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Lucius O'Brien

Mount Sir Donald (Mountain Landscape)

Artist

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

Title

Mount Sir Donald (Mountain Landscape)

Date

1886

Materials

Watercolour with gouache highlights over traces of graphite

Dimensions

76.3 x 54.6 cm

Credits

Gift of Lord Strathcona and family, inv. 1927.355

Collection

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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