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Lilias Torrance Newton

Lady in Black
Mrs. Albert Henry Steward Gillson, née Olive May McChleary


Lilias Torrance Newton
Lachine, Quebec, 1896 – Cowansville, Quebec, 1980


Lady in Black
Mrs. Albert Henry Steward Gillson, née Olive May McChleary


About 1936


Oil on canvas


91.8 x 71.3 cm


Purchase, William Gilman Cheney Bequest, inv. 1939.699


Quebec and Canadian Art

For Lilias Torrance Newton, who painted about three hundred portraits – many featuring the most prominent Canadians of the period – close acquaintance with her mainly female models allowed her to convey their personality in more natural poses. The portrait Lady in Black was commissioned by Albert Henry Steward Gillson, the sitter’s husband and a member of the modern painting acquisition committee of the Art Association, which bought it in 1939. A little later the same year, Gillson organized an exhibition of Newton’s work at the Art Association. The characteristic elegance of her portraits contrasts with the frank vigour of those by Holgate, as seen in Holgate’s portrait of Gillson as a professor of mathematics, commissioned by the sitter in 1924.

© National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

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