• La Farge, John (American, 1835–1910)

    The inventor of opalescent glass, John La Farge was an American writer, painter, muralist, and stained-glass designer. He was influenced by the British Pre-Raphaelites and by Japanese art, and was a close friend of Henry James. La Farge designed windows for religious and public buildings, including Trinity Church, Boston, and St. Thomas Church, New York City.

  • La Guilde

    Alice Peck and Mary Martha (May) Phillips founded the Canadian Handicrafts Guild in Montreal in 1906 to promote craft production in Canada. Inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement, the guild held annual exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Montreal. By the 1950s the professionalization and elevation of Canadian craft to the level of art had become a major focus of its activities. The guild provided financial support to James Houston to make test purchases of Inuit art, culminating in the notable sale at the CHG’s Montreal shop in November 1949 that launched recognition of Inuit art in southern markets. The organization later changed its name to the Canadian Guild of Crafts, and it is now called simply La Guilde.

  • Laberge, Albert (Canadian, 1871–1960)

    Albert Laberge was a journalist and naturalist author who played an important role in the emergence of modern Québécois literature. He contributed to the foundation of the Montreal Literary School in 1895, an association that supported the publication of some of the first works from the new generation of writers. From 1896 to 1932, he was the sports editor and art critic at the Montreal-based newspaper La Presse. He published journalism, essays, and literary criticism. Upon publication of his novel La Scouine, in 1918, he was censored by the church, which found his contemporary portrait of non-idealized rural life reprehensible.

  • Lacroix, Richard (Canadian, b.1939)

    A multimedia graphic artist, printmaker, and painter known for his expressionistic style and use of vibrant colour and free-flowing lines. He studied at the Institute of Graphic Arts in Montreal and the École des beaux-arts de Montréal, where he later became professor of engraving in 1960. In 1964, he helped found the Fusion des Arts group, an artistic association that aimed to explore the synthesis of art and society.

  • Laiwan (Canadian, b.1961)

    Born in Zimbabwe to Chinese parents, Laiwan is a Vancouver-based interdisciplinary artist, writer, educator, and cultural activist who investigates colonialism and works towards decoloniality in her practice. She explores issues of embodiment, urban development, and questions of environment in Vancouver across a variety of media. Laiwan founded the city’s Or Gallery, an artist-run centre, in 1983.

  • Lake, Suzy (Canadian, b.1947)

    Born in Detroit, Lake immigrated to Canada in 1968. In the Montreal art scene she quickly became known for her conceptual work and for experimenting with play, performance, and photographic self-portraiture. She is the co-founder of the celebrated artist-run centre Véhicule Art Inc. in Montreal, and she eventually moved to Toronto, where she achieved critical success. (See Suzy Lake: Life & Work by Erin Silver.)

  • Lalemant, Gabriel (French, 1610–1649)

    A Jesuit who, in taking his religious vows, requested to add a fourth vow to the usual three: to devote himself to foreign missions. He arrived in Quebec to do missionary work fourteen years later, in 1646. He was captured and killed by Iroquois at the Saint-Louis Mission, near Georgian Bay, and was canonized in 1930.

  • Laliberté, Alfred (Canadian, 1878–1953)

    Born in Sainte-Élizabeth-de-Warwick, Quebec, Laliberté studied sculpture at the Council of Arts and Manufactures in Montreal and at the renowned École des beaux-arts in Paris. During his time in France Laliberté discovered the work of Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), who became a significant influence on his sculptures. Best known for his monumental works and his statuettes and portrait busts depicting traditional Quebec culture, Laliberté was a member of both the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and France’s prestigious Académie des beaux-arts. He taught at the École des beaux-arts de Montréal (now part of the Université du Québec à Montréal) for thirty years.

  • Lamanna, Carmen (Italian/Canadian, 1927–1991)

    Gallerist in Toronto who opened the pivotal Carmen Lamanna Gallery in 1966. An Italian émigré, Lamanna was a central fixture in the Canadian art scene and represented key artists including General Idea, Ron Martin, Ian Carr-Harris, Paterson Ewen, and Joanne Tod.

