Born on 27 June 1885 in Sheffield, England, Arthur Lismer pursued the arts from a young age. At 13, he was apprenticed as a photo engraver, and won a scholarship to study art at the Sheffield School of art, where he studied from 1898 to 1905. In 1905, Arthur Lismer moved to Antwerp, Belgium and continued to expand his artistic skill at the Académie Royale, and became acquainted with the modern art movements changing the face of European art at the time.
Arthur Lismer immigrated to Canada in 1911 and settled in Toronto, working at Grip Ltd alongside J.E.H. MacDonald, Franklin Carmicheal, Frederick Varley, Frank Johnston and Tom Thomson, forming the friendships and artistic collaboration that would become the Group of Seven. Lismer’s style became increasingly expressionist as he worked alongside with other members of the Group of Seven to create a Canadian style of landscape painting, distinct from his European training. Arthur Lismer was renowned as an art educator, creating children’s art programs in Toronto and Montreal, and travelling around the world to spread his ideas.
His painting and work in education took him across Canada, from working as a war artist in Halifax to spending the summers from 1951 to 1968 at Long Beach. Lismer explored the rich undergrowth and expansive seashore of the West Coast until his death in 1969. He is buried on the McMichael Gallery Grounds alongside other members of the Group of Seven.