Artwork by Nora Frances Elisabeth Collyer,  Indian Church, Tadoussac, Quebec

Nora Collyer
Indian Church, Tadoussac, Quebec

oil on board
signed lower left; signed, titled and dated April 29, 1947 on the reverse; a sketch of a cottage landscape on the reverse
12 x 14 ins ( 30.5 x 35.6 cms )

Auction Estimate: $12,000.00$9,000.00 - $12,000.00

Price Realized $10,350.00
Sale date: November 23rd 2017

Private Collection, Montreal
By descent to the present Private Collection, Ontario
Evelyn Walters, The Women of Beaver Hall: Canadian Modernist Painters, Toronto, 2005, page 23
Nora Collyer embarked on many sketching trips throughout Quebec as a student with Maurice Cullen, who was a strong influence on her work. Evelyn Palmer writes that her “technique is never harsh and is remarkable for its shapes, rich colour, and soft rhythms. Rarely figurative, her favourite subjects are flowers, woods, riverscapes, old houses, churches and villages.” Collyer’s double-sided oil “Indian Church, Tadoussac” embodies a pleasing ‘soft rhythm’ in the chapel’s curving roof and the slanted gravestones on the lawn of the foreground.

The painting depicts the Tadoussac Chapel, Canada’s oldest wooden church, built in 1747. Because it was constructed by the Jesuit missionaries in their attempt to convert the Montagnais to Christianity, it is also known as the Indians' Chapel, as it is referenced by Collyer. Collyer may have travelled to the town of Tadoussac on a sketching trip or for a summer holiday. The Quebec village dates back as far as Jacques Cartier's September 1535 arrival to the American continent, and served as the first fur trading post in Canada. Tadoussac has been a popular vacation destination since the mid 1800s, for residents of Quebec and abroad.

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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