JOHN GOODWIN LYMAN
LA SOUFRIÉRE, SAINTE LUCIE
oil on canvas
signed; also signed and titled on the reverse
28 ins x 20 ins; 71.1 cms x 50.8 cms
John Lyman (1886-1967) leads the long list of anglophone Quebeckers who championed the attributes of the School of Paris and French subjective colour. He studied in Paris in 1907 at the Académie Julian, befriended J. W. Morrice and enrolled in 1909 at the Académie Matisse. Fauvism and Matisse, with whom he maintained a correspondence, were Lyman’s touchstones. He returned to Montreal in an attempt to introduce modernism to Quebec, however, Lyman’s art was ridiculed by the media and he departed for a 28 year residence and sojourn through France, Spain, and North Africa.
The depression brought him back to Quebec where in 1939 Lyman formed the Contemporary Art Society (CAS) to exhibit and promote modern art. By 1948 there was serious dissension within its ranks. Borduas and the Automatistes split off to pen the Refus Global and Alfred Pellan issued his manifesto: Prisme d'Yeux. Lyman’s commitment to modernist figuration was out of step with the prevailing spirit of abstraction; the CAS disbanded that year. Nevertheless, Lyman’s subjective colour left an indelible impression upon the art of Quebec.
Throughout his long, productive career, Lyman sought exotic lands which allowed him full reign to employ extravagant Fauvist colour combinations. La Soufriére, Sainte Lucie is a fine example of Lyman’s major aesthetic interests.
Private Collection, Toronto