Alexander Young (A.Y.) Jackson
ALC CGP G7 OSA RCA RSA
1882 - 1974
Gold Mine at Red Lake
oil on canvas, circa 1952
signed and on verso signed, titled and inscribed "Toronto" and with the Roberts Gallery inventory #1418A
24 x 30 in 61 x 76.2 cm
Estimate: $70,000 - $90,000
Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave
Roberts Gallery, Toronto
Corporate Collection, Vancouver
The Group of Seven depicted Canada as mostly raw landscape, immense and uninhabited. However, northern Ontario and Quebec were also places of rapid industrialization through mining and the production of steel and pulp and paper. In Toronto, the Group’s base, there was a social hierarchy that included the financiers, industrialists and speculators who were involved in these activities. A.Y. Jackson mixed easily with mine owners, engineers and prospectors looking for natural resources, and they sometimes were the commissioners and buyers of his work.
The subject of mines and mining towns was of interest to Jackson, and he sketched at many of them in Ontario, Quebec and the Northwest Territories - Eldorado Mine (radium) on Great Bear Lake, NWT; Temagami Mine (copper and silver) and Sudbury Mine (nickel, copper and other metals) in Ontario; Thetford Mines (asbestos) in Quebec; and Smallwood Mine (silver) in Labrador, amongst others. In April of 1952, Jackson traveled to Red Lake near Thunder Bay, one of the richest gold-producing areas in Canada and the world. The area is estimated to have reserves of 3.23 million ounces of gold buried in metamorphosed tholeiitic basalt rock, and is still producing gold through a number of mines today. While there, Jackson sketched at Hasaga Mine, Olsen Mine and Madsen Gold Mines.
This strong and colourful canvas shows the town as a mix of industrial buildings and the habitations of the mine workers. It is a scene full of warm quotidian details—laundry hanging on the line, firewood sprawled across the snow, an axe buried in a stump as if someone just walked away in the midst of their chores. Two figures walk up the snowy, rutted road, an indication of the life of the town. Snow lies in all the hollows of the land, their contours emphasized by Jackson with luscious pastels—blue, green, cream and mauve. Bright hues are everywhere in the buildings—the mine's headframe is blue, roofs are green and orange. The moody sky, with its layers of grey, is highlighted with subtle tones of green, mauve and peach, and admits enough light to make the snow glow. In the background, the mountains remind us of the wild landscape stretching just beyond the town’s borders. In Gold Mine at Red Lake, Jackson is in full command of the elements of his composition, executed to great effect by bold and fluid brushwork.
Estimate: $70,000 - $90,000
All prices are in Canadian Dollars
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