Nova Scotia

Long-lost Maud Lewis prints on display in Stewiacke

An artist-run gallery in Stewiacke, N.S., has bought several hand-cut, silk-screened prints of Maud Lewis's paintings created by art promoter Willard Ferguson.

Silk-screened prints, once abandoned in attic, drive traffic to artist-run gallery

Winding River Art Gallery in Stewiacke, N.S., bought about 20 vintage silk-screened prints of Maud Lewis's paintings. (Submitted by Colette Samson )

An artist-run gallery in Stewiacke, N.S., is getting in on Maud Lewis's renewed celebrity.

The Winding River Art Gallery has about 20 hand-cut, silk-screened prints on display. They're not original paintings, but rather versions of the famous folk artist's work created by art promoter Willard Ferguson when Lewis was alive. 

Maud Lewis's Whimsical Buck and Doe was made into a print by Willard Ferguson as a way to promote Lewis's art. (Submitted by Colette Samson )

Ferguson owned the copyright to Lewis's work and eventually gave the prints to a friend, who stored them in his attic. Last fall, the man, who wishes to remain anonymous, dusted them off and brought them into the space.

The gallery doesn't typically buy art, but "in this case, it piqued our interest," said Colette Samson, an artist and member of the gallery. 

"Of course, it was very exciting to find out they were Maud Lewis prints."

They sell for $1,200 to $1,300, nowhere near the $45,000 the painting found in an Ontario thrift store sold for earlier this year. Still, Samson said it's driving more people to the gallery.

The prints cost between $1,200 and $1,300. (Submitted by Colette Samson )

"Oh my gracious, this is so exciting," she said. "We've had so many visitors to our gallery since the movie came out especially."

There are still prints for sale at the gallery, and Samson said they'll also keep some for a permanent display.

The pieces are driving more traffic to the gallery, which shows the work of over 30 local artists. (Submitted by Colette Samson )

With files from CBC's Information Morning