Lot # 158
Spring 2013 - 2nd Session Live auction

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

Snow in the Woods, Algonquin Park I
oil on panel circa 1915
signed and on verso signed, titled variously and inscribed with the artist’s symbol, “4” (circled), “36” in red, the Doris Mills inventory #5/21 (crossed out), "Not For Sale"
10 1/2 x 13 3/4 in  26.7 x 34.9cm

Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., Montreal
A Prominent Montreal Collection
Sold sale of Canadian Art, An Outstanding Collection, The Property of a Prominent Montreal Collector, Fraser Bros., Montreal, October 23, 1986, lot 62
Private Collection, Vancouver

Doris Mills, L.S. Harris Inventory, 1936, listed as Group 5 (5/21) Miscellaneous Sketches, location noted as the Studio Building
Lawren Harris, The Story of the Group of Seven, 1964, page 19

Also inscribed on verso: on a label "Misc. Group no. XXI"
Snow in the Woods, Algonquin Park I was in the sale of an outstanding collection of a prominent Montreal collector, sold at auction in October of 1986. This sale was the subject of numerous headlines, as the collection sold for $4 million - a high value at the time. Because of the high quality of works from this collection, including this superb oil, the sale jump-started the Canadian art market at the time to a new level.
This very fine oil on panel by Lawren Harris comes from around 1915, and relates directly to master canvases including Snow, circa 1915, in the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Snow II, circa 1916, in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada and the oil on canvas, Snow, Algonquin Park, sold at Heffel on May 23, 2007 (lot 8), now in the Thomson Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
At this time in his a career, Harris was interested in the depiction of light and pattern as he saw it in the Canadian landscape. Stylistically related to Impressionism, but thematically rooted in Canada, this swirling, close-in-view work is a riotous dance between light, tree limbs and snow. Harris went on a painting trip with Tom Thomson into Algonquin Park in 1916. He was impressed with Thomson’s lack of regard for the weather, and noted that Thomson’s need to paint on the spot remained no matter how wild the wind or the rain. After observing Thomson painting in a storm, Harris would later write, “Tom had caught in living paint the power and drama of the storm in the north. Here was symbolized, it came to me, the function of the artist in life: he must accept in deep singleness of purpose the manifestations of life in man and in great nature, and transform these into controlled, ordered and vital expressions of meaning.”
Here, Harris has taken a scene from “great nature” and transformed it through paint. The brilliant whites of his snow, the deep greens of his forest, and the wonderful variety of mauve and pink that indicate the depth of the shadows on the snow and how they play against the light as it hits the snow nearby, act together in vital expression of a moment in a Canadian winter. In his masterful depictions of winter woods, Harris carefully analyzed the subtle variety of colour in winter snows, and was adept at blending his pigments to achieve the desired affect. When a person familiar with the nuances of a Canadian winter closely examines a work such as this, the response is often one of delighted understanding. Snow in the Woods, Algonquin Park I is a superb example of Harris’s snow paintings, a distillation of the winter beauty of the densely forested northern wilderness.

All prices are in Canadian Dollars.

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