Laura Muntz Lyall

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Laura Muntz Lyall (June 18, 1860 – December 9, 1930) was a Canadian impressionist painter, known for her portrayal of mothers and children.[1]

Life and Work[edit]

Born Laura Adeline Muntz in Radford, Warwickshire, England in 1860,[2] her family emigrated to Canada when she was a child. She grew up on a farm in the Muskoka District of Ontario.[2]

Two young children sit together reading a book
Interesting Story by Laura Muntz, 1898.

As a young woman, Muntz worked as a schoolteacher, but her interest in art led to her take lessons in painting technique from William Charles Forster of Hamilton.[2][3] Starting in 1882, she began to take classes at the Ontario School of Art where she studied with Lucius Richard O'Brien, and later under George Agnew Reid.[3] She studied briefly at the South Kensington School of Art in 1887, then returned to Canada to continue her studies with Reid.[2] In 1891, she embarked on a seven-year period of scholarship in Paris, France, with excursions to study the works of Michelangelo and other great artists where she was influenced by the impressionist style. While in Paris, she studied at the renowned Académie Colarossi,where her work was exhibited, resulting in some works being reproduced in French periodicals. On her return to Canada in 1898, she set up a studio in Toronto and began to take students.[2] She became an Associate of the Royal College of Art (ARCA). She would later move to Montreal to continue her art career at 6 Beaver Hall Square.[3]

Her work received recognition both in Canada and beyond. Some of her works were exhibited at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, and then in 1894 as part of the Société des artistes français in Paris. Lyall continued to exhibit at many international exhibitions following her return from Paris, and her work was recognized with a silver medal at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition.[2] She was subsequently awarded a bronze medal at the 1904 St Louis World Fair Exposition.[2][3] She showed 27 paintings with the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts between 1893 and 1929.[2] Her work was frequently compared and contrasted with that of contemporary Florence Carlyle.[2] Both the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario include her works in their holdings.[1]

She was elected as a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts[4] in 1895, only the eighth woman to receive this honour.[2] Muntz was a member of the Ontario Society of Artists starting in 1891; she was the first woman appointed to its Executive Council in 1899, serving until 1903.[2]

Following the death of her sister in 1915, she returned to Toronto and married her brother-in-law Charles W.B. Lyall and cared for the 11 children of her sister's marriage. She then set a studio up in the attic of their home, and started signing her works with her married name.[3] She continued to paint until her death in 1930.[3]

Lyall is interred in the Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto.[5]


  1. ^ a b "LYALL, Laura Muntz". Canadian Women Artists History Initiative. Concordia University. Retrieved 27 September 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Gualtieri, Julia (1989). The Woman as Artist and as Subject in Canadian Painting. Kingston, Ontario: Queen's University. pp. 145–146, 155–161. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Prakash, A.K. (2008). Independent Spirit: Early Canadian Women Artists. Buffalo, New York: Firefly Books. pp. 265–268. ISBN 1554074177. 
  4. ^ "Members since 1880". Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Find A Grave, Laura Muntz Lyall

External links[edit]