One of the great things about the Sunday Stamps meme over at Viridian’s Postcard Blog is that when I occasionally drop by it always inspires me to browse through my unsorted thematic stamps and find just the right stamp to fit the weekly theme. This Sunday the topic is “Scenic Natural Areas” and right away one starkly iconic stamp stood out as being the perfect choice – a monochrome engraved view of Greenland Mountains by Canadian painter Lawren Stewart Harris (1885-1970).
The original 1930 painting was mistakenly identified by the National Gallery of Canada, which purchased the work in 1936, as depicting Bylot Island in Nunavut Territory, Canada, within the Sirmilik National Park. This error went unchecked right up until the 1990s, and as a result this 15 cent Canadian Stamp, which was issued on 8 February 1967 as part of the Centennial Series celebrating 100 years of Canadian postage (1867-1967), was always known as the “Bylot Island” stamp.
Harris was the first of several Toronto painters in the early decades of the last century who would travel to northern Ontario and the Arctic to create landscape paintings. In 1920 these artists began to call themselves the Group of Seven – and a new Canadian art movement was born.
Incidentally, in 2010, a painting of Bylot Island entitled Bylot Island I by Lawren Harris, was sold at auction for a staggering 2.8 million Canadian dollars, a record-breaking amount for an artwork by a Canadian artist.
Happy Canada Day!