Lawren Harris (1885-1970) is among the most iconic of Canadian artists. Harris was an outspoken defender of modernism, and a very private person.
In this gripping, sympathetic account, James King writes about Harris’s public persona as the spokesman for the Group of Seven as well as his championship of Canadian art and artists.
Lawren Harris was born to great wealth. So, he spent much of his life selflessly promoting Canadian paintings and the interests of his fellow artists. But Harris’s personal struggle to become an artist was long and complex, and he was beset by much turmoil throughout his life.
In early 1930, he achieved a creative peak and turned his back on representational art and spent the remainder of his career becoming an abstract painter.
Unfortunately, Harris’s unhappy first marriage, his flight to New Hampshire and New Mexico, his lifelong interest in theosophy, his sometimes overbearing attitude towards younger artists, and the full magnitude of his inner struggles are all dealt with fully in this sensitive and engaging narrative that captures the complexity of the man behind the mask.
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth