Maud Lewis is one of Canada's most beloved folk artists. Born in 1903, Maud spent her life painting the enchanting and ever-changing places of rural Nova Scotia until her death in 1970. Coming July 23rd, her work will be featured in a new book, Maud Lewis: Paintings for Sale by Sarah Milroy. For years, Maud's paintings have been dominated by conversations of her disability and family life but that conversation changes with this new collection. Here is the 101 on Maud Lewis: Paintings for Sale.
Working from her cabin on the side of the highway in Marshalltown, Digby County, Maud captured the aspects of country life that were rapidly changing around her. Her choice of brightly coloured paint and imagery imbued her works with a sense of hopefulness and joy that, generations later, people continue to love and appreciate.
Over her lifetime, Maud painted hundreds of paintings. Maud Lewis: Paintings for Sale features a large selection. Excitedly, it includes many art works from private collections: paintings that have not been available to the public before. To accompany this art book, an exhibition is being held at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario, from June 29th till January 5th.
Sarah Milroy, the author of Maud Lewis: Paintings for Sale, is the Chief Curator at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. She is highly respected in her field and has contributed to more than a dozen books on art, such as Mary Pratt, From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia, and David Milne: Modern Painting. Maud Lewis: Paintings for Sale begins with a short essay piece by Sarah exploring Maud's life and art. She explains how Maud's artwork is "a guilty pleasure," one that entices with "the riot of [Maud's] colour, and the eccentricity of her creations," but whose "made-to-order product" goes against Sarah's vision of an artist. Maud painted what the people wanted, but as Sarah explains, that shouldn't take away from her "fierce creativity." Maud's art has enchanted the hearts and minds of people everywhere for years. Clearly she was doing something right.
Regardless of the love for Maud's paintings, she is often not taken seriously as an artist. Her work is worthy of critical acclaim and should be talked about in a critical sense. Maud's use of painting as a way to form independence and overcome disability is worth talking about, but as Sarah explains, that is not all her work is. Sarah points out Maud's eye for colour and contrast and her gift for structuring a scene. Maud Lewis: Paintings for Sale will hopefully start a new dialogue where Maud's artwork can be discussed under the terms of its aesthetic, motifs, and originality.
Maud Lewis is a huge part of Canadian history. Recognizing her work in art books and exhibitions is one way to spread her amazing work, but in 2016 a feature-length film was made depicting her life for viewers everywhere. Maudie explores the budding relationship of Maud and her husband, Everett Lewis, as well as her battle with arthritis and the growing popularity of her paintings.
Maud Lewis is an important part of Maritime and Canadian history. If you are excited about Maud Lewis: Paintings for Sale then check out Christmas With Maud Lewis. The perfect companion piece, Christmas With Maud Lewis is a stunning collection of Maud's work accompanied by the story of how this spirited woman celebrated the season in her life and art.