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Higher States: Lawren Harris and His American Contemporaries

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Exhibition Dates: February 4 – September 4, 2017


From mountains to states of mind, Harris aimed to go higher. Higher States frames the iconic Canadian landscape painter and member of the Group of Seven in the larger North American context during his years in New Hampshire and New Mexico, where he fully began to engage with abstraction. The abstract works he painted during this period were rooted in a commitment to the “spiritual in art.”

The exhibition also features an important presentation of his US counterparts, including Georgia O’Keeffe, Arthur Dove, Raymond Jonson, and Marsden Hartley. Select examples of abstract art by Canadian and American painters will show that Harris was part of an international movement inspired by Kandinsky and richly infused by American Transcendentalist writers, such as Emerson and Whitman, and by the syncretic beliefs of Theosophy.

Discover a selection of approximately seventy paintings as guest curators Dr. Roald Nasgaard and Gwendolyn Owens investigate the evolution of Harris’s paintings from landscape to abstraction and the role he played in cross-border artistic development.

Lead Sponsor: Assante Wealth Management Group of Seven Wealth Advisors. Exhibition Sponsors: FORD of Canada and the McMichael Volunteer Committee.

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Related Programming: Harris and Modernity Symposium
Monday, March 20, 9 am to 5 pm

A+ seating (first three rows only): $90 general public; $72 McMichael members.
A seating: $80 general public; $64 McMichael members; $25 for students with valid ID.

Fee includes gallery admission, a boxed lunch, and refreshments. Registration required.

This one-day symposium will provide a forum for Canadian and American scholars to re-examine Lawren Harris’s artistic career in the context of prevailing Modernist and spiritual currents. Examining the influence of artists from American Moderns such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Thomas Wilfred, to Expressionist Wassily Kandinsky, and to writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman, the event will offer a deeper understanding of the milieus, both artistic and literary, that were crucial to Harris’s artistic development.

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Lawren S. Harris (Canadian, 1885-1970), Abstraction 119, ca. 1945, oil on canvas, 171 x 141 cm, Audain Art Museum Collection, Whistler, Gift of Michael Audain and Yoshiko Karasawa, (2015.007), © Family of Lawren S. Harris


McMichael Canadian Art Collection
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Kleinburg, Ontario, Canada L0J 1C0
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 4 pm
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Media Contact Information:
Simona Panetta-Kerr
905.893.1121 ext. 2210
spanetta-kerr@mcmichael.com


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