Artwork by James Wilson Morrice,  Trees Along a River

J.W. Morrice
Trees Along a River

oil on canvas
the artist studio stamp on the reverse
6.5 x 9 ins ( 16.5 x 22.9 cms )

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

Price Realized $24,000.00
Sale date: November 22nd 2021

Continental Galleries, Montreal
Private Collection, Toronto
Kastel Gallery, Montreal
Private Collection, Ontario
A lovely little study, quickly put down with very few colours. Long before Morrice discovered the little wooden panels that would bring him fame, he knew how to tell a story with a minimum of means; the composition is simple yet perfect, perhaps inspired by his French teacher Henri Harpignies. A riverbank at the “golden hour”, leaves slowly rustling in the wind; we approach slowly... and finally see the small boat and its passenger quietly waiting... for us? This figure was probably added by the artist to balance all that green, perhaps another lesson from Harpignies, learned in Paris. But this is probably not the Seine (as later titles suggest): such a quiet spot in the countryside is much easier to find in England, even on the Thames, than on the much-built Seine river. Morrice is documented twice in London in 1891 in April; nothing else is known of this sojourn, spare a few small oils on canvas, and two sketchbooks (Montreal Museum of Fine Arts), date from that stay; all works – except a drawing of a London street – show the countryside, with no clue as to their location.

We extend our thanks to Lucie Dorais, Canadian art historian and author of “J.W. Morrice” (National Gallery of Canada, 1985), for contributing this essay.

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James Wilson Morrice
(1865 - 1924) RCA

James Wilson Morrice, Canadian painter, was born in Montreal in 1865. Abandoning law, he went to Paris where he studied painting. He visited Venice, Trinidad, Tunis, and periodically returned to Canada. Admired for his subtle colouring and delicate rendering of landscapes, Morrice greatly influenced younger Canadian artists.