Chosen by: Dana Sullivant, Gallery Director of Marketing and Communications
“One day in the spring of 2000, my husband retrieved his brushes, palette knife and several canvases from a far corner of the attic —untouched since his days as an art and film major at the University of Oklahoma—bought several tubes of oil paint, and began painting. For a man who dabbles in photography, bonsai and various other creative pursuits as the mood strikes, this wasn’t entirely out of character, but he did surprise himself—and me—by completing several very nice landscapes.
After placing some of his paintings on display in our family room, two good friends and neighbours, a couple from Canada who lived across the street from us in Dallas suburbia, remarked that they reminded them of Arthur Lismer’s work and very kindly loaned us a book on the Group of Seven. Seeing their art for the first time, I was struck by the emotion and power of their work, so similar and yet so different from that of the Taos Society, Georgia O’Keefe and other late 19th and early 20th century American artists who depicted the “wide and lonely” places with such passion.
Later that year, my husband accepted an offer from a company in Vancouver. I joined him in 2001 and, in 2005, became a member of the staff of the Vancouver Art Gallery, returning to the museum world I’ve loved for two decades. I’m happy to say that my knowledge of contemporary and historic Canadian art has increased exponentially, but seeing a painting by Arthur Lismer always makes me smile; a colourful reminder of how life turns in small circles, and the future is sometimes revealed in the most wonderful way.”
Arthur Lismer, Vancouver Island, B.C., 1952. Oil on canvas. Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Gift of Garth and Lynette Thurber.