Fresh Seeings, the new Emily Carr exhibit at the Royal BC Museum, is the largest collection of Carr's work all together at one time. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Fresh Seeings: How Emily Carr’s style changed after a trip to France

New exhibit at Royal BC Museum showcasing the Victoria-born artist’s work throughout her life

The new Emily Carr exhibit at the Royal BC Museum is highlighting the impact a trip to France had on the Victoria-born painter.

“I think if Carr hadn’t gone to France, she would not have become the national icon that she is now,” said Kathryn Bridge, co-curator of the new exhibit. “She transitions in France from a realistic painter to a post-impressionist painter – she completely changed her style.”

Carr travelled to Paris in 1910 and spent the year broadening her art, studying under artists like John Duncan Fergusson, ‘Harry’ Phelan Gibb and Frances Hodgkins.

READ ALSO: Newly public Emily Carr painting depicts well-known Victoria view

“She could very easily have been satisfied by being a competent realistic painter, working in watercolours, but I think she wanted something more,” said Bridge.

The exhibit was 14 months in the making, which is a fairly tight timeline when it comes to curating exhibits. In an effort to learn more about Carr, Bridge went to France to follow in the artist’s footsteps. Armed with an iPad filled with Carr’s paintings, most of which had generic titles such as Village by the Sea or House in Brittany, Bridge got to work trying to locate the exact spot in the paintings.

“There was a couple of times where I actually sat on the same bench that Carr sat on,” said Bridge. “Knowing that it was exactly there that she sat … I get shivers.”

READ ALSO: Victoria author pens biography on Emily Carr’s monkey, Woo

For Bridge, what’s most exciting about the exhibit, titled Fresh Seeing, is the fact that this is the first time a lot of new information about Carr’s time in France has been presented, and that this is the largest showing of her paintings together in one place, including a number of private lender pieces.

After Emily Carr’s trip to France, her style of painting changed. So once she came back home, Carr re-painted a number of her pieces using what she learned abroad. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

The exhibit features a number of paintings done before Carr’s trip to France that she redid when she got home. Prior to her trip, Carr spent a lot of time painting local First Nations and gave herself a mission to document villages which she feared would be lost in the future.

“I think she was ahead of her time in not recognizing or not subscribing to a lot of racialized perspective,” said Bridge.

A book called Fresh Seeing accompanies the exhibit, which details more of Bridge’s trip to France and includes four essays about Carr and her work.

For more information about the exhibit which is open now and runs until Jan. 24, or to purchase tickets, visit the museum’s website.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: Follow us on Instagram.  
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Royal BC Museum


Fresh Seeings, the new Emily Carr exhibit at the Royal BC Museum, is the largest collection of Carr’s work all together at one time. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Fresh Seeings, the new Emily Carr exhibit at the Royal BC Museum, is the largest collection of Carr’s work all together at one time. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Fresh Seeings, the new Emily Carr exhibit at the Royal BC Museum, is the largest collection of Carr’s work all together at one time. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Fresh Seeings, the new Emily Carr exhibit at the Royal BC Museum, is the largest collection of Carr’s work all together at one time. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Just Posted

Victoria-Swan Lake MLA Rob Fleming moves to the role of transportation minister in the NDP’s new cabinet. (B.C. government file photo)
Vancouver Island MLAs claim key roles in new cabinet

Key ministries headed by veteran and rookie Island MLAs in Horgan’s new team

Ladysmith’s 1st Avenue will be lit up until January 15. (Cole Schisler photo)
Ladysmith’s 1st Avenue all aglow

Although the tradition Light Up this year was cancelled, folks can still enjoy the holiday lights

Christmas will look a bit different in Cumberland this year, not only because of COVID restrictions but due to changes from BC Hydro about hanging decorations on the poles. Record file photo
Snowflakes left out in the cold for Island town

Holiday season tradition a no-go for Cumberland’s power poles

Karl Ablack, chair of the Port Renfrew Recovery Task Force, says visitors should steer clear of the community after the second wave of COVID has begun to hit across the province. (Black Press Media file photo)
Port Renfrew, Pacheedaht First Nation asks visitors to steer clear of community again

Tight-knit community of 400 has yet to report single case of COVID

The old home at 785 Island Rd. is coming down as the developer was unable to find a feasible business case to save it. (Black Press Media File Photo)
With no takers to move old Oak Bay home, teardown begins

‘We tried a last hurrah,’ developer says

Penny Hart is emotional outside the Saanich Police Department as she pleads for helpt to find her son Sean Hart last seen Nov. 6 at a health institution in Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: Mother of missing Saanich man begs public to help find her son

Sean Hart last seen leaving Saanich mental health facility Nov. 6

Police in Nanaimo are looking for a suspect who wore a black-and-white striped hoodie and rode a yellow mountain bike when he allegedly stole three children’s backpacks from a daycare facility. (Photo submitted)
VIDEO: Thief steals children’s backpacks from Nanaimo daycare

Suspect rode a yellow mountain bike and made off with backpacks hanging on fence

The Klahoose First Nation village on Cortes Island is under lockdown until further notice due to a positive COVID-19 test. Photo courtesy Kevin Peacey.
Cortes Island First Nation community locked down due to positive COVID-19 test

Klahoose First Nation has had one positive test, one other potential case

North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney has spoken out about some veterans losing their Dimished Earning Capacity income. (Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror photo)
Blaney pens letter to minister about veteran supports

Concerned about veterans losing some income

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

No face-offs until at least Dec. 8 after the BCHL shuts down pre-sesason play. (Citizen file)
BCHL cancels remainder of the pre-season

Island teams see their exhibition season cut short

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

Most Read