One of the most important paintings of Canadian artist Emily Carr has recently been acquired by the Audain Art Museum
in Whistler. Entitled Le Paysage, the oil on board was painted in 1911 during the period Carr was studying in Brittany, France, under British artist Harry Gibb.
What makes this painting important in Canadian art history is that it is one of two Carr works that were accepted for the 1911 Salon dAutomne at the Grand Palais. The Salon dAutomne is an annual art exhibition held in Paris since 1903 which became the showpiece of innovation in 20th century art. In 1905, the Salon bore witness to the birth of Fauvism and in 1910 the launch of Cubism by artists such as Picasso and Braque.
Its amazing to think that a virtually unknown artist from Victoria, B.C. had two paintings accepted by the jury of this prestigious exhibition, particularly given that works by women were so rare, says Michael Audain, whose family foundation put up just under $1 million for the Museum to acquire the picture from a private collector. But, on this occasion, Emily Carr had two works up on the wall in the same company as great artists of the day: Bonnard, Braque, Leger, Matisse, and Picasso. Imagine what that must have done for her self confidence.
Originally called Le Paysage and later just Brittany, the picture is known to be genuine as Emily Carr sent it to Dr. Max Stern at the Dominion Gallery in Montreal with this information. She also wrote on the back in her own hand exhibited in Paris Salon. The other painting, Autumn in France, which accompanied this work has been in the National Gallery of Canadas collection since 1948.
Whistlers Audain Art Museum houses one of the leading collections of Emily Carrs works, along with in-depth holdings of First Nations and contemporary art from the Northwest Coast. In 2019 the Museum will mount the first exhibition of Emily Carrs French work, which so influenced her later development to become Canadas best known artist.