Louis Grier (1864-1920) was an Australian artist. He became famous as a marine and landscape artist and exhibited at the Royal Academy and the Suffolk Street Galleries from 1888, winning a medal for ‘The Night Watch’ in the Paris Salon in 1891. His work was strongly influenced by Whistler and French Impressionism, and his freedom of style attracted both admiring students and some distaste amongst the more formal painters.
Grier first visited St Ives in 1884, and his painting ‘Seine Boats at Porthminster Beach, St Ives, Godrevy and Newquay in the background’ (1886), places him in the town that year. In 1889 Grier and Julius Olsson opened a school for Landscape and Marine Painting in St Ives, with the idea of teaching students out of door effects or en plein air, which had been adopted by the early French Impressionists.
Grier and Olsson’s painting school was based at Porthmeor Studios for at least part of its existence, operating out of a vast studio which was subsequently divided up to form Studios 5, 6 and 7. Grier then set up a school in his studio called The Foc’sle, situated on the wharf overlooking St Ives Harbour where the Amusement arcade now stands. He was also a founder member of The St Ives Arts Club, playing an active role for over 30 years.
Text: Ben Crack