On August 4, 2013 Emanuel Yarimi, an art collector in Toronto contacted me:
Today, I visited your "Clara Harris" website and enjoyed reading and watching the pictures. Your work in documenting her life and art work is valuable.
Sometime in the past, in the late 70's or early 80's, I discovered your mother's shop on Eglinton West street, in Toronto, and purchased some things from her. I was fascinated, especially, by the fall colors of Clara Harris' paintings and purchased 14 of them - of fall scenes, summer, Toronto Island and still life.
Your Mom and I had many conversations, about "this and that", and among other things, she told me that Clara's husband was the valued artist at the time, but she was not as much appreciated.
I assume, that you would like to add the pictures of the 14 Harris' paintings to your website, and as soon as I would get someone with a digital camera, I would ask to take their pictures email them to you.
Thanks for the good work,
The antique shop owner was not my mother, but her friend, Mary Barker. Like my mother, Mary recognized the future value of Clara’s work as an historical record and purchased a major part of it.
I was looking forward to seeing Emanuel’s collection as he had paintings that had not yet been seen. He provided these photos, descriptions and information for the archive. His neighbour Dona Bennink took the photos.
Emanuel has all fourteen paintings displayed in one room, preferring to have the collection intact. And as he sees them everyday, Emanuel has developed an astute appreciation for Clara’s work.
This painting of Richview Side Road, titled and in its original frame, is a “first” for the website. Emanuel did not know the location of Richview Side Road but as a child I had lived in that area and was able to describe it to him. It was a beautiful country road with fields and barns. My father would take my sister to a stable where there was horseback riding. As the passenger I always looked forward to the ride. It was a special country place very close to our home in the small town of Weston.
Today Richview Side Road is a suburban scape and those who live in the Toronto area know how long it takes to get to anything resembling “countryside”. Using this link you can see archival photos of the area: www.etobicokehistorical.com
Emanuel has a keen interest in Clara’s archive and plans to contact two other collectors who have an additional five paintings. He also described another painting of Clara’s:
I bought the C.Harris paintings before I saw her painting in a Kleinburg shop. By then I was familiar with her style, as I have seen all her work that was stored at Mary Bakers' shop, basement and apartment.
The painting (about 12.5" width by 16" height) was of a Jar or a Vase with flowers. I remember much yellow shades in it. If I am not mistaken, the Vase was of a light blue color. I recognized it immediately as a C.Harris work, and checked the signature to confirm it. It was a Clara Harris "still life". This incident took place, probably, sometime in the 90's.
This makes sense as many artists went to Kleinburg to sketch and paint. Clara’s husband Fred described Clara and her friend artist, Emily Louise Elliott in his diary:
Aug. 18, 1940 – Clara took Mrs. Elliott out to Kleinburg
Richview Side Road, Toronto Original C. Harris
Oil on canvas, 12 x 16”
The Humber River
Oil on cardboard, 16 x 19.5”. Original frame.
An artist who was visiting Emanuel saw Clara’s Humber River and remarked, “That’s a good painting”
This painting of Toronto Island also deserves some recognition. I assume that there are other paintings of the “Island” but this is only the second one I’ve seen. The other one Clara titled and dated: Woman on Docked Sailboat, Centre Island Lagoon, Toronto, Ontario, 1922 can be seen in the permanent collection on this site.
This painting with its ethereal feel captures a tranquility that exists only in small pockets on the “Island” today.
"When I bought this painting, Mary Barker gave the information of the location as - Toronto Island. I did not change the frame. It seems original, and looks like other frames that I saw on the website."
Emanuel prefers not to give titles to his undocumented paintings but for identification purposes I have named the following eleven images. In Emanuel’s words...
"This picture doesn’t do it justice. It is a magnificent piece. It reminds me of the French School in the 1800’s which was the most artistic of all. The frame from the shop was not complementing the painting. I still have it, but I put on a new frame that brings out even more of the beauty of the work.”
Glorious Autumn Day
Oil on cardboard, 16 x 20”. Replaced frame.
Birch Trees in Autumn
Oil on canvas, 14 x 17”, Original frame
Oil on wood panel, 10.5 x 13.75”, Original frame.
From Emanuel: “This oil painting on a wood panel, gives me the impression that it is actually a sketch for a larger size painting. I saw a sketch and its larger work in Mary Barker’s apartment, and I have the same feeling about this one. Something about the way it is painted, gives me this impression. Someone else may have the larger version. It will be nice to find out! The colours are much deeper and stronger; very artistic.”“I prefer to leave the paintings untitled; this way there is no argument about the location, season, etc.”
Oil on canvas, 14 x 17”, Original frame.
Red and Golden Leaves
Oil on wood panel, 10.5 x 13.75”, Original frame.
“This painting gives the impression of being a sketch for a larger size painting.”
White Flowers in Red Bowl
Oil on canvas, 18 x 20”, Original frame.
Lilies, Tulips and Daffodils in Blue Bowl
Oil on cardboard, 16 x 20”
Animals Grazing in Field
Oil on canvas, 17 x 14”
“The frame is not the original frame but was taken from another painting of Clara Harris. This painting was first in Mary Barker’s apartment and later went for sale in her shop.”
Green and Gold Country Scene
Oil on cardboard, 7.75 x 9.75”
“The frame was done by Mary Barker. The painting was hanging in her apartment, and later went for sale in the shop.”
Oil on canvas, 14 x 17”
“In this painting some of the paint dried out and in some spots fell off the canvas”.
Oil on wood, 10.5 x 13.75”
“This looks like a quick sketch. Not much attention was given to it. Mary Barker made it a package deal – to go together with the painting Richview Side Road…since I wanted the Richview Side Road painting, I had no choice, but to buy this one too…”.
Richview Side Road, TorontoOil on cardboard, 20 x 24 “, Original frame