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James Wilson Morrice



James Wilson Morrice
Montreal 1865 – Tunis 1924




About 1911-1912


Oil on canvas


62.1 x 50.8 cm


Gift of Dr. G. R. McCall, inv. 1978.32


Quebec and Canadian Art

Known for his landscapes, which comprised the bulk of his output, Morrice aspired to be recognized for his portraiture. However, he did not exhibit any – no more than a model study – before 1907. In 1908, he was a jury member for the Salon d’Automne in Paris, along with Matisse. Even though nothing is known of the relationship between the two artists prior to their trip to Tangier in 1912, the influence of the master is evident in some of Morrice’s portraits from the early 1910s. However, it is rather through the work of Bonnard – who also became acquainted with Matisse in 1905 – that we can appreciate the portrait of Blanche, a model who inspired several intimate, decorative paintings. For Morrice, Bonnard was the “best man here now – since Gauguin died.” At the time, Morrice’s palette was brighter, and he made his subject vibrate with complementary colours. Here, the intimate moment is revealed through harmonies.

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