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Doris Shadbolt

Emily Carr (December 13, 1871- March 2, 1945) was a Canadian artist and writer.



She was born in Victoria, British Columbia, and moved to San Francisco in 1890 to study art after the death of her parents. In 1899 she travelled to England to deepen her studies where she spent time at the Westminster School of Art in London and at various studio schools in Cornwall and elsewhere. In 1910, she spent a year studying art at the Academie Colarossi in Paris and elsewhere in France before moving back to British Columbia permanently the following year.

Carr was most heavily influenced by the landscape and First Nations cultures of British Columbia, and Alaska. Having first spent time in a neighbouring native community in 1898, in 1908 she was inspired by a visit to Skagway to began to paint the totem poles of the coastal Haida, Tsimshian, Tlingit and other communities, in an attempt to record and learn from as many as possible. She was obliged by financial considerations to return permanently to Victoria with a few years in Vancouver, both of which towns were, at that time, conservative artistically. Influenced by styles such as postimpressionism and the Fauve School, 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 came into contact with members of the Group of Seven (artists) after being invited by the National Gallery of Canada, to participate in an exhibition of West Coast Art. She travelled to Ontario for this show in 1927 where she met members of the Group, including Lawren Harris whose support was invaluable. She was invited to submit her works for inclusion in a Group of Seven exhibition, the beginning of her long and valuable association with the Group.

The Tlingit First Nation of British Columbia nicknamed Carr Klee Wyck, "Hundreds and Thousands". They reveal her to be an accomplished writer. Though mostly autobiographical, they have been found to be unreliable as to facts and figures if not in terms of mood and intent.

Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, Emily Carr Elementary School in Vancouver, British Columbia, Emily Carr Middle School in Ottawa, Ontario and Emily Carr Public School in London, Ontario are named after her.

Emily Carr is interred in the Ross Bay Cemetery in Victoria