In 1920, Lawren Harris painted “Beaver Swamp” on a trip to Algoma, Ontario. The painting features a swamp with an extraordinary sunset sky and trees that have been stylized to fit the Canadian north. Harris created several oil sketches during his trips to Algoma, but few were transformed into more prominent paintings. Despite this, “Beaver Swamp” remains a powerful attempt to dramatize the north.
The canvas is part of the Art Gallery of Ontario’s collection and was gifted in memory of Harold Murchison Tovell by Ruth Massey Tovell in 1953. Lawren Harris was part of the Group of Seven artists who believed in asserting distinct national identity combined with early modernism heritage in Europe in the early twentieth century.