Jan 29 - May 01, 2021 Douglas family art centre

Maud Lewis

Maud Lewis (1903 - 1970) WINTER SLEIGH RIDE early / mid 1950s Oil on beaverboard (pulpboard) framed: 50.8 × 45.7 cm (20 × 18 in.) Private Collection


Canada’s most beloved folk artist, Maud Lewis (1903–1970) has captured the hearts of many with her dazzling depictions of rural Nova Scotia. Her paintings describe a way of life in the Maritimes that was rapidly changing, as the horse and buggy gave way to the automobileand small-scale net fishing was overtaken by industrial fisheries. Her works are thus both documentary and deeply nostalgic.

Born Maud Dowley, Lewis was raised in the town of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, the daughter of a blacksmith. Until her final days, she would revisit in her paintings the happy scenes of her childhood, depicting as well the birds and animals remembered from that time. Hers was an art of unbridled joy, despite the many harrowing setbacks she faced: her rheumatoid arthritis, which worsened as she progressed toward adulthood; the early deaths of her parents; the loss of her baby daughter born out of wedlock (and placed secretly with another family by Lewis’s father); and the difficulties of her later marriage. Her desire to make art was the driving force in her life.

Lewis had an instinctive gift for colour and composition, and she put that gift to remarkable use in her variations on set themes—from cats and kittens, to covered bridges, to her scenes of boats in harbour. We have gathered several of these series together, the better to understand her vision and appreciate the exuberant creativity she brought to the art of painting. Lewis sold the paintings from her little house at the side of the road at Marshalltown, NS, where she lived with her husband, Everett, from 1938 until her death in 1970, leaving through her work a legacy of irrepressible delight.

Maud Lewis (1903 - 1970) UNTITLED (Black Cat with Tulips and Apple Blossoms)  c. 1962 Oil on board 34 × 37.5 cm (13 3/8 × 14 3/4 in.) Private Collection - Nova Scotia


This exhibition was organized by Sarah Milroy, Chief Curator of McMichael Canadian Art Collection, and Brittney Sproule, Manager of Exhibitions.










Presenting Sponsors



Bryce and Nicki Douglas

Susan Glass and Arni Thorsteinson 




Lead Sponsors





Tim's Paint





Exhibition Sponsor









Exhibition Contributor









All images on this page © Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

Did you know?

Eddy Cobiness, Norval Morrisseau, and Carl Ray are three members of the Professional Native Indian Artists Incorporated, also known as the Indian Group of Seven are from the region of Lake of the Woods.

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