~ “It is a miracle that I have ever painted at all.”
Evern "Earl" Bailly (1903 – 1977) brought attention to Lunenburg during his lifetime with his lifelong artistic accomplishments, and his engaging personality.
Stricken with polio at the age of two, he lost the use of his arms and legs. His mother, a school teacher, taught Earl to hold a pencil in his mouth and write. Spurred by an unquenchable love of the sea, nature,
and the fishing life of his community, he learned to paint with a brush clenched in his teeth, developing a remarkable talent for painting. He also mastered linoleum block prints.
He became most famous for his oil paintings. His wheelchair was fitted with a table and brush rack to enable him to work in this medium. When he began, oil paints were not available locally, they had to be ordered from Montreal. His brother, Don, assisted by travelling with him and squeezing the paint out of the tubes, although Earl mixed the paint himself. A special electric easel allowed Earl to work on large canvases in his home studio.
Earl developed a highly refined sense of colour and composition, becoming well-read in art theory and practice. Earl’s international reputation grew; in 1933 he was a guest at the Chicago World’s Fair- traveling there with his brother Don aboard the schooner Bluenose.
He travelled to major cities in Canada, the U.S. and Bermuda, achieving recognition at galleries for the quality of his Maritime scenes.
Thanks to generous collector-donors, the Lunenburg Art Gallery Society owns, or co-owns with the Town of Lunenburg, over a hundred Earl Bailly paintings. These have been displayed informally in Lunenburg’s Town Hall, the Art Gallery, and the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic for many years.
Now, work has begun to promote this amazing body of work – and its creator – to the world. A new Earl Bailly display has been created in the Lunenburg Art Gallery, featuring a rotation of his artwork and interesting artifacts. Further plans are underway to display the Earl Bailly Collection in an exciting presentation. Financial and human resources will be needed to see this to fruition; we welcome all inquiries. We’re excited to share the Earl Bailly story in print and other media.
The Town is proud of this “Son of Lunenburg”, and the Lunenburg Art Gallery Society is honoured to share the life and work of this remarkable artist to the world.
“…my life has been rather rich and full… Trials will still go on,
and must I still strive for better results in my paintings…” ~ E.B.