LOT 137

1885 - 1970

Country North of Lake Superior / Lake Superior Sketch CV
oil on board, circa 1921
signed and on verso signed, titled and titled on a label and inscribed with the Doris Mills inventory #4/105, "Bess Harris Collection" and with the artist's symbol
10 1/2 x 13 3/4 in, 26.7 x 34.9 cm

Estimate: $250,000 - $350,000 CAD

Sold for: $193,250

Preview at:

Laing Galleries, Toronto
Collection of Chris Haney, Toronto
By descent to the present Private Collection, Florida

Doris Mills, L.S. Harris Inventory, 1936, Lake Superior Sketches, Group 4, catalogue #105, location noted as the Studio Building
James King, Inward Journey: The Life of Lawren Harris, 2012, page 147

In autumn of 1921, Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson and Arthur Lismer were at Sand Lake in Algoma – but Harris became dissatisfied with this landscape. In search of something new, Harris and Jackson moved on to the north shore of Lake Superior. Much of the country there had been ravaged by a forest fire years before, although new growth was slowly appearing. The fire had stripped the land to its bare essentials of rock, hills and bare tree trunks. Going back much further in time, this country had been shaped by successive ice ages, making its topography quite different from Algoma. All of this turned out to be perfect for Harris, for as Jackson related, “The Algoma country was too opulent for Harris; he wanted something bare and stark.”

Atmosphere is a strong feature of this radiant oil sketch; Harris captures a luminous rosy/gold sky, and a light haze hangs over the hills, making them glow a dusky bluish-purple. The openness of the successive layers of rock ridges and low hills gives a sense of space and freedom to this splendid oil sketch.

Chris Haney (1950 - 2010) was a dynamic Canadian who was a journalist and one of the creators of Trivial Pursuit. Haney was working as a journalist in Montreal when he and his co-founders developed the idea for the trivia game in 1979, initially hoping to make enough money to travel. The game would become a worldwide pop culture success, with total sales of over 100 million copies in 26 countries, and it was produced in 17 languages. In the 1980s, Trivial Pursuit outsold Monopoly.

Haney was a passionate Canadian, and the artworks from his collection, such as this and lots 138 and 139 in this sale, represent his admiration for his country. These works were all likely acquired in the 1980s and remained in his family after his passing in 2010. Haney was a man of many interests who had a great passion for life – he built two successful golf courses in Ontario and enjoyed sailing, travel to Spain, wineries, photography, cooking, rounds of karaoke, reading the paper every morning, and above all, spending time with his family and friends.

Estimate: $250,000 - $350,000 CAD

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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