KATHLEEN MOIR MORRIS, A.R.C.A.
Private Collection, Ontario (acquired as a wedding gift directly from the artist, 1948)
Private Collection, Ontario (by descent)
Kathleen Moir Morris painted this charming oil sketch at Saint Sauveur, a community north-west of Montreal on one of her winter sketching trips. Her friend, A.Y. Jackson, told Morris that she was lucky to be painting in Quebec where good subject matter was everywhere to be found. Because of her physical infirmity, Morris would have to be taken by sleigh to the location and left to paint, dressed warmly and standing in the sleigh tracks if the snow was deep. A typical scene would feature a gathering of people outside a church or at market and include waiting horses, covered with brightly coloured blankets against the cold, hitched up to sleighs.
The subject of this sketch is less common. Its focus is a typical house in rural Quebec and the winter activities that take place within its ambit (snow shoveling). It has a familiar quality for people living in a northern climate and the topography and bellcast roof identify the location as Quebec. The human quality that characterizes much of the work of the Beaver Hall artists sets it apart from their Group of Seven contemporaries.
Undated, the work may have been painted in the 1930s. A work of this title was exhibited in the 1932 Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA) Annual Exhibition, in the 1938 RCA Exhibition and in a four-woman show in the Print Room at the Art Gallery of Toronto in 1941 (with Mabel Lockerby, Pegi Nicol and Marian Scott), where it is dated 1934. Morris was an associate of the Royal Canadian Academy (1929) and also showed at the Art Association of Montreal, with the Ontario Society of Artists and the Canadian Group of Painters.