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Emily Carr: Fresh Seeing – French Modernism and the West Coast

Take a fresh look at Emily Carr. Now she’s beloved as a Canadian icon of arts and letters. But first, she broke all the rules.

In 1911, Carr visited France, where she charted new ground as a modernist painter. Time spent at her canvas and encounters with international artists changed her forever. When she returned to BC, her painting style had been transformed. This exhibition investigates Carr’s momentous journey to France that broke the bonds of her conservative art training.

With artworks depicting landscapes from the French countryside to the shores of Haida Gwaii to the banks of the mighty Skeena River, Emily Carr: Fresh Seeing captures the moment Carr revolutionized Canadian modernism.

Records from the Royal BC Museum Emily Carr collection—the world’s largest—will also be included in the exhibition. Postcards sent home from France and detailed lists of travel expenses from Carr and her sister Alice add a highly personal lens through which to understand Carr’s life and work.

Emily Carr is a Canadian icon. Her paintings are cared for and exhibited in more than 35 public galleries, museums and institutions worldwide and treasured in countless private collections. The Royal BC Museum’s collection includes over 100 impressive paintings and a treasure trove of 1000 sketches and handicrafts—diaries, notebooks, scrapbooks, letters and manuscripts—making up the world’s largest collection of Emily Carr materials, one which spans her entire career.
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