Maud Lewis: Her House, Her Art, Her Legacy
One of Canada’s most well-known and well-loved artists, Maud Lewis’ largest artwork — the house she lived in for over 30 years — has been on permanent exhibition in the Scotiabank Maud Lewis Gallery since 1998.
Since 2013, the last time the Maud Lewis Gallery added additional artworks, interest in Maud Lewis has steadily increased with the release of a movie based on her life, new books published, and new artworks discovered. These have all added depth and complexity to the story of a woman, her life, and her artwork.
Maud’s story has often been portrayed as one of isolation, embracing the myth of an idyllic rural Nova Scotia, reinforced by her incredibly popular nostalgic and optimistic paintings of that landscape and community. Taking a closer look at Maud’s development as an artist, this updated exhibition challenges the notion that poverty, lack of formal training, physical disability, and rural life meant Maud wasn’t exposed to outside artistic influences.
This exhibition embraces Maud as an artist who took inspiration from a wide range of graphic media, her surroundings, and her childhood memories, and transmuted them into something that is distinctly her own.
The Gallery is pleased to have refreshed the exhibition to better convey all aspects of Maud’s story. Visitors can now view never before seen paintings by Maud thanks to the generosity of a number of private collectors.
After the death of Maud Lewis in 1970, and subsequently of her husband, Everett Lewis, in 1979, their lovingly painted home began to deteriorate. In reaction, a group of concerned citizens from the Digby area started the Maud Lewis Painted House Society; their only goal was to save this valued landmark.
After a number of years of fundraising, the society realized that the project was going to take more resources than they could gather. In 1984, the house was sold to the Province of Nova Scotia and turned over to the care of Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
In 1996, with funds from the federal Department of Canadian Heritage and from private individuals, the processes of conservation and restoration began. The final, fully restored house is on permanent display in Halifax at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
In April 2017, Mongrel Media released Maudie in theatres across Canada.
Academy Award® nominees Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky, Blue Jasmine) and Ethan Hawke star in the true story of Maud Lewis, who overcame the physical challenge of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis to become one of Canada’s premier folk artists. (Mongrel Media)