One of Canada’s most beloved folk artists, Maud Lewis (1903 – 1970) was famous in her lifetime for her brightly coloured and endearing paintings of rural Nova Scotia. Working from her cabin on the side of the highway in Marshalltown, in Digby County, she produced hundreds of small works that captured aspects of country life that were rapidly changing.
Until now, the story of her difficult life has dominated the discussion of her art: her triumph over her physical disabilities and poverty, the harsh treatment she received at the hands of her family, and her alliance by chance with her husband Everett Lewis, who enabled her successful painting career over many decades. This show, however, will stress the aesthetic aspect of Maud Lewis’s achievement, looking carefully at her serial repetition of images and motifs across her career, and the dizzying variety that she brings to the problem of picture making. From her black cats and kittens, to her cart horses and oxen hauling logs, to her quayside scenes of ships in port and the Maritime landscape in all seasons, Maud Lewis made paintings that still delight in their optimism and buoyant vitality.
The exhibition is made possible through loans from leading Nova Scotian private collections, and features many works never before seen in public museums. An accompanying exhibition catalogue will be presented alongside the exhibition, featuring a comprehensive selection of these rarely-seen artworks from private collections.