LAURA ADELINE MUNTZ LYALL, O.S.A., A.R.C.A.
CHILDREN FEEDING THE RABBITS
oil on canvas
48 ins x 36 ins; 121.9 cms x 91.4 cms
In the summer of 1894 and 1898, Laura Muntz (1860-1930) visited rural Holland. She travelled there again in the late summer of 1899. It was a particularly happy time for her and her paintings seem to reflect this. In her 2012 biography of the artist, Joan Murray notes Lyall’s Dutch subjects “were striking and made good materials for painting, particularly for works to be exhibited in the Salon.”
Murray further notes that there is something quite special about the compositions from this period that make the viewer feel part of an intimate moment. Indeed, the positioning of the young girl and young boy near the rabbit hutches leaves just enough space for the viewer to be incorporated into their experience. The almost life size scale of the work further enhances the sense of a virtual experience.
While this painting is not titled, a work called Feeding The Rabbits was exhibited by Muntz in 1900 (as no. 154) at the Canadian National Exhibition. That work, or a work of the same title, was exhibited again in 1901 (no. 107).
Muntz was active in various art societies of the day both abroad and in Canada, but she also built her reputation as a teacher while travelling overseas and again once she had settled back in Canada. She found teaching positions in some of Canada’s finest private girls schools including Branksome Hall (1901-1905) and Havergal Ladies College in Toronto and Miss Edgar’s & Miss Cramp’s in Montreal (1910-1914).
Joan Murray, Laura Muntz Lyall: Impressions of Women and Childhood, McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal and Kingston, 2012, pages 22, 145, 150 and 154.
Private Collection, Oakville