  • Lamb, Henry (British, 1886–1963)

    Known primarily as a portrait painter, Lamb was a medical officer during the First World War and he worked as an official British war artist during both the First World War and the Second World War. His portrait of English biographer Lytton Strachey, 1914, is one of his best-known paintings and represents the Post-Impressionist style said to characterize his career.

  • Lambert, Beverley (a.k.a. Bev Kelly) (Canadian, b. 1943)

    The only woman included in the Heart of London exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, in 1968. Originally from Saskatchewan, she moved to London, Ontario, while her husband at the time, Alex Kelly, pursued his doctorate at Western University. She exhibited with the London Regionalists until her return to Regina, where she continued to create and show her art. More recently she has worked as a conservator in Newfoundland.

  • Lambeth, Michel (Canadian, 1923–1977)

    A prominent Canadian photojournalist of the mid-twentieth century, Lambeth studied fine art in London and Paris before committing to a career in photography. Throughout the 1960s his work was published in Life, Maclean’s, Saturday Night, Star Weekly, and Time. It is known to convey a deep concern for social issues and interest in urban street life.

  • land art

    Site-specific artworks set in nature and the landscape, using organic materials. Sometimes known as “earth art” or “earthworks,” land art emerged in the 1960s out of the wider conceptual art movement and was mainly based in the United States. The genre embraced temporality, natural erosion, the environmental movement, and the rejection of commodification and the conventional gallery. Major proponents include Robert Smithson, Richard Long, and Ana Mendieta.

  • landscape painting

    The representation of natural scenery, including rivers, mountains, forests, and fields, landscape painting emerged as a genre in Chinese art in the fourth century. In Europe, landscapes began as background elements in portraits or other figurative paintings, becoming subjects in their own right around the sixteenth century.

  • LaPalme, Robert (Canadian, 1908–1997)

    A prolific and influential illustrator and political cartoonist published in almost every French language newspaper in Quebec and an outspoken critic of Premier Maurice Duplessis. LaPalme was also a painter and acted as the artistic director of Expo 67 in Montreal, and of Montreal’s metro, where he instituted a program of public art. Three of his own murals are featured in Montreal’s metro system.

  • Larose, Ludger (Canadian, 1868–1915)

    An academic painter trained in the Parisian tradition, Ludger Larose created religious paintings, still lifes, portraits, landscapes, nudes, and scenes of urban life. A free thinker who defied the influence of the clergy by declaring himself an atheist, his work mixed traditional expression and modern thought.

  • Lasserre, Maskull (Canadian, b.1978)

    A Montreal-based artist working predominantly in sculpture, Lasserre first participated in the Canadian Forces Artists Program (CFAP) in 2005, producing several drawings aboard HMCS Calgary. In March 2010, Lasserre participated in CFAP for a second time, travelling to an active combat zone in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

  • Last Supper

    According to Christian belief, the final meal that Jesus shared with his apostles before his crucifixion. The Last Supper is a popular subject in Christian religious and folk art.

  • Last Supper, The

    A mural painting by Leonardo da Vinci depicting Jesus’s last supper, with his apostles, as described in the Gospel of John. Dating from 1495–98 and measuring 460 by 880 centimetres, The Last Supper covers a wall in part of the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.

  • Lavalley, Sarah (Anishinābe, 1895–1991)

    An Anishinābe artist and nurse from Pikwàkanagàn First Nation in Ontario. Lavalley learned traditional craftwork and beadwork techniques from her mother and mother-in-law and became recognized for her skillfully made moccasins, mittens, and hide clothing. She was named a member of the Order of Canada in 1981.

  • Le Jeune, Paul (French, 1591–1664)

    An indefatigable Jesuit priest regarded as a founder of the Jesuit missions in Canada. He spent ten years on missions in New France, and over ten more in France, as an administrator of Canadian missionary activities. He was the first editor of the Relations des Jésuites de la Nouvelle-France (1632–1673), an important tool of missionary propaganda and, later, source of Canadian history.

  • Le Moyne, Suzanne Rivard (Canadian, 1928–2012)

    A painter, educator, and fine arts advocate in Canada from the 1960s to the 1980s. Le Moyne was head of visual arts at both the Canada Council for the Arts and the University of Ottawa; in 1972 she established the Canada Council Art Bank, now the country’s largest collection of contemporary art.

