Lawren Harris sought greater spiritual heights as his career progressed. From looking up at mountains tops he turned inwards into states of mind. This iconic Canadian landscape painter took a seemingly unexpected turn toward abstract art in 1934–the year in which he moved to the United States, where he remained until 1940. While he came back to Canada, he rarely returned to painting landscapes but remained committed to the challenges of modernism and abstraction.
This one-day symposium will provide a forum for Canadian and American scholars to re-examine Lawren Harris’s artistic career in the context of prevailing modernist and spiritual currents. Examining the influence of artists from American Moderns such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Thomas Wilfred, to Expressionist Wassily Kandinsky and writers Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman, the event will offer a deeper understanding of the milieus, both artistic and literary, that were crucial to Harris’s artistic development.