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Exhibition of Nova Scotia folk artist Maud Lewis debuts at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection
Installation view.

KLEINBURG, ON.- The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is presenting the debut of its highly anticipated exhibition Maud Lewis this summer. The exhibition is on view through January 5, 2020. Featuring more than 130 works by beloved Nova Scotia folk artist Maud Lewis (1903 – 1970), the exhibition focuses on her endearing artistic accomplishments, featuring many never-before-seen pieces.

“We are overjoyed to be presenting the work of this remarkable woman,” says McMichael Chief Curator Sarah Milroy. “She had a distinctive gift for colour and composition, wringing endless delightful variations in marvellous profusion. Her colours sing, and the happiness they convey is more remarkable given the difficulties of her life. She’s truly inspiring, both as an artist and as a creative and resilient human being.”

Lewis’s work is built around the serial repetition of images, symbols and motifs. From patterns of cats and kittens, to rustic images of horse-drawn carts and oxen, to breezy scenes of ships in the harbour, Lewis’s work appealed to audiences nostalgic for cheerful depictions of rural life in Atlantic Canada. Her mastery of colour, endless compositional variety and exuberant vernacular style also mark her as one of Canada’s most formally inventive folk artists.

“With the debut of the Maud Lewis exhibition, the McMichael is hoping to transform the landscape of discussion around her work,” says Milroy. “Lewis’s story is a triumphant tale of the strength of her human spirit, but we also think that it’s the story of the strength of a great artist. As one of the only major public galleries devoted to the story of the art of Canada, we think the Maud Lewis chapter deserves to be better known, and that her extraordinary artistic accomplishments should be celebrated.”

“The Maud Lewis exhibition will be a wonderful addition to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection,” said Michael Tibollo, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “Maud Lewis painted cheerful and bright works, despite her life struggles. Now, we will have the opportunity to see them right here in Ontario as a part of the McMichael collection’s story of the Canadian experience.”

This exhibition is accompanied by an exhibition catalogue featuring a comprehensive selection of rarely seen artworks from private collections.

Nova Scotia folk artist Maud Lewis (1903 – 1970) is recognized as one of Canada’s most beloved folk artists. She was famous in her lifetime for her brightly coloured paintings of rural Nova Scotia. Working from her cabin on the side of the highway in Marshalltown, in Digby County, she produced hundreds of small works that captured aspects of country life that were rapidly changing.

Media wishing to speak with exhibition curator Sarah Milroy, view the exhibition, or request high-resolution images of the artworks may contact Sam Cheung at or 905.893.1121 ext. 2210.

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