Canadian artist Isabel Grace Mclaughlin was an avid artist and collector. She studied at the Ontario College of Art under Arthur Lismer and Yvonne McKague Housser, at the Art Students League in New York under Hans Hoffman and at the Scandinavian Academy in Paris.
She held her first solo show in 1933 at the Art Gallery of Toronto, the same year she became a founding member of the Canadian Group of Painters. She exhibited regularly with the group, and in 1939 became its first female president. Along with Rody Kenny Courtice, Kathleen Daly, Yvonne McKague Housser and Paraskeva Clark, she participated in an important exhibit at the Malloney Galleries in Toronto in 1936.
Along with many Canadian artists of her day, McLaughlin’s earlier work was influenced by the Group of Seven. Later she moved toward a more simplified modern approach, though it was still the landscape that interested her. Joan Murray, the first curator of Canadian Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario said of her work, “A touch of cubism…with a theme of nature.”
With ‘Blossom Time’, McLaughlin portrays a little slice of farm life complete with scratching chickens, in a reduced and muted palette of green, grey, pink and yellow. Just beyond the farm outbuildings in the background, looming over the landscape is the pier of a raised road or rail trestle, an all too common symbol of the encroaching industrial landscape on this little valley paradise.
McLaughlin’s work is represented in many important corporate, private and public collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queens University, Kingston and the McMichael Collection at Kleinburg.