Sunrise on Percé Rock, 1882
watercolour on paper
24.5 x 35.4 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of Mrs. Bernard Naylor in memory of her father, the Honourable T.A. Crerar, P.C.C.C., L.L.D.
As the first president of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, Lucius O’Brien was sensitive to representing all regions of Canada in his art. Travelling extensively via the newly completed transcontinental railway, he recorded many of the natural wonders of the nation’s frontier. Like his American counterpart, Albert Bierstadt, albeit on a more diminutive scale, O’Brien imbued his landscapes with luminous colour and atmosphere celebrating the young country’s natural and rugged beauty. He saw his monumental images as tools to awaken national pride and reveal the potential in Canada’s diverse geography. This watercolour of the Gaspé Peninsula on Canada’s east coast suggests the promise held in a land rife with breathtaking scenery, evoking the optimistic sentiment of a young nation.