  • Lebrun, Rico (Italian/American, 1900–1964)

    A commercial artist, painter, sculptor, and muralist. The human form inspired his work. He took as a central theme the human predicament. A popular and influential instructor of art and illustration, his Crucifixion series of abstracted figures is perhaps his best-known work.

  • Leduc, Fernand (Canadian, 1916–2014)

    A painter and member of the Montreal-based Automatistes. Leduc’s earlier paintings evince his interest in Surrealism and automatism; later he began to work in a more formalist mode and then in a hard-edge style, which linked him to the Plasticien movement.

  • Leduc, Ozias (Canadian, 1864–1955)

    A painter and church muralist whose work conveys a sense of intimacy and tranquility. Leduc’s religious paintings—which decorate chapels in Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New England—combine devotional iconography with a Symbolist use of light and colour. Leduc is also known as a painter of still lifes and landscapes. (See Ozias Leduc: Life & Work by Laurier Lacroix.)

  • Lee Nam (Chinese/Canadian, n.d., flourished c. 1930s)

    An immigrant from China, Lee Nam was employed as a bookkeeper by a Chinese merchant in Victoria, British Columbia. He practised the traditional art of Chinese brush painting. During 1933–35 he was an inspiration to Emily Carr, who left an account of his work in her journals, published as Hundreds and Thousands: The Journals of Emily Carr (1966). As yet no surviving works by Lee Nam have been located.

  • Lee-Nova, Gary (Canadian, b. 1943)

    Lee-Nova first gained recognition for his hard-edge paintings, but in the late 1960s became a key figure in Vancouver’s growing mail art and performance art movements. He was actively involved in Michael Morris and Vincent Trasov’s Image Bank project, and often worked under the pseudonyms Art Rat and Artimus Rat.

  • Lefebvre, Jules-Joseph (French, 1836–1911)

    Known for his portraits and his paintings of the female nude, Lefebvre was an established and successful painter in late nineteenth-century Paris. He exhibited regularly at the Salon and taught at the Académie Julian. As a professor, he encouraged his students to create life drawings with as much accuracy as possible. 

  • Légaré, Joseph (Canadian, 1795–1855)

    An important figure in pre-Confederation Canadian art history, whose corpus includes portraits of First Nations peoples and distinctly Canadian landscapes. Légaré was influenced by European romantic and baroque painting, and he collected and restored numerous seventeenth-century canvases from the Continent. He opened Quebec’s first art gallery in 1833.

  • Léger, Fernand (French, 1881–1955)

    A leading figure of the Paris avant-garde, whose ideas about modern art, spread through his writing and teaching as well as his own artistic output, would guide a generation of artists. Prolific in media from paint to ceramics to film, Léger was appreciated for his diverse styles, which ranged from Cubist abstraction in the 1910s to realist imagery in the 1950s.

  • Leighton, Alfred Crocker (British, 1900–1965)

    A British-born artist who made many trips to Canada in the 1920s, where he worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway, creating sketches of the scenic landscapes encountered along the CPR routes. He settled in Calgary in 1929, accepting a position as Art Director at the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art (now known as the Alberta University of the Arts). He co-founded the Alberta Society of Artists in 1931 and later assisted in the formation of the Calgary and Medicine Hat Sketch Clubs.

  • Leiterman, Richard (Canadian, 1935–2005)

    A cinematographer whose technical creativity and sensitive style helped shape the look of English-Canadian film in the formative 1960s and 1970s. Leiterman worked in television and on numerous milestone documentaries and feature films; he was the cinematographer for Joyce Wieland’s 1976 film The Far Shore.

  • Lemieux, Jean Paul (Canadian, 1904–1990)

    A painter of landscapes and figures, who used these forms to express what he saw as the solitariness of human existence. Lemieux taught at the École des beaux-arts in Quebec City (now part of Université Laval) for thirty years, until 1967. He has been the subject of several major retrospectives at Canadian museums. (See Jean Paul Lemieux: Life & Work by Michèle Grandbois.)

  • Lennie, Beatrice (Canadian, 1905–1987)

    A painter, sculptor, theatre designer, cinema art director, and educator trained at the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts (now the Emily Carr University of Art + Design) and the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute). She taught sculpture at the short-lived British Columbia College of Arts in 1934 and, in the 1930s and 1940s, was one of the few women sculptors in Canada. She is known for her semi-abstract paintings and sculptures, which were exhibited across Canada and in the western United States.

