Clara inquiries refresh the collection pool and a recent email from Judy M. illustrates this figuratively and literally:
"I purchased the paintings at an antique shop in Unionville in the mid 90's. The lady who owned the shop had quite a few Clara paintings for sale as she had purchased them from the estate I believe. I was an antique dealer myself at that time and I dealt quite a bit in paintings and it was my introduction to Clara Harris' work. I bought 4 or 5, I think and sold a couple, but the ones I still own I never wanted to part with. I especially love this pair of landscapes for the colours and style; they have a timeless quality which of course belies the reality of our ever encroaching highways, buildings and high density housing."
Judy purchased the paintings in Unionville which is near Richmond Hill. This ties more details together as Clara's family lived and died in that vicinity and some other works including her sketchbook have been found near there.
Pines on Canton Road, 1933, Oil on board, 14 x 10 1/2"
Underneath the title it looks like 20.00 or 40.00 unframed.
Judy’s painting adds another piece to the ever changing research puzzle. Canton is on County Road 10 that crosses the Ganaraska River. It's about five miles from Port Hope. I think that's the location of this image as Clara went to the Port Hope Summer Art School. If you refer to Ontario Pioneer Bridge, Devil's Elbow, Near Port Hope, Ontario 1933, (Summer Section) the date coincides with the date for the Canton Road painting.
This information is also helpful in determining the correct location of a sketch and accompanying painting in the June 9 -15, 2013 Research Tour, June 9/13 St. Catharines. The composition and movement of the trees resemble those of Canton Road.
Another similarity: if you go to the Emanuel Yarimi collection to Ethereal Evergreens the evergreens are the focal point and the soft brush along the road compliments the scene. Clara typically included other elements like buildings or people.
Yellow Buildings by River, 1932, Oil on board, 14 x 10 1/2"
This scene resembles Clara's numerous Humber River scenes (See Little Falls at Lambton In November, Humber River, Toronto) but as the work is not titled this can’t be verified.
I have referred to the importance of keeping original frames whether on the paintings or keeping them when reframing the works. The frames on Judy’s two landscape paintings are seen on other Clara pieces: whether Clara chose them I'm not sure but there are definitely others just like them in the Spring Section of the site. (See Church St. The Kingsway, Toronto, Ontario, Morning, May 16, 1934)
Fresh Florals in Glass Vase, 18 x 14", Oil on canvas.
"I like the still life for the muted background which contrasts with the delicate pastels of the flowers. I also noticed that in her floral paintings the glory of the blooms are always accompanied by one or two blooms that are already drooping or fading. Their brief moment in the sun is already over."
I think this still life is one of Clara’s best. The flowers look so fresh and the vase so real. Some of Clara's still life paintings have a similarity about them that makes it easy to confuse one for another. But not Judy’s.
Regarding the frame it is typical of so many of Clara’s other framed pieces (Fall Riot as well as Red and Golden Leaves in Emanuel Yarmini Collection.
There’s one other bit of information that Judy shared:
"I did have an oil painting that was a waterscape with what looked to be white grain elevators. I thought it might be Redpath sugar building on the Toronto waterfront. I have always been sorry that I sold it as it was quite unique."
It is too bad that Judy sold that painting. Clara painted on Centre Island and the Redpath Sugar buildings located at Queen’s Quay are in close proximity. To date I have not seen any downtown urban scenes of Clara’s.
There’s a chance we’ll meet Judy at the Toronto Doors Open exhibits at Lambton House and Montgomery’s Inn.
"I hope I can come to the exhibits in May 2017".