(l) Lawren Harris, Study for Lyric Theme, 1954–55, Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Gift of Mrs. Margaret H. Knox, 85.17, Photo: Rachel Topham, Vancouver Art Gallery; (r) Lawren Harris, Lyric Theme, c. 1955, Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Gift of Dr. Edelson
Lawren Harris looked to drawing as an exploratory exercise that was central to his practice. The majority of the artist’s paintings developed out of his sketches in pencil, graphite and charcoal on paper. He often squared his drawings—incorporating a grid over his images to use as a point of reference, enabling him to enlarge them into painted canvases. Whether undertaken during his trips through Ontario, the Rocky Mountains or the Arctic, or as part of the development of abstract works conceptualized in his studio, drawing served as a key part of his artistic process.
The exhibition Lawren Harris: Canadian Visionary includes one of Harris’ sketchbooks and forty-six drawings from the Vancouver Art Gallery’s permanent collection, a number of which were gifted to the Gallery by Margaret H. Knox in 1985. These drawings provide important information about his artistic process.The sketches included on this site have yet to be paired with their corresponding paintings. We invite you to browse the images and suggest which of Harris’ paintings these drawings can be matched with. This project is an effort to expand on the scholarship of Harris’ work by inviting contributions from experts worldwide, while also encouraging the broader public to engage with the artist’s works.