The Idea of North
The Paintings of Lawren Harris

March 12–June 12, 2016
Saundra B. and William H. Lane Galleries (Gallery 332)

Lawren Harris (1885–1970) was a pioneering modernist whose visionary paintings have virtually defined 20th-century Canadian art. His scenes of an evocative northland, isolated peaks, and vast expanses of shimmering water are considered essential images of the country. This exhibition—guest curated by collector, actor, writer, and musician Steve Martin and organized by the Hammer Museum (Los Angeles) and the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto)—will include approximately 30 major paintings of Harris’s idealized northern landscapes from the 1920s and 1930s, one of the most significant periods of the artist’s career. The exhibition draws from the AGO’s substantial holdings, as well as from major public and private collections across Canada—including the National Gallery of Canada and the McMichael Collection—and is the first major solo exhibition of Harris’s work to be shown in the United States.

Above: Lawren Harris, Mountains in Snow: Rocky Mountain Paintings VII, about 1929. Oil on canvas. The Thomson Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario. © Art Gallery of Ontario. © Family of Lawren S. Harris.

In the News

The Boston Globe 03/18/2016: "Lawren Harris's vision of the north at the MFA"
WCVB Chronicle 03/18/2016: "Museum of Fine Arts Welcomes Steve Martin"
The Daily Beast 03/12/2016: "Steve Martin, Wild and Crazy Art Curator"
WBUR the ARTery 03/11/2016: "From Comedian To Curator, Steve Martin Champions Canadian Painter Lawren Harris At The MFA"
The Boston Globe 03/08/2016: "Steve Martin's latest role: MFA guest curator"


Presented at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, with generous support from Lisbeth Tarlow and Stephen Kay, and David and Victoria Croll.

“The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris” is co-organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and curated by Steve Martin.