Exhibition of Nova Scotia folk artist Maud Lewis debuts at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection this summer

White Cats with Blue Eyes

Maud Lewis (1903 – 1970) Untitled (White Cats with Blue Eyes), c.1965 oil on board 35 x 40.5 cm Private Collection © Art Gallery of Nova Scotia


June 14, 2019, Kleinburg, ON – The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is pleased to announce the debut of its highly anticipated exhibition Maud Lewis this summer. The exhibition will open to the public on June 29 and will remain on view through January 5, 2020. Featuring more than 130 works by beloved Nova Scotia folk artist Maud Lewis (1903 – 1970), the exhibition will focus on her endearing artistic accomplishments, featuring many never-before-seen pieces.

“We are overjoyed to be presenting the work of this remarkable woman,” says McMichael Chief Curator Sarah Milroy. “She had a distinctive gift for colour and composition, wringing endless delightful variations in marvellous profusion. Her colours sing, and the happiness they convey is more remarkable given the difficulties of her life. She’s truly inspiring, both as an artist and as a creative and resilient human being.”

Lewis’s work is built around the serial repetition of images, symbols and motifs. From patterns of cats and kittens, to rustic images of horse-drawn carts and oxen, to breezy scenes of ships in the harbour, Lewis’s work appealed to audiences nostalgic for cheerful depictions of rural life in Atlantic Canada. Her mastery of colour, endless compositional variety and exuberant vernacular style also mark her as one of Canada’s most formally inventive folk artists.

“With the debut of the Maud Lewis exhibition, the McMichael is hoping to transform the landscape of discussion around her work,” says Milroy. “Lewis’s story is a triumphant tale of the strength of her human spirit, but we also think that it’s the story of the strength of a great artist. As one of the only major public galleries devoted to the story of the art of Canada, we think the Maud Lewis chapter deserves to be better known, and that her extraordinary artistic accomplishments should be celebrated.”

“The Maud Lewis exhibition will be a wonderful addition to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection,” said Michael Tibollo, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “Maud Lewis painted cheerful and bright works, despite her life struggles. Now, we will have the opportunity to see them right here in Ontario as a part of the McMichael collection’s story of the Canadian experience.”

This exhibition is made possible by the generous support of leading private collectors in Nova Scotia and will be accompanied by an exhibition catalogue featuring a comprehensive selection of rarely seen artworks from private collections.

About Maud Lewis

Nova Scotia folk artist Maud Lewis (1903 – 1970) is recognized as one of Canada’s most beloved folk artists. She was famous in her lifetime for her brightly coloured 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.
Media wishing to speak with exhibition curator Sarah Milroy, view the exhibition, or request high-resolution images of the artworks may contact Sam Cheung at scheung@mcmichael.com or 905.893.1121 ext. 2210.

About the McMichael Canadian Art Collection

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is an agency of the Government of Ontario and acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and the McMichael Canadian Art Foundation. It is the foremost venue in the country showcasing the Group of Seven and their contemporaries. In addition to touring exhibitions, its permanent collection consists of over 6,500 artworks by Canadian artists, including paintings by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, as well as First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists. The gallery is located on 100 acres of northern landscape and hiking trails at 10365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg, north of Major Mackenzie Drive in the City of Vaughan. For more information, please visit mcmichael.com.

*THE ART OF CANADA is an official mark of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

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Media Contacts:

Sam Cheung
Media Relations and Communications Coordinator

McMichael Canadian Art Collection
905.893.1121 ext. 2210
scheung @mcmichael.com

Grace Johnstone
Director, Communications, Marketing and Sales
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
905.893.1121 ext. 2265