Artwork by Nora Frances Elisabeth Collyer,  Village on the St. Lawrence River

Nora Collyer
Village on the St. Lawrence River

oil on canvas
signed lower right; signed, titled and dated 1937 on the stretcher; an unfinished portrait of two girls on the reverse
26.25 x 28.25 ins ( 66.7 x 71.8 cms )

Auction Estimate: $30,000.00$20,000.00 - $30,000.00

Price Realized $32,200.00
Sale date: November 23rd 2017

Private Collection, Montreal
By descent to the present Private Collection, Ontario
Robert Ayre, “Gentlemen and Ladies!”, The Montreal Star, April 25, 1964
Evelyn Walters, The Women of Beaver Hall: Canadian Modernist Painters, Toronto, 2005, page 23
The Beaver Hall group of modernist painters had a distinctive style rooted in the life and culture of Montreal and Quebec. As a member of the group, Collyer expressed her love of the St. Lawrence landscape in her dynamic works. Growing up in Montreal with English Protestant parents, the artist was imbued with a strong sense of community and gravitated towards depicting landscapes of villages and tokens of rural communities.

Rich in jewel tones, “Village on the St. Lawrence River” incorporates all of the artists favourite subjects in this charming composition. A snug village tucked into the hills of the St. Lawrence, a church at the centre of the community, and a boat travelling down the river in the background. All of these elements and references to community life are executed with bold colour and rhythmic form. The eye moves fluidly over the composition, seamlessly moving from each element and inciting a feeling of smooth calm whilst overlooking the vista.

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Nora Frances Elisabeth Collyer
(1898 - 1979) Beaver Hall Group

Nora Collyer was born in Montreal. She studied at the Art Association of Montreal, one of the few art institutions that admitted female students at the time. The school was directed by RCA president, William Brymner. At the AAM (which later became the Montreal Museum of Fine Art), she received professional instruction from Brymner and landscape artist, Maurice Cullen. In 1921 she joined fellow AAM graduates at their studio at 305 Beaver Hill Hall. This association of artists called themselves the Beaver Hall Group. The three story house offered the artists inexpensive studio space and A large room on the ground floor, which served as their exhibition gallery. Nora shared a studio in fellow AAM colleague, Anne Savage. The group was connected with the Group of Seven through A.Y.Jackson, who was a member of both groups and they were invited to exhibit together. The group had disbanded after only two years, but the women in the group continued to associate together.

In the years that followed, Nora taught drawing at Trafalgar School and at the AAM with Sarah Robertson. She participated in the Spring Exhibitions of the AAM from 1919 to 1955. Her choice of subject matter included portraiture, still lifes and landscapes portrayed in different seasons of the year. She also exhibited with the RCA from 1922 to 1942 and with the Canadian Group of Painters. She held solo exhibitions at the Dominion Gallery (1946) and at the Walter Klinkhoff Gallery (1964). Nora Collyer was a member of the Federation of Canadian Artists. The women of the Beaver Hall Group were honoured with an exhibition of their work at the National Gallery of Canada in 1967. Nora Collyer died in Montreal at the age of 81.

A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Vol.1, Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks, 1997
Painting Friends, The Beaver Hall Women Painters, Barbara Meadowcroft, Véhicule Press, 1999