Oxen in Winter

More Works By Maud Lewis Oil on Beaverboard 1966
11.75 × 13.75 in 29.85 × 34.93 cm
14.75 × 16.75 in 37.47 × 42.55 cm
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About Oxen in Winter

Nova Scotia’s beloved folk artist, Maud Lewis often depicted oxen in her charming oil paintings. Here, two harnessed oxen face the viewer, standing side by side, their horns adorned with decorative rope, a bell hanging from their necks. Set against a wintry snow-covered landscape, framed by green fir trees, the bright red of the harness and yellow bells pop from the canvas. Loggers used oxen to haul felled trees out of the forest. This piece is signed on the lower right and inscribed on the reverse; “Hand painting by ‘Maud Lewis’ of Marshalltown, Digby County, Nova Scotia August 1966” in ink.

Lewis was a prolific painter whose cheerful, brightly coloured paintings belied a hard life of poverty and poor health including crippling arthritis. Using the leftover paint local fishermen used for their boats, Lewis painted on whatever surface she could find including shells, dustpans, and even her tiny wood-framed house.

“I imagine and paint from memory. I don’t copy much…just have to guess my work up.” Maud Lewis

The house Maud Lewis shared with her husband was restored and is on permanent exhibit at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Her artwork is held there and in the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Maud Lewis is the subject of several biographies and two National Film Board of Canada documentaries. In 2017, a biopic of Maud's life titled "Maudie" was released starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke.