LOT 122

1888 - 1949

Great Bear Lake
oil on board, circa 1939
signed and on verso titled and inscribed "Near the Bear Portage, NWT"
30 x 36 in, 76.2 x 91.4 cm

Estimate: $30,000 - $50,000 CAD

Sold for: $181,250

Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave

The Fine Art Galleries, T. Eaton Co. Ltd., Toronto
Acquired from the above by Carl French, Toronto, May 27, 1971
By descent to the present Private Collection, Toronto

Carl French, this painting’s former owner, worked directly with famed prospector Gilbert LaBine as the treasurer for Eldorado Gold Mines Ltd. LaBine’s name is storied in twentieth-century mining due in large part to his mine in the Northwest Territories on the shores of Great Bear Lake. Its primary focus beginning in 1930 was a rich deposit of pitchblende, from which uranium can be refined. Though initially inconsequential, this uranium would become an essential contribution to the Allied race for the first atomic bomb, and the Allies’ consequent victory in World War II.

LaBine’s successes at Eldorado and the pristine northern surroundings prompted him to welcome artists to the area to capture its rugged beauty. Most notably, these artists included Group of Seven members A.Y. Jackson and Franz Johnston. Here, Johnston skilfully employs a nuanced palette of pale blues, violets and greens against lead white to express the dazzling northern light. His deftly detailed execution of two sled teams dwarfed by the landscape conveys the sheer immensity of this solitary land.

Two photos on verso depict Eldorado Mine from the air and dogsledding in the surrounding area.

Estimate: $30,000 - $50,000 CAD

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information posted, errors and omissions may occur. All bids are subject to our Terms and Conditions of Business. Bidders must ensure they have satisfied themselves with the condition of the Lot prior to bidding. Condition reports are available upon request.