Lucius Richard O'Brien
15 August 1832
|Died||December 13, 1899 (aged 67)|
|Notable work||Sunrise on the Saguenay (1880)|
Life and career
His father was Edward George O'Brien R.N who retired from the Navy in 1830 and went out to Canada and settled in Shanty Bay. He became a J.P and Colonel of Militia. He married Sophie Gapper and died in 1875. He was a descendant of Sir Edward O'Brien, 2nd Baronet. [note 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.
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.
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.
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. O'Brien's art, and in particular Picturesque Canada, aimed to celebrated Canada's natural landscape united under confederation.
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.
• Lucius Richard O'Brien (15 August 1832 – 13 December 1899)
• Edward George O'Brien (1799-1875)
• Lucius O'Brien (1765-1840)
• Donough O'Brien
• Sir Edward O'Brien, 2nd Baronet (7 April 1705 – 26 November 1765)
- Reid, 85.
- History of the O'Briens from Brian Boroimhe, AD. 1000 to AD. 1945, by Donough O'Brien, 1949, Batsford, page 217-218, https://archive.org/details/historyofobriens00obri/page/n255/mode/2up
- Reid, 86.
- Harper, 194.
- Harper, 193-195.
- 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.
- Examples of O'Brien's landscapes from the National Gallery of Canada's image database Cybermuse.
- Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online