Maud Lewis (1903-1970) had no formal training in the visual arts. Like many folk artists, she painted for the joy of adding colour, light and fun to a poverty stricken rural existence. She spent her entire life in and around Digby and Yarmouth counties. In her early thirties, Maud Dowley married Everett Lewis, a poor fish peddler. They began selling Maud’s paintings on their trips throughout the countryside. As Maud’s health deteriorated, she rarely ventured outside her tiny home.
From her small world came a proliferation of paintings depicting a charming rural life full of flowers, cats, sleigh rides, deer, and teams of curly-lashed oxen. Maud painted: boards, rocks, scallop shells and household objects with whatever paints came her way, often marine paints from local fishing boats.
Perhaps Maud’s greatest work was her home. She painted almost every surface of the interior including the stove, windows and the door. Maud Lewis’ house rapidly deteriorated following the death of her husband in 1979. In 1984 the Province of Nova Scotia acquired the home for the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Since its restoration, the house has been on permanent public display in the Scotiabank Maud Lewis Gallery in the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.