Lucius Richard O'Brien, painter (b at Shanty Bay, UC 15 Aug 1832; d at Toronto 13 Dec 1899). He studied art under John G. HOWARD
at Upper Canada College, Toronto. Although he demonstrated youthful artistic ability, he worked as a civil engineer in Toronto until about 1872. Thereafter, as a professional artist, he was considered the country's most proficient landscapist, in both oil and watercolour. O'Brien painted widely, in Ontario and Québec, on Grand Manan and along the Atlantic seaboard and, sponsored by the CPR, in the Rockies and along the Pacific. Many of his landscapes are distinguished by a sense of light similar to that in paintings by Albert Bierstadt and the American "luminists," and by the realism similar to that in paintings by John A. FRASER
and other artists associated with the Notman photographic studios. O'Brien supported the Ontario Society of Artists, helped organize the Royal Canadian Academy, serving as its first president, 1880-90, and edited Picturesque Canada
(1882). After 1882 he painted and taught in Toronto.
Under the Cliffs, Port Stanley
Lucius O'Brien, 1873, watercolour (courtesy Mrs Eigil Simmelhag).
J. RUSSELL HARPER