Artwork by Doris Jean McCarthy,  Brigus, Newfoundland

Doris McCarthy
Brigus, Newfoundland

oil on canvas
signed lower right; titled on the stretcher; dated “900720” (July 20, 1990) on the reverse
36 x 48 ins ( 91.4 x 121.9 cms )

Auction Estimate: $30,000.00$25,000.00 - $30,000.00

Price Realized $78,000.00
Sale date: November 22nd 2021

Private Collection, Toronto
Doris McCarthy, Stuart Reid, and William Moore, “Celebrating Life: The Art of Doris McCarthy”, Toronto, 1999, page 79
Doris McCarthy was born in Calgary, Alberta on July 7, 1910, and travelled throughout Canada with her family from a young age. She studied at the Ontario College of Art from 1926 until 1930, and was hired by Group of Seven member, Arthur Lismer, for a teaching job at the Toronto Art Gallery. Like Lismer, McCarthy was fascinated with the beauty of Newfoundland.

Brigus is a small fishing community located in Conception Bay, Newfoundland, and boasts a charming postcard perfect landscape. Shiplap clad coastal homes in classic nautical colours pepper the landscape with its rolling green hills and rocky shorelines. The quaint locale reflects its strong ties to its English, Irish and Welsh roots. A favourite province to visit and paint, McCarthy loved to focus on the inlets and fjords, experimenting with colour, form, and compositional layout in her works.

Neighbour and art student, Barbara Joan Sutherland, sometimes accompanied McCarthy to Newfoundland. Fondly remembering one of their last trips together, Sutherland said of McCarthy, “Doris would say grace with gusto, giving thanks for whales and icebergs as well as for food and friends. This spirit makes those who are with her feel more awake and alive.” Sutherland also recalled a trip to Newfoundland with her mentor in 1995, where then 85-year-old McCarthy spontaneously decided to climb an extremely steep slope so that she could have tea with a friend who lived in the red house at the top of the cliff.

The simple and clean nature of the local architecture of Brigus lent perfectly to the artist’s practice and this bright work exemplifies McCarthy’s expertise in capturing the whimsical joy of the coastal landscape.

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Doris Jean McCarthy
(1910 - 2010) RCA, OSA

Born in Calgary, Alberta, McCarthy attended the Ontario College of Art from 1926–1930 where she was awarded various scholarships and prizes. She became a teacher shortly thereafter and taught most frequently at Central Technical School in downtown Toronto from 1932 until she retired in 1972. She spent most of her life living and working in Scarborough, Ontario though she travelled abroad extensively and painted the landscapes of various countries including: Costa Rica, Spain, Italy, Japan, India, England and Ireland. McCarthy was probably best-known for her Canadian landscapes and her depictions of Arctic icebergs.

McCarthy's work has been exhibited and collected extensively in Canada and abroad, in both public and private art galleries including: The National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, and The Doris McCarthy Art Gallery. McCarthy also penned three autobiographies chronicling the various stages of her life: A Fool in Paradise (Toronto: MacFarlane, Walter & Ross, 1990), The Good Wine (Toronto: MacFarlane, Walter & Ross, 1991), and Ninety Years Wise (Toronto: Second Story Press, 2004). She was also the recipient of the Order of Ontario, the Order of Canada; honorary degrees from the University of Calgary, the University of Toronto, Trent University, the University of Alberta, and Nipissing University; and an honorary fellowship from the Ontario College of Art and Design. She died on November 25, 2010.