LOT 124

1882 - 1974

Indian Village, Fort Resolution, Great Slave Lake
oil on board, circa 1928
signed and on verso signed, titled and inscribed "7474"
8 1/2 x 10 1/2 in, 21.6 x 26.7 cm

Estimate: $40,000 - $60,000 CAD

Sold for: $49,250

Preview at:

Peter Ohler Fine Arts Ltd., Vancouver
Private Collection, Montreal

A.K. Prakash, Canadian Art: Selected Masters from Private Collections, 2003, reproduced page 151

A.Y. Jackson’s characteristically vibrant brush-work in this sketch transports us to a long-lit subarctic summer day nearly a hundred years ago. He deftly conjures the layered, luminous clouds with a linear impasto that creates depth, dimension and distance. In the mid-foreground, the whitewashed logs of the European-style buildings are rendered in similar relief with kinetic impasto. In the right foreground, the poles of an uncovered teepee frame point skyward, a skeletal, incomplete cone in stark contrast to the substantial wooden buildings that dominate the painting.

Jackson has presciently composed a scene that speaks to the evergreen tensions between Indigenous and colonial ways of being: two Indigenous women pass near the bare frame of the teepee, their traditional shelter, unfinished and overwhelmed by the log-built trading post structures of the European colonizers. Moreover, when Jackson was in Fort Resolution, the usual summer presence of Indigenous guides and traders was greatly reduced because of an influenza pandemic that had swept through the area, a virulent old-world illness driving away the local population.

This painting is a rare discovery because of the circumstances of its composition. In July of 1928, when Jackson traveled to Fort Resolution—a lengthy and difficult journey by train and then boat—he intended to complete several small paintings en plein air as he and the rest of the Group of Seven had so often done in Algonquin Park and farther afield. But the pestilential waves of mosquitoes, midges and other insects were so thick that they even got stuck in Jackson’s pigments! Accordingly, he concentrated on pencil sketches. Indian Village, Fort Resolution, Great Slave Lake is one of just a handful of oil paintings Jackson completed during this stop, when—if not for the insects—he likely would have completed several more.

For its ties to the intersection of Indigenous and colonial cultures as well as the market scarcity of oil works from this trip, Indian Village, Fort Resolution is a seldom-seen treasure whose rarity is surpassed only by its beauty and historical significance.

Estimate: $40,000 - $60,000 CAD

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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