James Wilson Morrice
Flower Study, c. 1910
oil on panel
33 x 22.9 cm
On long-term loan from The Winnipeg Foundation; Bequest of Kathleen Burrows Lightcap
Montreal-born artist James Wilson Morrice spent most of his career travelling through Europe, North Africa, and later the Caribbean. His work represents a critical turning point in early modern painting in Canada. It shares a tonal quality and simplicity of structure with the works of American artists such as James McNeill Whistler and Robert Henri, both of whom he met in Europe. These qualities give Morrice’s work a raw immediacy that is unlike most other Canadian paintings at the time, including the work of his friends Maurice Cullen, William Brymner, and Edmund Morris. By 1905, in Paris, Morrice had connected with the painters known as the Fauves, and was impressed by their bright, often arbitrary palette. In his later work, Morrice was particularly influenced by Henri Matisse’s use of simple, flat forms to create spatial tension in his work.