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Maurice Cullen

The Water Carriers


Maurice Cullen
Saint John's, Newfoundland, 1866 – Chambly, Quebec, 1934


The Water Carriers




Oil on canvas


62.5 x 92.5 cm


Gift of the Club Saint-Denis of Montreal (gift of Joseph Simard), inv. 2016.167


Quebec and Canadian Art

Maurice Cullen was admitted to the École nationale des Beaux-arts in Paris in 1888, and in 1895 he became the first Canadian artist named an associate member of the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts. He soon dedicated himself fully to landscape painting, working from nature in Moret, Giverny (where Claude Monet lived at the time) and Pouldu. At Grez, near Giverny, during a stay with Canadian artist William Blair Bruce, he came into contact with Swedish landscape artists who were disciples of Impressionism. Back in Canada, Cullen adapted what he had learned from Impressionism to local subjects, particularly the effects of light in winter. For Cullen, “snow borrows the colours of the sky and sun. It is blue, it is mauve, it is grey, even black, but never entirely white.” This painting was first exhibited at the Salon of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts held at the Art Gallery of the Art Association of Montreal (now the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts) in the spring of 1907.

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