Lawren S. Harris
Clouds, Lake Superior, 1923
oil on canvas
102.5 x 127.6 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John A. MacAulay, Q.C.
Lawren Harris was a major influence in Canada as a painter of landscapes, portraits, and later, abstract works. He was also a committed and articulate spokesman for both a spiritual and national dimension to art. As a member of the Group of Seven, Harris was interested in developing a quintessentially Canadian school of painting by confronting and depicting the majesty and power of the nation’s wilderness. The WAG painting demonstrates Harris’s interest, which developed in the 1920s, in the simplification of natural formations—clouds, islands, mountains, and trees—to raise awareness in a spiritual reality that he believed underlay the physical world. This spiritual reality is also manifested through colour. For Harris, blue signified intuition and feeling, and white was used to suggest purity.