Work & Bio

D.R. Morrice

Born in 1903
 / Died in 1987

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MORRICE, David Rousseaux

Born in Toronto, Ontario, the son of Arthur A. Morrice, Scottish textile manufacturer. His mother was of French Huguenot descent and his uncle was the famous Canadian artist J.W. Morrice. He attended Upper Canada College and the Appleby School near Toronto; graduated from McGill University, B. Comm. (1924); worked with a textile company; jointed a firm of stockbrokers (1927); began painting around 1924. He turned to full time painting in 1932 and studied under Lilias Torrance Newton and Adam Sheriff Scott. He visited Switzerland regularly where his family lived from 1921 to 1929. While there he made visits to Paris and other art centres in Europe. He attended the Heatherley’s School, London, England (1934-1936) where he worked under Bernard Adams and Frederic Whiting. He studied life drawing at the Académie Colarossi and at the Grande Chaumière (1936-37). Arriving back in Canada he set up a studio in Montreal. At the outbreak of World War Two he enlisted in the Canadian Army and rose to the rank of Major in 1944. He served in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. After the war he returned to Montreal and took up painting once more. His first one-man show (80 paintings) was held at the Dominion Gallery in March of 1950. Viewing his work The Standard noted, “The first one-man show of D.R. Morrice . . . gives an overall impression of solid, nearly stolid charm, original colors dark in key plus a workmanlike regard for well balanced compositions. These personal interpretations of landscapes, still lifes and portraits have a simple honesty that put them in the bracket of popular art. . . . Since the show opened Tuesday 35 paintings have been sold. This is something of a record I was told. Most of the landscapes were painted in Quebec though a few sketches are shown of the artist’s earlier work when he was studying in England and on the Continent. . . . Broadly as all these paintings are rendered they still manage to include the intimate trivia that makes for immediate communion between artist and onlooker.” Morrice was living in Montreal in 1972.

Colin S. MacDonald

A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, volumes 1-8 by Colin S. MacDonald, and volume 9 (online only), by Anne Newlands and Judith Parker
National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts du Canada