Joe Norris (1924-1996) is described as "the Dean of Nova Scotia folk painters" and "the Matisse of folk art". Joe spent most of his life in the small hamlet of Lower Prospect, Nova Scotia. After working in the fishing and construction trades, Joe Norris started painting when a severe heart attack forced him into early retirement in 1972. By 1975, when he was "discovered" by antique dealer Chris Huntington, he was selling paintings to local people and to the occasional tourist.
Joe's work includes painted chairs, tables and chests as well as paintings, and is found in the collections of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of History, and in many corporate and private art collections throughout North America. A hardcover book, Joe Norris - Painted Visions of Nova Scotia, was published in 2000, in conjunction with a retrospective of his work which toured Canada between November, 2000 and March, 2003.
Ref: Marie Ellwood, Folk Art of Nova Scotia (1976); Canadian Centre for Folk Culture Studies, From the Heart - Folk Art in Canada (1983); Kobayashi/Bird, A Compendium of Canadian Folk Artists (1985); A.G.N.S., Nova Scotia Folk Art - Canada's Cultural Heritage (1989); Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, A Life of Its Own (1997); Blake McKendry, An Illustrated Companion to Canadian Folk Art (1999) Bernard Riordon, Joe Norris: Painted Visions of Nova Scotia (2000), Bernard Riordon (Beaverbrook Gallery), Canadian Folk Art from the Collection of Susan A. Murray (2007).