- [1914?] - 1965 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
3 cm of textual records
Name of creator
Arthur Lismer, painter and art educator, was born in Sheffield, England in 1885. He studied at the Sheffield School of Art 1899–1906 and later at the Académie royale des beaux-arts in Antwerp. In 1911 he immigrated to Toronto where he worked as a commercial illustrator for the Grip Engraving Company and taught at the Ontario College of Art. He married Esther Mawson in 1912 and their only child Marjorie was born in 1913. Lismer's career as an art educator began at the Victoria School of Art and Design in Halifax, 1916–1919, followed soon after by his appointment as Vice-President of the Ontario College of Art in Toronto. In 1920 he became a founding member of the Group of Seven. His best-known works in oil are wilderness landscapes, expressionist in style with a use of raw colour and simplified form. He also produced many works on paper, including several portraits. Lismer established a Children's Art Centre at the Art Gallery of Toronto, where he was educational supervisor, 1927–1938. He was briefly educational supervisor at the National Gallery of Canada, later holding that post at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts from 1941 to 1967. He was assistant professor of fine arts at McGill University, 1948–1954. He died in Montreal in 1969. Arthur Lismer was a member of the Arts and Letters Club, Ontario Society of Artists, Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, Canadian Group of Painters, Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour, and Federation of Canadian Artists. His work is in many Canadian public collections. Following her father’s death, Marjorie Lismer Bridges devoted a number of years to organizing his archival records and gradually donating them to public repositories. She wrote the “Arthur Lismer source book”, which is included in the fonds.
Name of creator
Marjorie Lismer Bridges (1913-2006), who lived most of her life in Ashton, Maryland, devoted a number of years to organizing her father’s archival records after his death, gradually donating them to public repositories. Her book on her father’s drawings, A Border of Beauty: Arthur Lismer’s Pen and Pencil (Toronto: Red Rock), was published in 1977. She also wrote the “Arthur Lismer source book,” included in the Arthur Lismer and Marjorie Lismer Bridges fonds.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
AGO Credit Line: Gift of Marjorie Lismer Bridges, 1976-1987
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Series comprises Arthur Lismer’s correspondence, chiefly between the 1920s to 1950s, with officials at the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa); the Children’s Art Centre at the Art Gallery of Toronto; Charles S. Band, president of the Art Gallery of Toronto; with miscellaneous active (unsent) and passive correspondence; and typed transcripts of some handwritten letters.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
No further accruals are expected
System of arrangement
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Open. Access to Special Collections is by appointment only. Please contact the reference desk for more information.
Conditions governing reproduction
Copyright of material in the Arthur Lismer and Marjorie Lismer Bridges fonds remains with the heir(s) of the Lismer estate. It is the researcher’s responsibility to obtain permission to publish any part of the fonds.
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
The University of Toronto Archives holds correspondence of Arthur Lismer in its Vincent Massey Personal Records fonds. — Victoria University Library at the University of Toronto holds his correspondence with Frederick Housser in its Yvonne McKague Housser fonds (no. 40). — Library and Archives Canada holds a letter (1916) from Lismer in its Tom Thomson collection (MG30 D284 Vol. 1, File 2). — The National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives holds a letter (1914) from Lismer in its Dr. James M. MacCallum papers.