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HARRIS Clara Isabella

King City, ON, 1887
Toronto, ON, 1974
Biography synopsis
Clara Isabella Harris (nee Perry) attended the Ontario College of Art where she studied with J.W. Beatty and Archibald Barnes for a number of years. During the First World War, Harris studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and exhibited in their Annual Exhibition of Water Colors, Pastels, by American Artists (May 7-June 16, 1907). She worked on location in Toronto, other parts of Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, the Maritimes, Maine and Massachussets, traveling with friend and fellow artist Emily Louise Orr Elliott, and working in oil and watercolours, and sketching landscape, farm and Maritime scenes, as well as portraits. Her work was exhibited at various art shows including the Annual Spring Show of the Ontario Society of Artists, alongside Arthur Lismer, A.J. Casson, A.Y. Jackson, Clarence Gagnon, Lawren Harris, and Emily Carr among others. At age thirty-one she married Frederick William Harris, a graphic artist. They lived in Toronto where Harris had her studio, sold her art, and conducted art classes. In 1987, her work was included in an exhibition of well-known Canadian women artists at the Kaspar Gallery in Toronto. As many of her paintings are documented with the date, time of day and location, Clara Harris has left an historical and geographical legacy of the Canadian landscape. In 2023, three of her works were selected for exhibition at the Women's Art Association of Montreal.
Media used
Wood carving
Art Institute of Chicago
Ontario College of Art & Design (formerly Ontario School of Art) (under J.W. Beatty, G.A. Reid, C.M. Manly, William Cruikshank, Archibald Barnes)
File & Archive locations
National Gallery of Canada, ON - Library and Archives
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts / Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, QC
University of Toronto, ON - Justina M. Barnicke Gallery

Writings about
"Artist Leads Trend Oil Painting Gifts - Not Gold Watches," Toronto Telegram 3 Jan. 1962
"On Retirement: Artist Leads Trend Oil Painting Gifts – Not Gold Watches." The Toronto Telegram. 3 Jan. 1962
"Women Artists in Canada." The Globe and Mail. 3 Oct 1987: C 16
Art Gallery of Toronto. Ontario Society of Artists 71st Annual Spring Exhibition Toronto: Art Gallery of Toronto, 5-29 March, 1943, p.11
Art Institute of Chicago. Nineteenth Annual Exhibition of Water Colors by American Artists, May 7-16 Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1907; p.52
Brait, Ellen. "Forgotten Painter Depicts Toronto's Rural Past." Toronto Star. 25 May 2017
Canadian National Exhibition Art Gallery. The Artists' Annual Non-Jury Exhibition Toronto: 1-15 May, 1935, p.6
Ontario Society of Artists. Catalogue of the Sixty-First Annual Exhibition of the Ontario Society of Artists, 1933. Ontario Society of Artists, 1933
Westbridge, Anthony R. Canadian Art Sales Index 1987-88 Vancouver: Westbridge Publications Ltd, 1988
Westbridge, Anthony R. The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction Vancouver: Westbridge Publications Ltd, vol. 2, 2000

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