Dr. Richard Kaczynski reports that there’s a new, 240pp exhibition catalogue of the works by Canadian painter J. W. Morrice, a companion of Aleister Crowley’s from their Chat Blanc days in Paris ca 1902 recently published by National Gallery of Canada.
Crowley wrote about the painter in “Confessions”:
“Morrice is a ‘homo unius tabulae.’ He has only seen one thing in his life–it is the rosy dream which Venus and Bacchus bestow upon their favourites. His pictures swim in a mist of rich soft delicate colour which heightens the effect of the character of his draughtsmanship; and that suggests the same qualities by means of a different system of hieroglyphics.” (p. 353)
According to the Canadian paper, the Times Colonist:
“Among artists and art historians, James Wilson Morrice (1865-1924) is one of Canada’s most highly regarded painters, yet his name and his work are not otherwise familiar.
“In an impressive volume recently published by the National Gallery of Canada, the collector A.K. Prakash puts it this way: “Morrice is the least understood, if not the most misunderstood artist in the country. And that is partly the fault of the institutions that have obsessed themselves with the repetitive search and research on a number of other contemporaries — be they the Group of Seven or the Qubec-based Impressionists — who themselves looked up to Morrice.”
“The book has been published on the occasion of an exhibition of Prakash’s gift to the nation of almost 50 paintings by Morrice, a choice selection made over the past 30 years by this dedicated collector. This gift joins a collection of 89 Morrice paintings given to the National Gallery in 1989 by Toronto art dealer Blair Laing.”
Read the whole article here:
The National Gallery of Canada’s description of the exhibition begins:
“One of Canada’s foremost modernist painters, James Wilson Morrice (1865–1924) had a unique genius for distilling the life that swirled around him in markets, cafés, and parks into timeless moments. In fact, his genius was so pronounced that in 1909 the leading French critic of the period, Louis Vauxcelles, called Morrice the best North American painter on the international stage since the death of Whistler.”
A more extensive essay appears here: https://www.gallery.ca/whats-on/exhibitions-and-galleries/james-w-morrice-the-ak-prakash-collection-in-trust-to-the-nation.
And here’s the description of the catalogue:
“The essays in this beautifully illustrated catalogue, as well as an in-depth interview with A.K. Prakash, position the pioneering artist in his proper and deserved context – as an artist of Canadian descent who lived and worked in Europe, who travelled extensively, and who was associated with the leading modern artists and movements of the period. ”