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From the Forest to the Sea

From the Forest to the Sea

Emily Carr captures the natural and cultural landscapes of British Columbia like no other artist before or after her.

This major volume, designed to accompany an exhibition organized by the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, gathers work from all phases of this extraordinary artist's career — from her delicate early watercolours of the 1890s to her expressive hybrids of the 1930s and 1940s, which carry European and North American Modernist traditions with the formal stylizations of Indigenous design.

Carr's lifelong fascination with British Columbia's original inhabitants transformed her. Visiting First Nations villages up and down the coast, she absorbed the essence of the place she loved so well. Those experiences changed her life and charged her work, inspiring her imagination.

This monumental volume features more than 100 colour reproductions of Carr's work, including some of her most renowned paintings, in dialogue with dozens of indigenous artifacts from the Pacific Northwest: historic masks, baskets, and ceremonial objects by Haida, Kwakwaka'wakw, Nuu-chah-nulth, Salish, Tlingit, and Tsimshian makers. Drawn from public and private collections, including the British Museum, the Pitt Rivers Museum, Horniman Museum and Gardens, and the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, these artifacts illuminate Carr's connections to Indigenous cultures.

From the Forest to the Sea features written contributions by Toronto writer and art critic Sarah Milroy; Ian Dejardin, Director of Dulwich Picture Gallery (London) acclaimed contemporary artists Peter Doig and Jessica Stockholder; leading Carr scholars Ian Thom, Charles Hill, Kathryn Bridge, and Gerta Moray; Haida hereditary chief and master carver James Hart; Kwakwaka'wakw artists Corrine Hunt and Marianne Nicolson; and anthropologists Robert Storrie and Karen Duffek. Together, they illuminate Carr's immense legacy and the connections to First Nations culture that inspired her work.


Sarah Milroy is a Toronto writer and art critic. She served as editor and publisher of Canadian Art magazine (1991–1996) and as art critic for the Globe and Mail (2001–2010). Milroy has contributed to publications on the work of Gathie Falk, Jack Chambers, Greg Curnoe and Fred Herzog, and is a regular contributor to Canadian Art, Border Crossings, and the Walrus.

Ian A.C. Dejardin is an art historian and director of the Dulwich Picture Gallery in Dulwich, southeast London, England. He succeeded Desmond Shawe-Taylor as director in 2005 and was previously a chief curator at the gallery from 1998.

Winner: Canadian Museum Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research -- Art
"This dynamic book moves confidently between Carr’s wonderful work and the First Nations culture that inspired her." — Quill & Quire

"While there is no doubt that Emily Carr herself is the subject of From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia, the curators have taken considerable care to acquire the Native perspective on Carr’s work." — BC Studies: The British Columbia Quarterly

"This is an indispensable guide and provides enrichment to both the neophyte and stalwart Carr researcher. [Carr’s] inexpressible exuberance and free-flowing imagination are given colour and her sensibility heightened in these pages." — The Prairie Journal

304 pages
Pub date: April 21, 2015