ALC CGP G7 OSA RCA RSA
1882 - 1974
St. Lawrence in Winter, Port au Persil
oil on canvas, circa 1947
signed and on verso titled and titled as Point au Persil on the McMichael Canadian Art Collection label
22 x 21 in 55.9 x 53.3 cm
Estimate: $100,000 - $150,000
Sold for: $193,250
Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave
G. Blair Laing Limited, Toronto
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. William P. Wilder, Toronto
Arthur Lismer, A.Y. Jackson: Paintings, 1902 – 1953, Art Gallery of Toronto and National Gallery of Canada, 1953, page 7
Wayne Larsen, A.Y. Jackson: The Life of a Landscape Painter, 2009, page 190
McMichael Canadian Art Collection, The Group of Seven: Masterpieces from Toronto Collections, May 24 - August 23, 1987
This striking studio canvas is based on a sketch produced in 1947, titled The St. Lawrence River at Port-Au-Persil, during Jackson’s last annual sketching trip to the Lower St. Lawrence region, when he painted at La Malbaie and Port-au-Persil. As Wayne Larsen wrote, “The springtime sketching ritual in rural Quebec was sacred to Jackson. It formed the backbone of his creative life for twenty-six years, providing him with hundreds of sketches.” But, although not evident in this fresh and stunning landscape, life was changing in rural Quebec. Jackson did not like the fast-advancing modernization that was taking place in the area, and he would soon switch to the Gatineau region near Ottawa for his regular sketching trips.
St. Lawrence in Winter, Port au Persil is a classic Group of Seven composition with its motifs of blue-shadowed snow and the view of a distant landscape through a screen of trees. Long streaks of blue stretch across the bright snow, while sunlight sparkles on an open section of river water – contributing to the marvellous atmosphere of a sunny, crisp winter’s day. Jackson’s palette is exceptional - the delicate pastel tones in the snow and clouds, green streaks of ice in the river, and cobalt far shore and turquoise sky are a tour de force of colour beauty. Jackson had his early training in Paris at the time when French Impressionism galvanized the art scene with its innovation of painting en plein air and depicting the changing qualities of light with bright hues, and his exposure to the Impressionist movement was the foundation for his development of colour awareness. His many years of on-the-spot observation of light and colour in landscape sharply honed this awareness, whether he was depicting the Arctic or the St. Lawrence area. Jackson perceived the subtle hues not always immediately seen - white snow is never just white, it is many colours, and he made that apparent.
Here, the trees in the foreground are animated; they seem to slightly writhe as though joyously responding to the sunlight raking across them. The clouds in the background project a sail-like form above the bank lying behind the landforms on the other side of the river, adding to the sensation of movement. Jackson imbued his landscapes with rhythm, and here even included a whorl of shadow at the base of the trees at the right. The exceptional St. Lawrence in Winter, Port au Persil vibrates with a harmonious tempo, from trees to sky.
A few years after he painted this canvas, in October of 1953, the major retrospective A.Y Jackson: Paintings, 1902 - 1953 made clear the depth of Jackson’s contribution to Canadian art. As his fellow Group artist Arthur Lismer eloquently expressed in the catalogue: “His trails cross and recross like the pattern of ski tracks on the fresh snow of a winter hillside. In all of these widely separated places where A.Y. has painted he has revealed their unique identity….Jackson has done more than any other writer or artist to bind us to our own environment, to make us vitally aware of the significance, beauty and character of the land.”
For the biography on Mr. and Mrs. William P. Wilder in PDF format please click here.
Estimate: $100,000 - $150,000
All prices are in Canadian Dollars
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