  • Leonardo da Vinci (Italian, 1452–1519)

    The patriarch of the Italian High Renaissance and the creator of the Mona Lisa, 1503. Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings, sculptures, and architectural and decorative designs altered ideas of what Western art could be, and his writings influenced the concepts of ideal artistic representation and expression through the modern era.

  • LeRoy, Hugh (Canadian, b.1939)

    A Constructivist sculptor who was born in Montreal and trained at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, School of Art and Design, under Arthur Lismer and Louis Dudek. He was awarded first prize at Perspective ’67, a visual arts competition funded by the Centennial Commission. LeRoy’s large-scale public sculptures are on display in Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa.

  • Letendre, Rita (Canadian, 1928–2021)

    Abstract artist of Abenaki and Québécois descent, associated with the Quebec artist groups Les Automatistes and Les Plasticiens, renowned for her geometric art exploring light, colour, and movement. Working with diverse materials and in evolving avant-garde styles, Letendre’s paintings, murals, and prints brought her national and international acclaim. She received the Order of Canada in 2005 and the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2010.

  • Levasseur, Noël (Canadian, c. 1680–1740)

    The leading wood sculptor of New France. After studying his craft in Saint-Joachim and Montreal, he settled in New France and opened a workshop in 1703. Levasseur specialized in religious furniture; his retable for the chapel of the Ursuline Monastery in Quebec City (1732–1736) is one of the major works in the history of Quebecois sculpture.

  • Levine, Les (Irish/American, b.1935)

    An important figure in twentieth-century Conceptual art, Les Levine’s work addresses questions of consumerism and disposability. Levine is noted particularly for his pioneering use of mass media, including television, radio, billboards, posters, and telephone conversations; he was among the first artists to work with videotape. Born in Dublin, he lived in Canada in the 1960s and early 1970s.

  • Levine, Marilyn (Canadian, 1935–2005)

    Born in Alberta, Levine was one of Canada’s most recognized ceramic artists. Her highly realistic work, which is associated with the Funk art movement, returns to subjects such as leather handbags, briefcases, and clothing. Her sculptures mark the passing of time by intricately recording the aging of leather and removing the presence of the objects’ owners. Her work is held in important public collections in Canada and the United States.

  • Lewis, Glenn (Canadian, b.1935)

    A British Columbia-based artist and educator who has worked in ceramics, photography, performance, and sculpture. An active member of the avant-garde art scene in Vancouver during the 1960s, Lewis curated the Performance Art Program at Western Front, an artist-run centre he co-founded in Vancouver, and taught art and performance at the University of British Columbia. His interdisciplinary work probes the relationship between conventional objects and art.

  • Lewis, Wyndham (British, 1882–1957)

    A painter, writer, and cultural critic, Wyndham Lewis was co-founder of the Vorticist movement, which sought to relate art to the abstract geometric forms of industry. After studying in Paris, Lewis became influenced by Cubism and Expressionism. He was an editor of the journal Blast, which harshly attacked Victorian values in the years just prior to the First World War. He is also known for his writing and controversial support of fascism after the war.

  • LeWitt, Sol (American, 1928–2007)

    A leading conceptual and Minimalist painter who believed that an idea itself could be the artwork and rejected personal expression and inherent narrative. LeWitt’s works, including a series of wall drawings begun in 1968, emphasize geometric forms, clear lines, simplicity, systemization, and repetition. In 1976 LeWitt co-founded Printed Matter, a non-profit organization that publishes and promotes artists’ books.

  • Leyster, Judith (Dutch, 1609–1660)

    Born in Haarlem, where she worked and was a member of Saint Luke’s Guild, Judith Leyster was a Dutch Golden Age painter. Her work is likened to that of Frans Hals, for whose it has been mistaken. Although well known during her life, she fell into obscurity from the late seventeenth to the nineteenth century.

  • Library and Archives Canada

    Located in Ottawa, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is a federal institution responsible for the collection and preservation of the nation’s documentary heritage. Previously two separate entities—the National Archives of Canada and the National Library of Canada—in 2004 the institutions were combined. The LAC holds more than 19 million books, 21 million photographs, and 350,000 works of art and is the world’s fifth largest library.

