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John William (J.W.) Beatty
Printemps 2015 - 2e séance Vente en salle

Lot # 143

John William (J.W.) Beatty
OSA RCA 1869 - 1941 Canadian

Winter Break-Up, Algonquin Park
oil on canvas
signed and dated 1928
28 x 36 pouces  71.1 x 91.4cm

Georges Loranger, Toronto

Winter Break-Up, Algonquin Park is a serene masterwork. The brilliant palette, sparkling light and the glowing, building clouds show us J.W. Beatty at his very best. Born in Toronto in 1869, Beatty was a child of the new Canadian confederation. In his youth he witnessed landmark events in Canadian history, including the Riel Rebellion and the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway. He served as a Canadian war artist in World War I, and he had earlier studied with some of Canada’s most important painters, first with Frederic Marlett Bell-Smith at Galbraith’s Academy in 1893, and then under George A. Reid and William Cruickshank at the Central Ontario School of Art and Design in 1894. He was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1903 and began to immediately produce Canadian landscapes to wide critical acclaim. As was the custom of the time, he enrolled in the prestigious Académie Julian in Paris, and would later travel in England, Italy and Spain.
While these travels and the scenery he encountered in Europe influenced him and appeared as subjects in his works, upon his return to Canada in 1908, Beatty fully embraced its scenery with nationalistic pride. He focused his brush on the Laurentians and sketched in Haliburton and Lake Memphremagog with Lawren Harris in 1909, and worked with Frederick Challener in Conestoga. He sketched in northern Ontario and the Canadian Rockies with Thomas Wesley MacLean, and again in the northern Rockies with A.Y. Jackson in 1914. That same year he sketched in Algonquin Park, possibly at Canoe Lake, with Jackson and J.E.H. MacDonald. His works were widely shown, and were thus a drawing card to the Canadian wilderness for the future members of the Group of Seven, and it was at Beatty’s suggestion that MacDonald, whom he had known since 1901, first went to the Magnetawan River to sketch.
Success came readily to Beatty; he was a charter member of the Arts and Letters Club, which upon its founding in 1909, was the fertile ground in which the seeds of Canadian artistic nationalism began to take root and grow. During this time, a rift was developing between painters of European-style scenery who explored European themes and painters of Canadian scenery and Canadian themes. Beatty led an outcry against the National Gallery of Canada over the acquisition of a work titled A Dutch Peasant. As a result, his own magnificent 1910 canvas The Evening Cloud of the Northland was acquired instead. It is now considered a masterpiece of Canadian art. Beatty’s influence runs strongly throughout the formative days of the Group. Jackson wrote of his admiration for him in 1910, and he and MacDonald would later work with Beatty in Algonquin Park. Beatty’s influence on Tom Thomson - whom he met about 1913 - is likely, and many authors have suggested him as Thomson’s early stylistic model. The similarities between early works by Thomson and elements of classic Beatty atmosphere and composition are certainly evident. Beatty, together with MacDonald, having been hit hard by Thomson’s death, would build Thomson’s memorial cairn at Canoe Lake in 1917.
In Winter Break-Up, Algonquin Park, we see a perfect division of the canvas, with a horizon line just above centre, and the half-frozen river melting its way towards us in the valley. The distant hill covered in trees that still hold their colourful fall leaves is serenity embodied. The bright light on these deciduous trees and on the snow in the near ground serves to offset the deeper tones of the coniferous trees and their shadows cast on the snow. By the time this work was painted in 1928, the Canadian art world was focused on the sometimes controversial and often unconventional work of the Group. But it is important to remember the stature of an artist such as Beatty, who remained true to his academic training and continued to execute serene depictions of the Canadian wilderness. His role as one of the leading painters who gave birth to the conditions that enabled the Group of Seven to form cannot be underestimated. He was not only a remarkable painter of wilderness, but also a gifted and influential teacher and a vocal defender of painters who turned their attention to the Canadian scene.

Estimation: 30,000 $ ~ 50,000 $ CAN

S'est vendu pour: 106,200.00 $ CAN (prime d'achat incluse)

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