John Goodwin Lyman

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John Goodwin Lyman

1886 - 1967

John Lyman was born in Maine, USA in 1886 but grew up in Montreal, enrolling at McGill University in 1905 with an interest in writing. In 1907, a trip to Paris sparked his interest in art, and from 1907 to 1909 he attended various European art schools, including the Académie Matisse. Henri Matisse’s work was quite an influence on Lyman, as were the paintings of Canadian Impressionist James Wilson Morrice that were on display in Paris. Lyman’s first solo exhibition at the Art Association of Montreal in 1913 was not reviewed favorably, and he returned to France, then traveled extensively before returning to Montreal in 1931, following a well-received 1927 exhibition at Johnston Art Galleries in Montreal.

Lyman was an advocate for Canadian art and artists, and back in Montreal, co-founded the art school Atelier, and in 1939, established the Contemporary Arts Society. He also wrote art reviews for The Montrealer from 1936 to 1940, all the while continuing with his painting and drawing. In 1944 Dominion Gallery hosted a retrospective of his work, as well as a solo exhibition in 1955.

From 1949 to 1957 he taught at McGill University, becoming Chairman of the Fine Arts Department from 1952 to 1956. A retrospective was organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 1963, which traveled to the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa and the Art Gallery of Hamilton. His final major exhibition during his lifetime was in 1966, at the Musée du Québec, which traveled to the Musée d'art contemporain in Montreal. Lyman died in 1967.