Edmund Montague Morris

Edmund Montague Morris, painter (b at Perth, Ont 18 Dec 1871; d near Beaupré, Qué, 21 Aug 1913). Son of Alexander Morris, Edmund lived at Fort Garry (Winnipeg), Manitoba, from 1872 to 1878 and then in Toronto from 1880. He studied art with William Cruikshank and then at the Art Students League in New York (1891-1893) and at the Académie Julian and Ecole des beaux-arts in Paris (1893-1896). He painted in Scotland and Holland in 1894, 1895 and 1902. Most summers from 1896 to 1903 he painted on the Lower St Lawrence near Beaupré with William Brymner, Maurice Cullen and Edmond Dyonnet. His canvases of these years show vigorous brushwork and moody, dark colouring influenced by the work of the Hague and Glasgow Schools.

In 1906 he accompanied the expedition negotiating Treaty 9 to James Bay and from 1907 to 1910 made annual trips to the prairies to draw pastel portraits of Native leaders, many of whom had signed major treaties of the 1870s. A number of portraits were commissioned by the governments of Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Morris was very public-spirited and a great organizer, promoting the growth of the Art Museum of Toronto and the formation of the Canadian Art Club in 1907. He had a great interest in Canadian history and authored one of the first pamphlets on early Canadian painters in 1911. He bequeathed his paintings to the Ontario College of Art to be sold to fund a scholarship, and his collection of objects related to aboriginal life and history to the Royal Ontario Museum.