bold, dynamic shapes and a freeform composition, reflecting his interest in exploring spiritual themes. This painting deviates from traditional landscape depictions, showcasing Harris’ willingness to push artistic boundaries. It represents his evolution as an artist and his commitment to exploring deeper, more abstract dimensions of artistic creation! 

Here’s a link to more of Lawren Harris’ artworks

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