Artwork by James Wilson Morrice,  On Lake Champlain
Thumbnail of Artwork by James Wilson Morrice,  On Lake Champlain Thumbnail of Artwork by James Wilson Morrice,  On Lake Champlain Thumbnail of Artwork by James Wilson Morrice,  On Lake Champlain

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Cowley Abbott
326 Dundas St West
Toronto ON M5T 1G5
Ph. 1(416)479-9703

Lot #121

J.W. Morrice
On Lake Champlain

watercolour
titled in the lower left margin
6.75 x 9.75 ins ( 17.1 x 24.8 cms ) ( sheet )

Estimated: $6,000.00$4,000.00 - $6,000.00

Opens May 17th at 10:00:00 AM EDT
Closes May 31st at 02:15:00 PM EDT
Provenance:
Collection of the artist
Maternal family of the artist (circa 1888)
By descent to the present Private Collection, Ontario
Long before moving to Paris, Morrice “from Montreal” was already “quite an artist” in Toronto (“The class of ‘86", The Varsity Commencement Number; University College, June 1886). Before starting Law studies at Osgoode Hall the next Fall, he visited Lake Placid in the Adirondacks, bringing back watercolours of Mount Whiteface and the Ausable River. The popular tourist destination was easily reached from Montreal: after disembarking from the train at Port Kent, NY, on the west shore of Lake Champlain, a stagecoach would bring you to your hotel. The composition of “On Lake Champlain”, with its lonely figure walking in middle ground, is very close to Morrice’s 1886 depictions of Whiteface (Montreal Museum of Fine Arts). The view is probably towards the Vermont shore from the heights of Port Kent, the reflected dark grey stroke at left suggesting a steamer ferry near Burlington. Looking out over water, a ferry, perhaps an anchored sailboat (two light strokes where the trees meet the ground): the twenty-year old was already building his repertoire.

Some of Morrice’s holiday watercolours, ranging from 1882 to 1888, have been carefully mounted and inscribed with their subject, probably by his mother Annie Anderson. Eight watercolours (half with inscriptions) were given to the MMFA by the Morrice family, and some (none with inscriptions) were given to friends; “On Lake Champlain” belongs to a third group, very recently brought to our attention. These paintings, of which one is dated “88", were probably given by Annie to her half-sister Euphemia around mid-August 1888, when they buried their father in Galt; James Anderson, a miller immigrant from Scotland, had farmed near Brampton before retiring there. Annie Morrice was obviously very proud of her son’s artistic talents, while her husband David was still hoping that James would work for him as a lawyer...

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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Cowley Abbott
326 Dundas St West
Toronto ON M5T 1G5
Ph. 1(416)479-9703


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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.