Artworks and Artists
John Lyman
Born in Biddeford, Maine, 29 September 1886
Died Barbados: Christ Church, 26 May 1967
Collection of the Library and Archives, National Gallery of Canada

John Lyman

John Lyman played a key role in the development of modern art in Canada, not only as an artist, but also as a theorist, professor. Apart from trips to Canada in 1913 and 1927, Lyman spent the years 1907-31 in Europe. He attended the Académie Julian in Paris, and met the Canadian artist James Wilson Morrice. In 1909, he attended the Académie Matisse. The contact with Morrice and Matisse and their devotion to a pure art of colour, line, and form, an art devoid of all anecdotal details or 'non-artistic' concepts, remained with Lyman throughout his life.
Lyman returned to Montreal permanently in September 1931. From 1936 to 1940, he was an author for the monthly art column in The Montrealer, where he commented on the Canadian art scene, promoted international trends, and offered some of the most intelligent writing on art in Canada. He co-founded the short-lived Atelier. In 1939 Lyman established the Contemporary Arts Society in Montreal. In 1949, Lyman became an art professor at McGill University in Montréal and, three years later, was appointed director of the Fine Arts Department.