Think Like a Historian: Introduction to the Halifax Explosion

ARTHUR LISMER Biography Arthur Lismer was born in Sheffield, England, in 1885. Lismer studied art and developed his early style in Sheffield, and later in Antwerp, Belgium. He moved to Toronto in 1911, married Esther Mawsen in 1912, and worked as a designer for the Grip Engraving Company. Between 1916 and 1919, he was principal of the Victoria School of Art and Design in Halifax, beginning a life-long commitment to arts education. In Halifax, he expanded course options, provided forums for public presentations and offered children’s art classes on Saturdays. After the Halifax Explosion, Lismer was commissioned as an Official Canadian War Artist in Halifax. He returned to Toronto in 1919 and the following year helped found the famous Canadian painting ensemble, the Group of Seven. His best-known paintings used an expressionist style to portray Canada’s natural landscapes. Lismer held several prominent roles in the world of arts education: he served as Vice-Principal of the Ontario College of Art and Design, educational supervisor at the Art Gallery of Toronto, and visiting professor at Columbia University. In addition, he founded two Children’s Arts Centres — in Toronto in 1929 and Montreal in 1941. For his lifelong contribution to the arts and arts education, he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1967. Lismer died in 1969, and is buried on the grounds of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection near Toronto. Above: Self Portrait , 1924, by Arthur Lismer, Gift of Mr. A.J. Latner (courtesy McMichael Canadian Art Collection/1971.1). Below: Arthur Lismer, with wife Esther and daughter Marjorie, 1915 (courtesy Arthur Lismer Collection, McMichael Canadian Art Collection Archives, ARC-ALC- Photos-Folder 7). These worksheets have been designed to accompany the Think Like a Historian: The Halifax Explosion Education Guide . The Think Like a Historian series was produced with the generous support of the Government of Canada. Visit to view all the videos in the series and download additional free, bilingual educational resources. Right: Arthur Lismer, A.R.C.A. (courtesy Archives of Ontario/F 1075-12-0-0-53/ I0007820). T H I N K L I K E A H I S T O R I A N . C A