Untitled, c. 1968
Lawren S. Harris
oil on canvas
117 x 165.5 x 4 cm
Gift of Lawren P. Harris and Family, Ottawa, 1988
National Gallery of Canada (no. 30032)
© family of Lawren S. Harris
In 1923 Lawren Harris joined the Toronto Theosophical Society. He became committed to this spiritual movement, a combination of Western philosophy and Eastern mysticism. Theosophy maintained a doctrine of symbolic colour, whereby the different strata of human consciousness corresponded to various groupings of colour. Equally important, however, was the "thought-form," in which the process of thinking would emanate a radiating vibration that, while analogous with colour and form, also allowed for communication on a spiritual plane. This painting from 1951 seems to be an embodiment of a thought-form, with no direct landscape reference, only oscillating waves of colour.