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Lawren Stewart Harris
L'automne 2010 - 2e séance Vente en salle

Lot # 157

Lawren Stewart Harris
ALC BCSFA CGP FCA G7 OSA RPS TPG 1885 - 1970 Canadian

Mountain Sketch XXXVIII
oil on board circa 1924 ~ 1929
signed and on verso signed, titled on the artist's label, inscribed in graphite with the Doris Mills Inventory #7/38 and stamped Dominion Gallery, Montreal on the frame
12 x 15 pouces  30.5 x 38.1cm

Acquired directly from the Artist, February 3, 1947 for $75
Estate of Theodosia Dawes Bond Thornton, Montreal

Lawren Harris, Personal Papers, National Archives of Canada, MG 30 D 208, Volume 2, unpaginated
Doris Mills, L.S. Harris Inventory, 1936, listed, location noted as the Studio Building, a drawing of this work illustrated by Mills page 35
Theodosia Dawes Bond Thornton, Personal Art Collection Catalogue, reproduced, unpaginated, catalogue #R5

Dominion Gallery, Montreal

In the years that Lawren Harris was sketching in the Canadian Rockies, he would have visited the Lake Louise region several times. Mount Temple is the landmark peak there, crowned with its distinctive glacier; the towering, triangular form is the centerpiece from many vantage points in the area. Here, Temple sits like a bookend on the left side of the valley, with Mount Fairview on the right hand side of the sketch. Just prior to his first visit to the Rockies, Harris had been immersed in the landscape of the North Shore of Lake Superior. What a contrast it must have been for him, with images of a scraped, barren Canadian Shield land in his mind as well as Algoma and the riotous colour of eastern Canadian autumn so recently as his subjects, to visit the Rockies, with their soaring form and limited blue, green, white and brown colour scheme. Almost immediately the Rockies would dominate his work as a subject, and his fascination with them is found in the painterly evidence he has left us: sketchbooks filled with drawings, oil studies such as this, and masterwork studio canvases that grace public and private collections from coast to coast. Mount Temple in particular captured Harris’s imagination, and the distinctive peak is the subject of several important works.

Harris would have arrived at Lake Louise by train, then explored the surrounding area on foot. It is interesting to note that the rail tracks continue westward from Lake Louise to Wapta Lake, the jumping off point for Lake O’Hara, and then further west over the Rockies to Vancouver. He would not have had access to this view from the train tracks. As well, the region visible from today’s Columbia Icefields Parkway (the road from Lake Louise to Jasper) would have been some distance away and challenging to reach through the forest, as the road was not built until 1931. To attain the vantage point in this work, Harris would have gone either by horse or on foot to the Pipestone region just northeast of Lake Louise itself. There, one can climb the lower hills to look back towards Temple and Fairview, as we see here. Harris was a robust hiker – his works are proof of this strength and indicate that he was unafraid of leaving the trail to survey a scene from a high alpine location. Harris is at a fairly high elevation here, looking out towards the two mountains that sit somewhat below him across a small lake. He looks out on the scene from a low mound of brown earth, edged with the weathered remains of a fallen tree. Fallen trees and mounds such as this appear often in Harris’s mountain works. They are stylistic devices that serve to ground the work and to anchor it in our personal space as we look at it. These little plateaus have the ability to draw us into the work, giving us a place to stand and survey the scene. Harris was an absolute master at doing this, sometimes so subtly that we are almost unaware of what is happening. By welcoming us in this way, he takes us into his vision of the scene, into his personal translation of the actual scenery in such a way that we are silent participants in the painting. It is a powerful technique, through which Harris felt that he could fulfill his obligation as an artist, which for him was far more than the act of painting – it was an obligation of the highest order to, as he stated, “perceive within and behind [Nature’s] many garments, that which is timeless and entirely beautiful.” He was bound by artistic duty to convey his higher understanding of nature to us, and in works such as Mountain Sketch XXXVIII, we are pupils standing on our small section of mounded earth, while he is the teacher, showing us the spiritual beauty of the world.

Estimation: 250,000 $ ~ 350,000 $ CAN

S'est vendu pour: 257,400.00 $ CAN (prime d'achat incluse)

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