  • Lichtenstein, Roy (American, 1923–1997)

    A significant American Pop artist known for appropriating the forms of comic books. His large-scale paintings enlarge the motifs of his source material, highlighting their artificiality and the compositional rules that govern their appearance. In the 1960s Lichtenstein began to work with offset lithography, the medium of commercial printing.

  • Liebermann, Max (German, 1847–1935)

    The son of a Jewish textile manufacturer in Berlin, Max Liebermann became a leading German Impressionist painter. Associated with the French Barbizon school, he depicted the working lives of poor and working-class people, retaining an interest in narrative throughout his career that stands in contrast to the trajectory of the French Impressionists. A founder of the anti-academic Berliner Sezession in 1899, Liebermann served as the president of the Prussian Academy of Arts at Berlin from 1920 to 1932, when he was forced to resign by the Nazis.

  • Lindner, Ernest (Austrian/Canadian, 1897–1988)

    An expert printmaker, watercolourist, and draftsman, who found his preferred subjects in the forests of Saskatchewan, where he moved upon emigrating from Austria in 1926. His later pictures often blended human and plant forms. His work is held in major museums across Canada, including the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.

  • linear perspective

    A visual strategy for depicting three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface, linear perspective uses lines converging on a vanishing point or series of vanishing points to create an illusion of depth on a flat surface. One-, two-, and three-point perspective are different forms of linear perspective.

  • Linklater, Duane (Cree, b.1976)

    Linklater is a multidisciplinary Omaskêko Ininiwak (Cree) artist based in North Bay, Ontario. He holds an MFA from Bard College. His work examines and challenges the way museums and other institutions have represented and excluded Indigenous peoples and culture. He has exhibited internationally, including in collaboration with Brian Jungen at dOCUMENTA 13 in Kassel, Germany. He was the 2013 recipient of the Sobey Art Award.

  • Linnaeus, Carl (Swedish, 1707–1778)

    One of the most important figures in modern science, who developed the concept and practice of taxonomy, or the ordering of living things. His system for naming and classifying organisms, though much revised, has been in use for over two hundred years. His work has been studied by all naturalists from his own time to the present.

  • linocut

    A printmaking technique in which the image is relief-carved into a linoleum block using various sharp tools, such as chisels, gouges, and knives. The final print is created by applying ink to the block and pressing the inked block onto another surface, by hand or with a printing press.

  • Lionni, Leo (Dutch/Italian, 1910–1999)

    Influenced by Futurism and the Bauhaus, Lionni was a painter and sculptor who also worked as a commercial artist in advertising and magazine publishing (notably for Fortune, Time-Life, and Sports Illustrated). He began writing and illustrating children’s books in 1959.

  • Lippard, Lucy (American, b. 1937)

    An influential writer, art critic, activist, curator, and early supporter of feminist art, Lippard was instrumental in the public’s understanding of conceptual art and dematerialization, through publications and the organization of major exhibitions, including the 1969 show 557,087 at the Seattle Art Museum. Lippard co-founded the Art Workers’ Coalition, which advocated for better artist compensation and living conditions.

  • Lismer, Arthur (British/Canadian, 1885–1969)

    A landscape painter and founding member of the Group of Seven, Lismer immigrated to Canada from England in 1911. He was also an influential educator of adults and children, and he created children’s art schools at both the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto (1933) and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1946).

  • Lissitzky, El (Russian, 1890–1941) 

    A pioneer of early twentieth-century nonrepresentational art, Russian artist El Lissitzky is associated with Suprematism and Constructivism. His paintings and poster designs often combine the basic geometric shapes and limited colour palette of Suprematist art with typography. An influential figure in the field of graphic design, Lissitzky is recognized for his innovative contributions to typography, advertising, and exhibition design.

  • lithograph

    A type of print invented in 1798 in Germany by Aloys Senefelder. Like other planographic methods of image reproduction, lithography relies on the fact that grease and water do not mix. Placed in a press, the moistened and inked lithographic stone will print only those areas previously designed with greasy lithographic ink.

  • local colour

    Local colour describes the colour of an object as it appears naturally, in typical daylight without modification or distortions by highlights and shadows. It is also known as “realistic colour” or the colour the brain perceives in the object. For example, the local colour of a lime is green.

