After reading Ellen Brait’s article, “Bringing Toronto’s Artistic Past Back to Life” The Toronto Star,
May 25, 2017, Jim B. a NOTL Clara collector, contacted Ellen:
We were very pleased to read your excellent article on Verna McLean discovering and exhibiting Clara Harris's artwork. We would appreciate your assistance in asking Verna to contact us.
Ellen gave me Jim’s message. I contacted Jim and this is what he had to say:
My mother was a dear friend of Clara Harris and had a long association with Clara and her artwork. My Mom bought more than one hundred of Clara's works including works of Clara's husband, Frederick, who primarily worked in watercolours. I still have a few of the very best in my collection,
I found a few pictures of my collection. The most astounding one is a very large painting dated 1932 of an old shade tree next to a barn.
Old Elm Tree 1932, 36 x 31”
I also have the 12 x 13" version of the same wonderful scene on our wall.
The Old Elm 1932, 12 x 13"
Haliburton River, 16 x 20"
Clara Harris signature, right hand corner
The Old Mill 1933, 18 x 24"
Flowers in Grey Vase - 16 x 13" wood gilt frame
Flowers in Green Vase, 13 x 16"
Highway 60, Algonquin Park
"This is Highway 60 before it was widened and repaved, I always liked the picture and was very sorry when it was sold from her collection. We lived for more than 10 years, 20 minutes from Algonquin park and travelled there many times".
Birch Tree By Water, Winter
Red Leaves, Snowy Path to Buildings
Autumnal Stroll on Country Road
Autumn in Bancroft
Red Building By Water
As Jim wanted to sell some of his paintings I connected him with collector Les M. Les purchased
The Old Elm Tree 1932 and Flowers in a Grey Vase
Les, Old Elm Tree 1932
And I forgot to mention that Clara did a plaster deco style nude statue (26" plus a wood stand 34") which we have dutifully crated and moved with us.
After seeing Jim’s photo of Clara’s sculpture I referred him to the site’s History Section, “On Retirement, Artist Leads Trend Oil Painting Gifts—Not Gold Watches”. The article features Clara with the sculpture to which Jim refers.
Amazing. Absolutely amazing to see Clara's sculpture in print. It is not shiny, as in the photo, but has a rather Matt finish. And the picture does not do justice to her work. It is a heart stopper. I absolutely love it. I loved it from the moment I first saw it. I look at it many times a day.
I just found several Christmas cards that Clara silk printed of her and her husband's artwork, in "today's condition". I have more, somewhere, of those she sent and received from A.J.Casson, Group of Seven painter.
Greetings From Fred & Clara Harris
I wish you every success with your Clara research. It is a wonderful undertaking.
Thanks Jim. Let’s keep in touch. See you at the RiverBrink Art Museum in Spring 2020 for Clara’s exhibit. https://riverbrink.org