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“I Have Long Admired Clara Harris’ Work”

These are the words of “ND” who bought this painting in a Toronto antique shop (Eglinton/Oakwood) in the mid-1980’s for $250.00:

I bought this piece because I enjoyed its calming effect, on me anyways. At the time it did suit my decor and colours as well. While I still admire it, our decor has changed and frankly haven’t found a spot for it. I could reframe it to better fit in, but I’m hesitant to change anything about the piece.

Grand Manan Island

Oil on board, 22 x 18” (measurements without the frame)

It’s amazing how a little information can be so useful. This painting like so many others included on this site was probably purchased at Mary Barker’s antique shop on Eglinton Ave. As readers know Mary was a friend of Clara’s and purchased a large part of her art collection before moving to assisted living in the 1970’s.

We also have the record of another sold price for Clara’s work: $250.00 in the 1980’s.

“ND” also recognized that the frame was probably original so even though her circumstances have changed she has wisely decided to keep the painting and the frame.

We’ve also learned that Clara travelled and painted on Grand Manan Island, the largest of the Fundy Islands in the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick. This was a popular destination for many artists including Winslow Homer, Arthur Lismer, John James Audubon and Hudson River School Artists.

This is the first painting identifying Grand Manan Island for readers and collectors to study. The location makes sense as Clara spent time in the Maritimes as well as Maine. But for the archive it’s ideal to have it in writing. My only regret is that this painting was not part of the “Not Your Typical Sunday Driver” exhibit at Montgomery’s Inn last year.

But all is not lost. I’ve advised “ND” to contact the Curator at the Grand Manan Museum and send photos of Clara’s painting. This scene could probably be matched with archival scenes in their collection. Good for “ND” and good for the Museum.

I have long admired Clara Harris’ work and am glad to see someone has taken up the mantle in cataloguing this artist’s work and highlighting its importance and relevance. Thanks for your interest and personal attention given to the work you do.


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