Maud Lewis (1901 – 1970)

Maud Lewis

In her lifetime most Maud Lewis paintings sold for as little as two dollars and as much as 10 dollars from the tiny cabin she called home in Marshalltown, Nova Scotia. In her final years and since her death Lewis has become an icon of the so-called folk art movement, internationally renowned for her colourful, playful depictions of rural life. 

Described as a shy person with a charming smile, Maud’s cheerful art stands in contrast to the many challenges she experienced. Historians and filmmakers note the impacts of poverty, health issues like painful rheumatoid arthritis, and poor treatment from some of her loved ones.

Born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Maud’s career as an artist began as a child when her mother started her painting Christmas cards. After her parents died Maud moved to Digby to live with her aunt and met her husband, Everett Lewis. After they married she brought in money through her paintings. She gathered what materials she could and proceeded to cover almost every surface of their one-bedroom home with flowers, birds and butterflies.

In 1984, the province of Nova Scotia purchased Maud and Everett’s home as a valued landmark and turned it over to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia where it is preserved. In 2020, Canada Post honoured Maud Lewis with three festive scenes from her paintings for its holiday season stamps.

“As long as I’ve got a brush in front of me, I’m alright.”

Page details

Date modified: