LUCIUS RICHARD O'BRIEN, O.S.A., P.R.C.A.
TORONTO FROM THE MARSH
signed and dated 1873
13.5 ins x 20.5 ins; 33.8 cms x 51.3 cms
Reid (1979) considers O’Brien to be the best of the painters of the mid-seventies: “His watercolours were seen to be ‘truthful, clear, and harmonious, and…the evident handiwork of a man keenly alive to the beauties of nature, and enthusiastically anxious to do faithful work…No other painter seems to understand Nature like Mr. O;Brien.” Indeed, these qualities of individuality, of thoughtfulness, of clarity and harmony are particularly evident in “Toronto from the Marsh.”
According to Reid (1990), this lot may have been included in the 1874 O.S.A. exhibition. “Toronto from the Marsh” presents the provincial capital as an attractive, indeed commanding, backdrop to an image of men in boats enjoying, if not living by, nature.
Dennis Reid, “Our Own Country Canada, Being an Account of the National Aspiration of the Principal Landscape Artists in Montreal and Toronto, 1860-1890”, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1979, pages 227-229, and plate 90, reproduced.
Dennis Reid, “Lucius R. O’Brien: Visions of Victorian Canada”, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 1990, page 28 and 131, plate 8, reproduced.
Our Own Country Canada, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1978-1979, no.90. Also shown at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, July 4-Aug. 19, 1979.
Lucius R. O’Brien: Visions of Victorian Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 28 September-25 November, 1990, no.8. Also shown at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver and Musee du Quebec, Quebec.