| In 1911, at age twenty-six, Arthur Lismer
joined Grip. He had just arrived in Canada from the industrial city of Sheffield,
England. At the age of thirteen, Lismer won an entrance scholarship to the
Sheffield School of Art and began what was, to most people, a seven year
apprenticeship towards becoming a silver craftsman. Unhappy and feeling
too confined in England, he went to Antwerp for a year and a half to study
at the Academie Royal des Beaux-Arts. At first influenced by the Barbizon
("cow") school, Lismer was later deeply moved by the Post-Impressionist
works, especially of Van Gogh. Back in Sheffield, Lismer struggled as a
commercial artist and soon decided to head for Canada, where he had heard
commercial artists were doing extremely well. Lismer landed a job at Grip
immediately upon his arrival in 1911. He was one of the four employees,
who later formed the Group of Seven, to leave work for Rous and Mann printing
house in 1912.
Arthur Lismer was a man of considerable energy - a gregarious, outgoing individual, always ready with a witty or caustic remark. Nothing delighted him more than taking a crack at the establishment or at anything that hinted at pretension. Speaking of Tom Thomson, he once said, "If the country's half as stirring as Tom's sketches seem to indicate, in Heaven's name why are so many Canadians always talking about their stomachs, their money? Where's the Romantic spirit, the philosophic spirit?"
This 'spirit' and energy made Lismer fight against the apathy and ignorance of the public towards the world of art. He did this by dividing his time between painting and teaching. In 1916, he began his lifelong career in teaching, as principal of an art school in Halifax a career that took him all over Canada and the world. In his teaching, Lismer's passion was devoted to children's art, and in his painting it was the Canadian landscape. In both cases, he went at the task in a bold, colourful way. [Adapted from Canadian Government Group of Seven Web Site]