  • Lochhead, Kenneth (Canadian, 1926–2006)

    Although Lochhead’s career spanned numerous styles, he is perhaps best known for his colour-field paintings of the 1960s and 1970s. Directly inspired by Barnett Newman and the critic Clement Greenberg, he was instrumental in bringing the principles of modernist abstract painting to Regina, where he was director of the University of Saskatchewan’s School of Art.

  • Lockerby, Mabel (Canadian, 1882–1976)

    A member of the Beaver Hall Group, the Canadian Group of Painters, and the Contemporary Arts Society. Lockerby’s modernist paintings are defined by a strong sense of design. Her work is held at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the Montreal Museum of Fine Art; and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.

  • Loeb, Pierre (French, 1897–1964)

    The founder of the influential Galerie Pierre, Loeb promoted the work of upcoming modern artists. Born into a culturally inclined Parisian-Jewish family, Loeb opened his gallery in 1924, showing Surrealist and Cubist painters such as Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró. Forced to close it with the Nazi occupation of France in 1940, Loeb spent the Second World War in Cuba with his family. After the war he returned to Paris and reopened the gallery, focusing on younger artists working in the city until he closed in 1964, shortly before his death.

  • London Regionalism

    From the 1960s to the early 1990s, the arts community in London, Ontario, was exceptionally productive and dynamic, centred on the artists Greg Curnoe and Jack Chambers. Like-minded local artists, writers, and musicians rejected the notion of the metropolis as the necessary location and subject of artistic production, preferring to look for inspiration in their own lives and region.

  • Long, Marion (Canadian, 1882–1970)

    A portrait painter commissioned to depict many high-ranking Canadian and military figures, Long studied with George Reid at the Ontario College of Art and William Merritt Chase at the Art Students League in New York. In 1933, she became the first woman to be elected as a full member to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts since Lady Charlotte Schreiber in 1880.

  • Longfish, George C. (Seneca, Tuscarora, b. 1942)

    A painter and sculptor influenced by Native American activism and modernist abstraction. Longfish’s use of bold colours and text examines the idea of the “soul theft” of Native Americans and explores the path to re-owning one’s spirituality, addressing the loss of information that Indigenous peoples need to spiritually, culturally, and physically thrive. Longfish was a professor of Native American Studies at the University of California, Davis, for over thirty years and Director at the C.N. Gorman Museum from 1974 to 1996.

  • Loring, Frances (Canadian, 1887–1968)

    A prominent figure in establishing Canadian sculpture and the style of national public monuments. Loring and fellow sculptor Florence Wyle, her lifelong partner, were the first women in Canada widely recognized for sculpture. Loring designed and modelled the Queen Elizabeth Way Monument in Toronto and the statue of Robert Borden in Ottawa. A passionate arts advocate, she helped found the Sculptors Society of Canada and organize what would become the Canada Council for the Arts.

  • Lorrain, Claude (French, c. 1604–1682)

    A painter, printmaker, draftsman, and master of the landscape—a genre that did not exist as such in his day. Lorrain employed a limited palette of colours to achieve remarkable atmospheric effects, and his study of light falling on natural environments, evident in both his paintings and prints, was unique for his time.

  • lost-wax process (cire perdue)

    Lost-wax process is a metal-casting technique in which a mould is formed around a wax model, which is then melted away to leave a space into which molten metal is poured. The process can either involve a solid wax model or a wax shell that is used to create a hollow metal sculpture. The lost-wax process has been used to cast metal for approximately six thousand years.

  • Lotto, Lorenzo (Italian, 1480–1556)

    Renaissance painter of portraits and religious subjects steeped in mysticism. Lotto was influenced by Titian, Raphael, and Northern European artists like Hans Holbein the Younger. He was interested in realistic portrayal that also conveyed heightened emotion and divine devotion. Near the end of his life, Lotto settled in a monastery. He is one of the best-documented artists of his time because of his own detailed records.

  • Louis, Morris (American, 1912–1962)

    A painter perhaps best known for the series of stained canvases he made in the 1950s after seeing the work of Helen Frankenthaler. Along with fellow Washington artist Kenneth Noland, he became a major exponent of colour-field painting, the stylistic successor to Abstract Expressionism, which the critic Clement Greenberg would champion as Post-Painterly Abstraction.

