LOT 102

1891 - 1941

The Church at St. Fidèle, Quebec
oil on board
signed and on verso titled, dated "Approximately 1934 - 36" (crossed out) and 1930 on the exhibition label and inscribed "To Mr. McCaul, Sincerely Banting" and "12943"
8 x 10 1/2 in, 20.3 x 26.7 cm

Estimate: $25,000 - $35,000 CAD

Sold for: $31,250

Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave

A gift from the Artist to R. Melbourne McCaul, Toronto
Private Collection, Ontario
By descent to a Private Collection, Ontario
Contemporaries of the Group of Seven, Heffel Fine Art Auction House, May 1, 2020, lot 403
Private Collection, Toronto

A.Y. Jackson, Banting as an Artist, 1943, another view, entitled Church at St. Fidèle, reproduced page 19
Stephen Eaton Hume, Frederick Banting: Hero, Healer, Artist, 2001, page 120

Hart House, Toronto, Exhibition of Paintings by the Late Sir Frederick Banting, February 13 - March 1, 1943

In early spring 1930, Frederick Banting and A.Y. Jackson traveled to Saint-Fidèle, a small village below Murray Bay in the scenic Charlevoix region, where they sketched en plein air. Jackson related, “There were long hikes on the roads or across country on snowshoes, lunch with a fire on top of the snow to warm ourselves and toast our sandwiches, and tea made in a lard pail.” Banting enjoyed this rugged painting experience with Jackson, who observed, “Rural Quebec with its farmhouses and churches was a land forgotten by time, and Banting didn’t want to leave.” Compared to Banting’s social existence in Toronto as a famous scientist and co-discoverer of insulin, he found the simple life of the humble villages and countryside more authentic.

This bright, fresh sketch is superb. Banting captured a rolling rhythm in the land, using fluid brush-strokes in the foreground snow and in the mountains. Jackson’s influence is reflected in Banting’s use of strong brushwork and in his palette of delicate tints. Pale pastels glow in the snow, contrasted with stronger colours in the houses and the iconic church, whose spire rises into the glowing blue sky. A charming inclusion in this strong composition is the motif of the villager in the lower right pulling a sled.

The first owner of this work, R. Melbourne McCaul, was president of the Bank of Montreal in Toronto in the 1930s and 1940s.

Estimate: $25,000 - $35,000 CAD

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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