Lucius Richard O'Brien

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Lucius O'Brien
Lucius Richard O'Brien.jpg
Lucius O'Brien, undated.
Born Lucius Richard O'Brien
15 August 1832
Shanty Bay, Ontario, Canada
Died December 13, 1899(1899-12-13) (aged 67)
Toronto, Ontario
Nationality Canadian
Known for Painting
Notable work(s) Sunrise on the Saguenay (1880)

Lucius Richard O'Brien (15 August 1832 – 13 December 1899) was an influential 19th-century Canadian oil and watercolour landscape artist.

Life and career[edit]

Kicking Horse Pass, 1887, from the Canadian Rocky Mountains

Lucius O'Brien was born in Shanty Bay, Ontario, a village his father founded on the shore of Lake Simcoe.[1]

He graduated from Upper Canada College in 1847 and is said to have directly started work in an architect's office where he did drafting. In 1852, he won two prizes at the Ontario Provincial Exhibition for painting. In 1856, he was listed as an artist in Toronto's City Directory.[1]

In 1872, Lucius began landscape painting, and quickly excelled in the genre. Two year later, after a dispute with artist John Arthur Fraser, O'Brien took Fraser's position as Vice-President of the Ontario Society of Artists, a position he held until 1880, when he became founding President of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.[1]

He is best known for landscape paintings from across Canada in oil and watercolour, such as, Sunrise on the Saguenay of 1880, which was the first academy diploma piece in the Royal Canadian Academy's first annual exhibition.[2]

In 1880, O'Brien began to work on Picturesque Canada (1882–84), which he edited. O'Brien toured across Canada, meeting with the country's artists and commissioned artists to produce woodblock prints for illustration of the text.[3] O'Brien's art, and in particular Picturesque Canada, aimed to celebrated Canada's natural landscape united under confederation.[4]

O'Brien was one of the first artists invited to travel to and paint the Rocky Mountains on the newly completed Canadian Pacific Railway in 1886.

He died in Toronto, Ontario at the age of 67.

Notes[edit]

Sunrise on the Saguenay, Cape Trinity (1880). Oil on canvas. 90 x 127 cm. National Gallery of Canada
  1. ^ a b c Reid, 85.
  2. ^ Reid, 86.
  3. ^ Harper, 194.
  4. ^ Harper, 193-195.

References[edit]

  • Harper, Russell. Painting in Canada: A History. 2nd Edition. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1981. ISBN 0-8020-6307-1
  • Reid, Dennis. A Concise History of Canadian Painting. 2nd Edition. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1988. ISBN 0-19-540663-X.

External links[edit]