(March 7, 1903 – July 30, 1970)
Maud Lewis was a 20th-century Canadian folk artist. With a focus on subjects in nature and ordinary life and a folk style of painting, she became one of the best-known artists in Canadian history.
Born in rural Nova Scotia in 1903, Lewis suffered from a series of birth defects that left her fingers painfully deformed, her shoulders hunched and her chin pressed into her chest. She spent most of her adult life as a virtual recluse in a cramped one-room house that had no running water or electricity. For more than three decades, the diminutive Lewis eked out a living rendering colorful oil paintings on the most primitive of surfaces — including particleboard, cardboard and wallpaper — which she sold for a few dollars each. Her miserly husband, Everett, often squirrelled away her slim profits, hiding the cash under the floorboards or in jars buried in the garden. At the age of 67, Lewis — who had suffered lung damage due to constant exposure to paint fumes and wood smoke — contracted pneumonia and died in hospital. She was buried in a child's coffin and laid to rest in a pauper's grave.