  • Lower Canada

    From 1791 to 1840, part of present-day Quebec was a British colony known as Lower Canada. In 1841 Lower Canada was renamed Canada East when the Province of Canada was formed. It would become Quebec following Canadian Confederation in 1867.

  • Lozano-Hemmer, Rafael (Canadian/Mexican, b. 1967)

    A new-media and installation artist internationally recognized for his large-scale interactive public projects based on platforms of technology. Lozano-Hemmer often uses robotics, computerized surveillance, projections, cell phone and sound technology, and ultrasonic sensors to create user-activated experiences and to foster a sense of community in urban settings. In 1994, he coined the term “relational architecture” to describe his works.


  • Luke, Alexandra (Canadian, 1901–1967)

    An Abstract Expressionist who trained under Jock Macdonald and Hans Hofmann, Alexandra Luke organized the Canadian Abstract Exhibition in 1952, which led to the formation, in 1953, of the group Painters Eleven. Known as a colourist, Luke showed as a member of Painters Eleven until the group disbanded in 1960.

  • Lum, Ken (Canadian, b.1956)

    A Vancouver-born, Philadelphia-based artist internationally recognized for his conceptual and often wry work in photography, sculpture, and installation. Known for his diptychs that pair photographic portraits with pithy quotes, Lum has created numerous series that probe contemporary concerns relating to gender, race, and class. Associated since the 1980s with the Vancouver School of photo-conceptualism, he is currently Chair of Fine Arts at the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Luminism

    In the mid-twentieth century, critics began to use the term “Luminism” to describe a style of American landscape art that grew out of the Hudson River School some hundred years earlier. Like the Impressionists, American Luminists were interested in representing effects of light, but in contrast to their French counterparts, their paintings are highly detailed and their brushstrokes hidden. Key figures in this group include Frederic Edwin Church, Albert Bierstadt, John Frederick Kensett, and Fitz Henry Lane.

  • Luna, James (Payómkawichum/Ipai/Mexican American Indian, 1950–2018)

    A Native American conceptual performance and installation artist known for his modes of using his body to critique institutions. In The Artifact Piece, Luna lay with personal objects inside a glass vitrine in a museum and presented himself as an artifact. Luna’s provocation and humour aim to confront the audience with the biases of cultural institutions and the dominant culture. In 2005 he was sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution to appear in the Venice Biennale.

  • Lustig, Alvin (American, 1915–1955)

    Known for his work in graphic design, book design, and typeface design, Lustig is celebrated for introducing the principles of modern art into graphic design, including experimenting with abstract geometry. Later in his career, Lustig was involved in interior design and product design as well, and he developed courses for the design departments at Black Mountain College and Yale.

  • Lyall, Laura Muntz (Canadian, 1860–1930)

    A painter specializing in evocative portraits of motherhood and childhood, Lyall was one of the first women artists in Canada to receive international attention. She trained with J.W.L. Forster in Hamilton and at the Académie Colarossi in Paris. Lyall’s works convey intimate and sympathetic family scenes with a rich sense of colour and light.

  • Lyman, John (Canadian, 1886–1967)

    A painter and art critic. Founder of the Contemporary Arts Society and a champion of Canadian artistic culture, Lyman established the short-lived art school The Atelier and wrote for the Montrealer. In opposition to perspectives invested in a distinctly Canadian painting style, Lyman advocated for an international approach.

  • Lynn, Washington Frank (British, 1827–1906)

    A British-born artist and journalist who served as a reporter during the American Civil War, Lynn also promoted British emigration to Canada in his writings. In 1872 he immigrated to Manitoba and became the editor of the Manitoban daily newspaper. Lynn had studied at the Royal Academy of Arts in England. While in Canada he painted traditional portraits and landscapes of the prairies in watercolour and oils. Examples of his work can be found in the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

  • Lyrical Abstraction

    A style of abstract art that arose within the larger movement of Art Informel, itself known as the European complement of American Abstract Expressionism. Art Informel paintings typically drew inspiration from the natural world; they were less rigid and more expressive than geometric abstraction, which was dominant at the time.

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