Painting Niagara-on-the-Lake: Betty Lane

Unique views of the town from the 1940s.

By Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum

Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum

Walker and Dog and Fort Niagara by Betty Lane (1907-1996)Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum


This presentation follows up on a physical exhibit that showcased the works of Betty Lane — who painted the town, most notably the waterfront, in her unique simplified style in the 1940s and 1950s. 

Steamer Dock with Black Dog by Betty Lane (1907-1996)Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum

Betty Lane (1907 – 1996) was an American artist who lived in the US, Europe and Canada.

As a child, Betty was encouraged by her parents to pursue her artistic skills. She studied in Paris at the age of 21 and was recognized early on for her talent. She was funded by millionaire art patron Duncan Phillips, and it was in his gallery in Washington DC where famed artist Henri Matisse took notice of her work. In particular, he remarked on one titled “The Walls”.

Fort George by Betty Lane (1907-1996)Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum

Niagara Steamer Dock by Betty Lane (1907-1996)Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum

Winter Boat Yard, Niagara by Betty Lane (1907-1996)Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum

Betty moved to Niagara-on-the-Lake in the 1940s with her husband, Gerald Noxon, and son, Nicolas. The family lived in the William Kirby home at 130 Front Street. Her son recalled exploring the countryside together and, at one time, seeing German prisoners of war who were used as labourers.

Men in Truck by Betty Lane (1907-1996)Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum

Sketch of Field Drugs by Betty Lane (1907-1996)Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum

Steamer with Red Banners by Betty Lane (1907-1996)Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum

Sketch of House with Old Car Near Harbour by Betty Lane (1907-1996)Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum

The painter was inspired by the raw beauty of Niagara-on-the-Lake and the countryside, creating and selling many scenes of the Forts, the lake and the community.

Virgil by Betty Lane (1907-1996)Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum

Boathouses and Lighthouse by Betty Lane (1907-1996)Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum

Tree Stump and Fort Niagara by Betty Lane (1907-1996)Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum

Betty Lane lived in Niagara-on-the-Lake from 1939 to 1946. She eventually moved to Cape Cod where she spent the rest of her life as a painter and musician.

In 2014, the artist's son donated 16 of her works to the Niagara Historical Society & Museum.

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