The Joyous World of Overlooked Canadian Folk Artist Maud Lewis
Charming rural landscape, featuring a covered bridge, horses and sleighs, and the village and church in the background.
The artist, who is the subject of a Irish/Canadian docudrama just released at the Toronto International Film Festival (2016), Maud Lewis is played by Sally Hawkins, recently nominated herself for an Oscar.
Maud Lewis (1903-1970) was born in South Ohio, Nova Scotia, Canada. She remains one of Canada's best known folk artists.
This particular work comes with a letter of provenance, explaining how it came to be acquired through a personal visit to the artist's home in the 1960s.
Crippled by juvenile rheumatoid arthritis Maude Lewis endured many hardships in her life. In 1938 Maud married Everett Lewis, a fish peddler She answered an advertisement posted in the local stores looking for a "live-in or keep house" for a forty year old bachelor. Several weeks later they were married.
Maud spent the rest of her life living with Everett in their house in Marshalltown. She began her artistic career by selling hand-drawn and painted Christmas cards. These proved popular with her husband's customers as he sold fish door to door and encouraged her to begin painting. She used bright colours in her paintings and subjects were often of flowers, oxen teams, horses, birds, deer, or cats. Many of her paintings are of outdoor scenes.
Maud was a prolific artist and painted on more or less every available surface in their tiny home. She lived most of her life in poverty. Examples of Maud's art can be found in the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, which has reconstructed her house and installed it in the gallery as part of a permanent Maud Lewis exhibit. Her work can also be found in the Canadian Museum of Civilization. She is the subject of a book, "The Illuminated Life of Maud Lewis", and a stage play has been written about her life. She is also the subject of two National Film Board of Canada documentaries, "Maud Lewis - A World Without Shadows" (1997), and "The Illuminated Life of Maud Lewis" (1998).