Born Victoria, British Columbia 1871, she moved to San Francisco in 1890 to study art after the death of her parents. In 1899 she moved to England to continue her studies, where she attended the Westminster School of Art in London and other studio schools in Cornwall, Bushey, Hertfordshire, San Francisco, and others. In 1910 she spent a year studying at the Académie Colarossi in Paris and other schools in France before moving back to British Columbia permanently in 1911.
Emily Carr’s influences include the landscape and First Nations cultures of British Columbia. She visited native schools and communities which inspired her to begin painting the totem poles and scenes of the coastal life in an attempt to record and learn from as many as possible. In 1913 she was obliged by financial considerations to return permanently to Victoria. Influenced by styles such as post-impressionism and Fauvism, her work was alien to those around her and remained unknown to and unrecognized by the greater art world for many years. For more than a decade she worked as a potter, dog breeder and boarding house landlady, having given up on her artistic career.
In the 1920s she had occasion to meet members of the Group of Seven when she was invited by the National Gallery of Canada to participate in a West Coast Art exhbit. Her contact with Lawren Harris was invaluable. She was invited to submit her works for inclusion in a Group of Seven exhibition. They named her ’The Mother of Modern Arts’ around five years later.
Carr claimed that the Nuu-chah-nulth of Vancouver Island’s west coast had nicknamed her Klee Wyck, "the laughing one." She gave this name to a book about her experiences with the natives, published in 1941. The book won the Governor General’s Award that year.
Her failing health caused her to remain close to home where she wrote seven books based on her life. Emily Carr House is located at: 207 Government Street in Victoria, within walking distance of the Inner Harbour and Beacon Hill Park.
Please call (250) 383-5843 or see our event calendar. Carr House is located at 207 Government St., Victoria, BC, Canada.