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LEFORT, Elizabeth

Point Cross, Nova Scotia, 1914
Cheticamp, Nova Scotia, 2005
Biography synopsis
Elizabeth LeFort learned rug hooking from her mother at a young age. She continued to develop her own skills in the medium, experimenting with composition and colour. LeFort’s process later included hand dyeing all her own colours for designs that she sketched. Initially she worked in landscapes, drawing from existing photographs and illustrations. In 1945 Kenneth Hansford, owner of a tourist and craft shop, took interest in LeFort’s work and quickly offered to buy it. She began to work for him, demonstrating rug hooking in his craft shop. Hansford continued to handle LeFort’s sales and commissions throughout her life out of his shop in Margaree Harbour, Nova Scotia. Particularly skilled at replicating photographs, LeFort began to create highly detailed portraits. Some of her most know works include portraits of Pope Pius XII (1959), President Eisenhower (1957), Queen Elizabeth (1959), President John F. Kennedy (1961), and Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau (1969). LeFort’s work is held in the Vatican Fine Arts Gallery, the White House, and Buckingham Palace. Other notable works include “The Last Supper” (after that of Leonardo da Vinci) which spans 8’ by 4 ½’ and required the dyeing of some 154 colours. Her work has been shown in Toronto, Montreal, St. John, Moncton, Sydney, San Diego, and Phoenix, among other places. The Dr. Elizabeth Lefort Rug Hooking Museum, located in Cheticamp, Nova Scotia, holds the largest collection of her work including "The Last Supper." She was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 1987 and received an honorary "Docteur des lettres" from the Université de Moncton in 1975.
Media used
Order of Canada, April 29, 1987
File & Archive locations
Winnipeg Art Gallery, MA - Clara Lander Library
National Gallery of Canada, ON - Library and Archives
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts / Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, QC
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC
Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada, ON

Writings about
Talents originaux Montreal: Office national du film du Canada, 1962
Unusual Artists Montreal: National Film Board of Canada, 1962
"Elizabeth LeFort." Les Trois Pignons. http://www.lestroispignons.com/troispignons/en/elizabeth_lefort.html 2006
Bourque, Jennifer. "Acadian History Through Art. Government House." Arts Atlantic 20.2 (2003): 45
Doucet, Daniel. Elizabeth LeFort. Margaree Harbour: The Gallery, 1976?
Doucet, Daniel. Elizabeth LeFort: Canada's Artist in Wool Sydney, Nova Scotia: Cape Breton University Press, 2010
Flora's. "History of Cheticamp Rug Hooking." http://www.floras.com/history.html ?
Hooked Rug Museum of North America. "Sold at Auction!" News Archive 2009. http://www.hookedrugmuseumnovascotia.org/s_9.asp?g_id={F08A814D-7AD8-49FF-9BD1-468616B279E9} 2009
Hooked Rug Museum of North America. "Spotlight On - Marie Stella Bourgeois 2008. She Helped Transform Rug Hooking into a Fine Art." News Archive 2008. http://www.hookedrugmuseumnovascotia.org/s_1.asp?g_id={6D9C48DE-449B-4925-BAB0-4EB811B3B6BB} 2008
MacDonald, Colin S. The Dictionary of Canadian Artists. (Volumes 1-8 by Colin S. MacDonald, and volume 9 by Anne Newlands and Judith Parker) Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 2009.

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