Robert Harris: Figure Work
Charlottetown artist Robert Harris' historic painting The Fathers of Confederation earned him fame throughout Canada and a huge number of portrait commissions during his lifetime (1847-1919). This prolific artist also painted genre scenes and produced hundreds of sketches, prints, and watercolours of daily life in the provinces. But it is in his figure work that we can trace the artistic apprenticeship which Harris set himself -- one which followed the time-honoured program of the European Academies, with particular attention to that cornerstone of the European tradition in art: the nude figure painting. Harris attended Life Classes in Boston, London and Paris and continued to study the nude figure throughout his career. He was a founding member and eventual President of the Royal Canadian Academy, in which the traditions of European art training were combined with increasing recognition of the need to support Canadian artists at home. Selected by Susan Gibson Garvey from the extensive Harris holdings in the Permanent Collection of the Confederation Centre Art Gallery & Museum, Charlottetown.