James Wilson Morrice

James Wilson Morrice - Heffel Gallery

James Wilson Morrice

1865 - 1924
CAC RCA

Born into an affluent Montreal family in 1865, James Wilson Morrice studied law, and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1889. However, while studying, his interest in painting had been growing, and he ultimately decided to fully devote himself to his art. His change of career proved to be an excellent choice, and Morrice ultimately became one of Canada’s finest Impressionist painters.

After exhibiting with both the Royal Canadian Academy and the Art Association of Montreal in the late 1880s, Morrice left Montreal for Europe in 1890 and would make Paris his permanent home. While living in Paris, Morrice enrolled at the Académie Julian and would later study with Henri Harpignies. Morrice also traveled extensively, throughout France and later Venice, North Africa, the West Indies, the Caribbean and Tunisia in search of new inspiration. As well, Morrice would routinely return to Montreal until his father died in 1914. It was during one of these visits that Morrice would meet Canadian painter Maurice Cullen in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, and together they made excursions into the Quebec landscape to paint.

In 1896 Morrice began to use small wooden panels for his oil sketches, referred to as pochades, and would develop select sketches into larger canvases. By the early 1900s Morrice had achieved great success internationally, regularly exhibiting in the Paris salons and receiving positive critical response. He began in 1896 with the Salon National shows, then from 1905 to 1913, exhibited with the Salon d’Automne and from 1908 to 1913 with the Société Nouvelle. He also exhibited in London, Brussels, Scotland and the United States. Morrice’s use of color varied, as did his subject matter, ranging from moody, atmospheric scenes of Paris and Quebec to the intense and exotic colors of Caribbean or North African locales. However, his palette and rendering was more restrained in comparison to fellow artists working in Paris at the time, such as Henri Matisse, who Morrice would later meet in Morocco. Although in close contact with contemporary art movements, Morrice maintained his own unique style through balanced compositions and delicate rendering of atmosphere, savouring the scenes with sensitivity and delicacy.

Morrice possessed great wit and geniality, which made him a favorite personality in the Parisian art scene. Constantly frequenting popular cafes and restaraunts, Morrice would be in the company of painters and writers such as James McNeill Whistler, Arnold Bennett and Somerset Maugham, who potrayed Morrice as a minor character in his books.

Morrice remained in France for the majority of World War I, and in 1918 he was commissioned to paint the Canadian troops in Picardy. From 1919 and onwards, Morrice frequently headed for warmer climates when his health began to deteriorate, ultimately passing away in Tunisia in 1924. His fame in Canada grew posthumously, as it was not until after his death that major exhibitions in Canada were held. Through his work, other young Canadian artists were able to learn about the progressive European art scene. Morrice’s remarkable artistic legacy only increases with time and he is universally regarded as a pivotal figure in Canadian art.

Heffel 's Top Results
Record James Wilson Morrice sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   James Wilson Morrice
The Woodpile, Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré
18 x 26in 45.7 x 66cm
oil on canvas

Estimate:  $1,000,000 - $1,500,000 CDN
Sold for:   $1,180,000 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Fall 2016 - 4th Session auction on Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Record James Wilson Morrice sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   James Wilson Morrice
Régates à Saint-Malo
20 x 24 1/4in 50.8 x 61.6cm
circa 1904 - 1905
oil on canvas

Estimate:  $200,000 - $300,000 CDN
Sold for:   $526,500 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Fall 2011 - 2nd Session auction on Thursday, November 24, 2011
Record James Wilson Morrice sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   James Wilson Morrice
Landscape, Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré
18 3/8 x 25 3/4in 46.7 x 65.4cm
circa 1897
oil on canvas

Estimate:  $400,000 - $600,000 CDN
Sold for:   $511,250 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Spring 2017 - 2nd Session auction on Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Record James Wilson Morrice sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   James Wilson Morrice
Paris Quai
20 x 24 1/8in 50.8 x 61.3cm
oil on canvas

Estimate:  $300,000 - $400,000 CDN
Sold for:   $488,750 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Fine Canadian Art Spring 2007 auction on Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Record James Wilson Morrice sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   James Wilson Morrice
Study for Regatta, Saint-Malo
9 1/2 x 13 1/4in 24.1 x 33.7cm
circa 1902
oil on panel

Estimate:  $200,000 - $250,000 CDN
Sold for:   $236,000 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Fall 2014 - 2nd Session auction on Thursday, November 27, 2014
Record James Wilson Morrice sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   James Wilson Morrice
Figures on a Beach
4 7/8 x 6in 12.4 x 15.2cm
circa 1905 - 1906
oil on panel

Estimate:  $30,000 - $40,000 CDN
Sold for:   $236,000 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Fall 2016 - 3rd Session auction on Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Record James Wilson Morrice sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   James Wilson Morrice
Café, Tunis
5 x 6in 12.7 x 15.2cm
oil on panel

Estimate:  $50,000 - $60,000 CDN
Sold for:   $188,800 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Spring 2016 - 2nd Session auction on Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Record James Wilson Morrice sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   James Wilson Morrice
Garden in France
13 1/8 x 16 1/4in 33.3 x 41.3cm
circa 1896
oil on canvas

Estimate:  $70,000 - $90,000 CDN
Sold for:   $129,800 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Spring 2016 - 2nd Session auction on Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Record James Wilson Morrice sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   James Wilson Morrice
The Pasture
15 x 18in 38.1 x 45.7cm
circa 1894 - 1896
oil on canvas

Estimate:  $150,000 - $200,000 CDN
Sold for:   $106,200 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Spring 2015 - 2nd Session auction on Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Record James Wilson Morrice sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   James Wilson Morrice
A Bathing Cove, Trinidad
7 3/4 x 12 1/2in 19.7 x 31.7cm
circa 1921
watercolour on paper board

Estimate:  $50,000 - $60,000 CDN
Sold for:   $100,300 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Spring 2016 - 2nd Session auction on Wednesday, May 25, 2016
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