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Lucius O'Brien

Mount Sir Donald (Mountain Landscape)


Lucius O'Brien
Shanty Bay, Ontario, 1832 – Toronto 1899


Mount Sir Donald (Mountain Landscape)




Watercolour with gouache highlights over traces of graphite


76.3 x 54.6 cm


Gift of Lord Strathcona and family, inv. 1927.355


Graphic Arts

Mount Sir Donald, named for Montreal financier Donald Alexander Smith (later 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal), was depicted many times by Lucius O’Brien and other artists. O’Brien, already into his second term as president of the RCA, was the dean of Canadian landscape painters. The richly detailed watercolour in the Museum’s collection is one of the few works from the artist’s 1886 stay in Western Canada that were not lost during the intervening decades. Fittingly, it was presented to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts by the family of Lord Strathcona, whose monetary backing of the CPR was as essential to the transcontinental railway’s construction as O’Brien’s operatic imagery was to its popular promotion. The CPR’s program was at its peak when O’Brien visited the West in 1886, while exhibitions in Montreal were increasingly inundated with mountain scenery.

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