James Wilson Morrice was born in 1865 in Québec. He studied law in Toronto. Then in the early 1890’s, he moved to Paris and studied at the Académie Julian, under the Barbizon painter Henri Harpignies.
Morrice would also travel extensively, at one point with Henri Matisse, visiting North Africa, the West Indies, Cuba, Morocco, and Venice, among other places. He would often make frequent trips home to Québec, Ontario, Canada.
Morrice created landscape paintings, he is often credited as one of Canada’s first modernist painters. He was commissioned to paint the front lines during World War Two by the Canadian War Records. During this time he created many portraits.
Morrice exhibited regularly at the Salon d’Automne in Paris, and at the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers in London. He was the first Canadian painter to have his work exhibited in the Venice Biennale in 1903. He was a member of The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.
Morrice died in 1924.