Morrice, J. W. (James Wilson)

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Morrice, J. W. (James Wilson)

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James Wilson Morrice (1865-1924) was a Canadian painter. He was born in Montreal and studied at the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall law school. Although he was called to the Ontario Bar in 1889, he never practised law. Instead, he went to France in 1890 and studied art in Paris at the Académie Julian and with painters Henri Harpignies and James McNeill Whistler. Morrice returned to Canada often to visit and became a member of the Canadian Art Club in Toronto around 1907. On several of those occasions, he painted scenes of Quebec City and the surrounding countryside—his chief Canadian works. Among Canadian painters of the day, Curtis Williamson, Maurice Cullen and William Brymner were colleagues and friends. He travelled extensively in Europe but lived for the most part in Paris, exhibiting at the Salon d’Automne and associating with artists like Henri Matisse and Robert Henri and writers such as Arnold Bennett and Somerset Maugham. His trips to North Africa and the Caribbean produced some of his most colourful canvases. Morrice is generally considered the earliest Canadian painter to achieve an international reputation. His work is in the collections of the National Gallery in Ottawa and the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Montreal, as well as the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the Hermitage in St Petersburg and the Tate Gallery, London. He died in Tunis in 1924.


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Created 5 February 2019.


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