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Emily Carr’s 1940 painting ‘Survival’ returns to British


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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 15, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Audain Art Museum (AAM) in Whistler, BC, which has acquired a noteworthy Emily Carr painting, revealed it to media in downtown Vancouver this morning. Titled ‘Survival,’ the 28 x 23-inch oil on canvas, signed by Emily Carr in 1940, had not been exhibited publicly for almost 60 years. This piece was one of four Emily Carr works in Canada’s debut at the Venice Biennale Internazionale d’Arte in 1952. Carr’s exhibit at the Venice Biennale was organized seven years after her passing in 1945.

Michael Audain and his wife Yoshiko Karasawa provided the funds for ‘Survival’ to be acquired by the Audain Art Museum in a recent private sale. It will enter the Museum’s permanent collection and be on display starting in April 2023.

“I was drawn to this important painting because of the subject matter, the late period in her oeuvre, and its distinguished provenance. I felt it was important for Yoshi and I to donate the funds so the Audain Art Museum could acquire this work, because it should definitely be returned to the West Coast of Canada,” says Michael Audain, Chairman of the Audain Foundation.

Dr. Curtis Collins, the AAM’s Director & Chief Curator, states: “Survival brilliantly echoes Carr’s longstanding effort to evoke human emotions through highly charged renderings of BC’s forests.”

The oil on canvas was selected by Lawren Harris as one of Carr’s four paintings shown at the 1952 Venice Biennale. It was once owned by James E. Coyne, Governor, Bank of Canada and since 1968 by a private collection in Quebec.

The Audain Art Museum opened to the public in 2016. Among numerous other artworks, Michael Audain and Yoshiko Karasawa donated 22 of their Emily Carr paintings and then provided the funds to acquire another 11 Carr paintings since opening. The Museum now holds 33 Emily Carr paintings, which is considered one of Canada’s most important Carr collections.

In a speech made in Victoria in 1930, Emily Carr sought to explain modern art, proclaiming that “Creative Art” is “fresh seeing” to a baffled audience. She asked, “What about our side of Canada? The Great West? Standing before us, big and strong, and beautiful? What art do we want for her art? Ancient or modern?” She implored, “Canadian painters must strive to express Canada.”

Michael Audain’s passion for Carr’s work has been the impetus to collect so many of her paintings. Emily Carr is recognized as one of the most important Canadian artists — ever.

About the Audain Art Museum
Opened in 2016, the Audain Art Museum is a major philanthropic gift by Michael Audain and Yoshiko Karasawa. Located in Whistler, BC this cultural asset was designed by Patkau Architects. The Museum’s Permanent Collection celebrates cultural difference in BC from the late 18th century to present. Highlights include James Hart’s The Dance Screen (The Scream Too), an important collection of 19th and 20th century First Nations masks, and works by some of Canada’s most celebrated artists. In addition, the Museum hosts dynamic and relevant Special Exhibitions from Canada and around the world and offers a variety of educational programs.

Media Inquiries
Michael Audain, Founder, Audain Art Museum
T: 604.871.4207

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

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