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Carmichael, Franklin
Iris Iris
c. 1925 c. 1925

Perhaps best known as a member of the Group of Seven, Franklin Carmichael’s artistic oeuvre spanned many media and styles. In addition to his higher-profile oil and watercolour paintings, Carmichael was an accomplished printmaker in the 1930s and 1940s. He had no formal printmaking training, despite having received artistic tutelage at the Ontario College of Art, the Toronto Technical School and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium. Between 1932 and 1945, he held a position as an instructor of graphics and commercial design at the Ontario College of Art, and it was during this time that he revisited previous experimentations with etching, wood engraving, lithography, woodcut and linocut, as seen here.

This print is one of three floral designs he produced in linocut; the other two being Trilliums and Pulmonaria. Likely dating to 1934, Iris depicts four iris blooms as well spiderwort or Tradescantia, and was composed from examples in Carmichael’s garden in Lansing (now Willowdale, North York), Ontario. While flowers rarely appear in his paintings, he had an interest in botany and gardening, and used these linocuts to experiment with colour. Carmichael rarely exhibited his prints and appears to have made them primarily for personal purposes such as Christmas cards or his own artistic exploration.

 
Carmichael, Franklin
Orillia ON 1890-Toronto ON 1945 Orillia ON 1890-Toronto ON 1945
Iris Iris
c. 1925 c. 1925
Coloured linocut on laid paper, 3/20 Coloured linocut on laid paper, 3/20
22.1 x 16.4 cm (plate); 29.8 x 19.6 (sheet)
Gift of Beth Robinson, 2020 Gift of Beth Robinson, 2020
63-008.01

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