Home / Portfolio / James Wilson Morrice
James Wilson Morris

James Wilson Morrice

James Wilson Morrice was a Canadian landscape painter, born in Montreal in 1865. He was one of the earliest Canadian artists to develop an accepted reputation abroad.

In the late 1980s, Morrice left Canada for Paris and studied at the Académie Julian from 1892-1897. He continued to live in Paris for most of his career, returning to Canada during the winter seasons, which allowed him to remain part of both the French and Canadian art worlds. In Paris, he kept contact with many English intellectuals including art critic Clive Bell, novelist Arnold Bennett, and writer W. Somerset Maugham. During the winter of 1911, Morrice shared a studio with Henri Matisse in Tangiers, Morocco. Throughout his career, he traveled extensively throughout Europe, North American, North Africa, and the West Indies.

Before the turn of the century, Morrice’s works were inspired by American artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler in terms of his treatment of colour and his method of applying thin layers of paint to canvas. Just before World War I, Morrice departed from this style and painted Canadian scenes influenced by the Impressionists, where he used thicker paints and a more varied colour palette. His later works were also greatly influenced by Vincent Van Gogh.

Morrice exhibited with the Ontario Society of Artists, the Art Association of Montreal, and the Royal Canadian Academy, as well as with various societies in France. Today, his work can be found at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the Musée des beaux-arts de Lyon in France, Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris, The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the Tate in London, the Odessa Museum of Western and Eastern Art in Ukraine, the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, among many other institutions across the globe.