Canadian (born in England), 1885–1969
Sombre Isle of Pic, Lake Superior, 1927
oil on canvas
87.5 x 110.3 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of Mrs. R.A. Purves
The view overlooking Pic Island, depicted in Arthur Lismer’s painting, was a popular subject among the Group of Seven. As well as offering the painter impressive vistas and vantage points, the Algoma region (located on the northern shore of Lake Superior) contains fine examples of windswept pine, steep cliffs, and soaring peaks, all favourite and abiding motifs for the Group. Lismer marshals the undulating topography and shifting colour schemes into a perceptual maze, leading the viewer on a tour of the landscape’s broad natural rhythms. The absence of any human presence highlights a sense of wilderness strength and fortitude, an enduring muse for Lismer and the Group, and signifier of a robustly nationalistic Canadian art.