Nora Frances Elizabeth Collyer (1898-1979)

We buy and sell paintings by Nora Collyer.  For inquiries, please contact us.

Nora Frances Elizabeth Collyer was born in Montreal on June 7, 1898.   She attended Trafalgar School, a prestigious Montreal girl's school.  She took art classes at the Art Association of Montreal under Alberta Cleland, Maurice Cullen and William Brymner.   

 

Nora Collyer was the youngest member of the Beaver Hall Group of Women Painters (the others being Emily Coonan, Prudence Heward, Mabel Lockerby, Mabel May, Kathleen Morris, Lilias Torrance Newton, Sarah Robertson, Anne Savage, and Ethel Seath).  She shared a studio with Anne Savage at 305 Beaver Hall Hill.  She began exhibiting with the Royal Canadian Academy as early as 1922.  Her work was exhibited at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley, England in 1924 and 1925, as well as at the 1939 New York World's Fair. 

 

Nora Collyer taught art at the Trafalgar School from 1925 to 1930, and then left that job to take care of her father when her mother passed away.  After her father's death in 1946, Nora Collyer went to live with her friend Margaret Reid on Elm Avenue.  She taught at the Art Association of Montreal and gave classes for individuals and small groups in her home.  In 1950, she and Reid bought a property near Magog, where they built Strawberry Hill. 

 

Collyer had a solo show at the Dominion Gallery in Montreal in 1946, then at the Galerie Walter Klinkhoff in 1964.  The National Gallery of Canada had a retrospective of her works in 1969. 

 

When Margaret Reid developed Alzheimer's disease, Collyer looked after her.  Reid died in May 1979 and Collyer died a few weeks later at the age 81.

Galerie Eric Klinkhoff, Canadian Art Dealer & Gallery in Montreal

Nora Collyer (1898-1979)

"Houses, Cap-à-l'Aigle", 1950

Oil on canvas 28" x 30" (SOLD)

Nora Collyer was described by her friend Anne Savage as “one of the loveliest people imaginable, so unpretentious, so apparently listless and apathetic and so full of fun and constant chatter, thoughtful and planning for everyone”.  Nora had a strong sense of community involvement and volunteered her services as the gifted artist and art teacher that she was.

 

The Collyer family cottage in Foster, called Hillcrest, was a gathering place for many of the Beaver Hall women painters.  Nora tended to be shy and reserved but her dear friend Margaret Reid was outgoing and welcoming.  They lived together in Montreal on Ridgewood and later on Elm in Westmount.  They built a house together called Strawberry Hill overlooking Lake Memphremagog in the Township of Austin, about 20 kilometers from Foster.  They vacationed there happily every summer from 1950 until 1967.

 

Many of Nora's paintings, of which we have many for our exhibition, were done in the Eastern Townships and are owned by old friends in this area.  Her technique was soft, yet remarkable for its shapes, for its rich colour and rhythmic undulations.  Nora's focus was on the surrounding landscapes and waterscapes.  Her subjects included old churches, old houses, villages, trees, woods and flowers.  Apparently, Nora loved to garden and used her flowers as models in her art.  One of her obvious influences was Maurice Cullen with whom she took many sketching trips as a student.  Nora shows ripeness of form and nature, her skies are phenomenal, with their solid, wavy forms and dramatic, saturated colours.  She obviously felt at home in the cosy villages and rolling hills of the Eastern Townships.

 

In later years, Nora devoted her time in nursing Margaret, who had Alzheimer's.  Nora Collyer died a mere twelve days after Margaret Reid had passed away.

 

 

Source: "Groupe Beaver Hall" (2007) catalogue for the exhibition of works by the Beaver Hall Women, presented at Galerie Walter Klinkhoff and Bishop's University.  Text by Mary Trudel.

 

© Copyright Mary Trudel and Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc.

Galerie Eric Klinkhoff, Canadian Art Dealer & Gallery in Montreal

Nora Collyer (1898-1979)

"Sherbrooke Street Looking East to Guy and the Martello Towers"

Oil on board 18" x 16" (SOLD)

Galerie Eric Klinkhoff, Canadian Art Dealer & Gallery in Montreal

Nora Collyer (1898-1979)

"Spring, Magog", 1946

Oil on panel 16" x 18" (SOLD)

Galerie Eric Klinkhoff, Canadian Art Dealer & Gallery in Montreal

Nora Collyer (1898-1979)

"Mount Orford from Strawberry Hill"

Oil on panel 12.3/4" x 14.3/4" (SOLD)

Galerie Eric Klinkhoff, Canadian Art Dealer & Gallery in Montreal

Nora Collyer (1898-1979)

"Brome Lake, from High Hill"

Oil on board 16" x 18" (SOLD)