Random Art and Ideas

Back of Painting – Lawren Harris

September 16, 2014

Lawren Harris, Arctic Sketch XIII, collection: Agnes Etherington Art Gallery, Kingston, Ontario. Photograph taken while undergoing conservation measures.

While photographing a portrait by Rembrandt van Rijn, from the collection at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, I had the chance to see the back of that painting,  and I was fascinated to discover how the back is a very active part of the work, full of clues as to its history. There were a few stickers and marks that pointed to its provenance and trips to conservators and framers. Awesome!  On another visit to the Art Centre to photograph other works from the collection, I asked if I could photograph that same work, but at the time it was in deep storage, and it was complicated to get the work out. I was generously offered another painting whose back I could photograph –  this fine, small sketch by Lawren Harris. When I was in high school, Lawren Harris was my favourite painter.