Emily Carr
Canadian painter and writer



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Emily Carr
Canadian painter and writer
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Birth Date

December 13, 1871

Death Date

March 02, 1945

Arty Fact

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If we’re going to talk about Canadian artists, it’s best not to forget Emily Carr.

While she lived, the world made the mistake of pushing her into obscurity, almost forcing her to give up on art. But our girl persisted. This world was just going to have to take notice. They finall did when she was 50. Not the best career graph for an artist, but better late than never, right?

Emily was the only Carr in the family who was born Canadian. Her parents were English. They unfortunately both perished by the time she was 16. All the Carr kids were now the responsibility of Edith (Emily’s eldest sister). It was around this time that Emily packed her bags and headed south to San Francisco. She was going to be an artist.

After 6 years in California, Emily realized that the real action was in Europe. In 1899, she set sail for London. Probably wasn’t the best idea. She wound up at the East Anglican Sanatorium in 1903, with a severe case of "hysteria." It didn’t stop her from painting, but it did hold up her artistic career. It wasn’t until she moved to France in 1910 that she finally found her voice. It was Frances Hodgkins of the Fauves who taught Emily how to paint her colorful truth.

But Emily knew what she wanted to paint before she met the Fauves. Back in 1907, Emily and her sister went on a little trip to Alaska. Clearly, our favorite Carr (and I’m not talking about Jimmy) was quite impressed with what she saw. She filled her sketchbook with scenes from the trip. Quite the travel blogger Ms. Carr turned out to be. She would do a lot more of that when she returned to Canada from France.

Unfortunately, for over a decade, Emily was unable to sell her paintings. She started a boarding house called “The House of All Sorts," and even dabbled in dog breeding and pottery. In a lot of her photographs, you’ll also see her dashing little pup, Billie. This wasn’t the life she wanted, but hey, she had Billie. I’d try to make my life work for him.

Emily got her big break in the 1920s when she met with the Group of Seven (also known as the Algonquin School), a club of fellow Canadian landscape painters. They pulled her out of her boarding house and got her to start painting again, but disbanded a few years later. Emily then teamed up with the Canadian Group of Painters. In 1937 she suffered a severe heart attack and had to trade in her paintbrush for a pen. She wrote a lot- about her life, her dogs, her boarding house, her art, the people she met. She wrote until she died in 1945.




  1. “EMILY CARR.” Art Country Canada Group of Seven EMILY CARR. Accessed November 1, 2019.
  2. Kilgour, David. “Solitary Genius.” Six: Emily Carr. Accessed November 1, 2019.
  3. Art Canada Institute - Institut de l’art. “Emily Carr.” Art Canada Institute - Institut de l'art canadien. Accessed November 1, 2019.
  4. “Emily Carr - Biography of a Canadian Artist - Art History Archive.” Art History Archive. Accessed November 1, 2019.
  5. “House of All Sorts.” Emily Carr House. Accessed November 1, 2019.
  6. Carr, Emily. The House of All Sorts. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2004.

Featured Content

Here is what Wikipedia says about Emily Carr

Emily Carr (December 13, 1871 – March 2, 1945) was a Canadian artist and writer who was inspired by the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. One of the first painters in Canada to adopt a Modernist and Post-Impressionist painting style, Carr did not receive widespread recognition for her work until the subject matter of her painting shifted from Aboriginal themes to landscapes—forest scenes in particular. As a writer, Carr was one of the earliest chroniclers of life in British Columbia. The Canadian Encyclopedia describes her as a "Canadian icon".

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Emily Carr.