Whenever I visit the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria I always drop in to ‘see’ Emily Carr. The AGGV has a small, semi-permanent exhibition of her work. It’s a great introduction to Emily Carr, as the show describes Emily’s life through photographs and text. There are examples of art from the different stages of her life, beginning with her early student work. I especially appreciate the inclusion of works by her contemporaries, such as Lawren Harris and Anne Savage.
One of my favourite Emily Carr paintings was not, I suspect, one of Emily’s favourites. Wild Lilies is an early work, and very traditional….not at all like her later forest works, where she grappled with the challenges of capturing the spirituality and strength of the west coast landscape.
Wild Lillies is not only a beautiful floral still life, but has a beautiful history. Emily donated it to the Sisters of St. Ann, in appreciation for their care of her sister, Lizzie, who died from breast cancer. A few years ago, the Sisters generously donated Wild Lilies to the AGGV.
I think knowing the backstory to any art increases appreciation of it and, often, the artist. Thank you for bringing Wild Lilies to light.
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