Emily Carr

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Emily Carr

Emily Carr (December 13, 1871March 2, 1945) was a Canadian artist and writer.

She was born in Victoria, British Columbia, and moved to San Francisco in 1890 to study art after the death of her parents. In 1910, she spent a year studying art at the Académie Colarossi in Paris before moving back to British Columbia permanently the following year.

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Odds and Ends, by Emily Carr

Carr was most heavily influenced by the landscape and First Nations cultures of British Columbia, Alaska, and elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest. In 1908 she began to paint Haida and Tlingit totem poles, in an attempt to record all the remaining poles in the province. Her studies in France influenced her impressionist style, which was, at first, not well-received in the Canadian art world. In 1913 she exhibited hundreds of her paintings depicting native culture, but it was largely ignored. She then tried to sell the paintings to the government of British Columbia, but the province was not interested. Because of this she gave up painting as a profession for over a decade.

In the 1920s she came into contact with members of the Group of Seven, who had come to British Columbia for inspiration. A. Y. Jackson especially noticed the resemblance of her style to the style of the Group of Seven and introduced her to the art world of eastern Canada. She travelled to Ontario in 1927 where her paintings were included in a Group of Seven exhibition for the National Gallery of Canada.

The Tlingit First Nation of British Columbia nicknamed Carr Klee Wyck, "the laughing one." She gave this name to a book about her experiences with the natives, published in 1941. The book won the Governor General's Award that year. In 1945 she published an autobiography of her childhood in Victoria, entitled Growing Pains.

Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, and Emily Carr Elementary School in Vancouver, British Columbia are named after her.

Emily Carr is interred in the Ross Bay Cemetery in Victoria.

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