Artwork by Ted Harrison,  Bright Day

Ted Harrison
Bright Day

acrylic on canvas
signed lower right; signed, titled and dated 1992 on the reverse
36 x 24 ins ( 91.4 x 61 cms )

Auction Estimate: $20,000.00$15,000.00 - $20,000.00

Price Realized $16,520.00
Sale date: May 29th 2018

Private Collection, Quebec
Robert Budd, Ted Harrison Collected, introduction, Madeira Park, British Columbia, 2015, pages 5-7 and 10
A celebrated artist and educator, Ted Harrison earned a teaching certificate in 1950, his work taking him to various locales globally, including New Zealand and Malaysia, before accepting a teaching position in northern Alberta in 1967. The British-born artist had long dreamed of experiencing Canada's north and Harrison would later move his family farther north, accepting a teaching job in the community of Carcross, Yukon. He fell in love with the people and the setting, exclaiming “it was a simple place to live. It was quiet, peaceful...just right.” “What sent his imagination soaring were the vibrant colours and rich landscapes. Yet Ted found it daunting and even impossible to capture the epic landscapes of the Yukon using the traditional styles he had relied upon in other places in the world.” The artist would create a new language to portray his surroundings, illustrating the vibrancy and rhythm he experienced through flowing, electric lines and a full spectrum of lively colours, providing scenes brimming with life, activity and spirituality.

Commonly encountered in the Arctic and very much at home within Ted Harrison’s energetic compositions, a raven greets the colourful caravan of wanderers within “Bright Day”. Harrison shared that “ravens are very meaningful to the Yukon. They are a friendly bird to me. They like people. They represent the Yukon.” Indeed, the raven here views the small parade with curiosity, its calm stance equal to the casual stroll of the family enjoying a peaceful excursion.

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Ted Harrison
(1926 - 2015) Order of Canada

Harrison was born in Durham County, Northern England in 1926. Ted attributed his early interest in art and design to the encouragement from his parents, particularly his mother who had an interest in fashion design and photography. In 1943, he enrolled in the West Hartlepool College of Art and began to study art and design, but like other young men at the time, his education was interrupted by National Service. He served with the British Army Intelligence Corps in India, Egypt and East Africa and after his release studied at the West Hatlepool College of Art where he graduated with his National Diploma in Design in 1950. The following year he was awarded the Art Teachers’ Diploma at Kings’ College of the University of Durham. He later travelled to the Far East and taught school in Malaya and New Zealand.

In 1967 he moved to Canada in a stage of travel on his way to New Zealand with his wife and son. They stopped at Carcross, Yukon Territory and decided to settle there. He taught at the Indian residential school and in 1970 was appointed the principal of the Carcross Territorial School. In 1970 as well, he held his first major exhibition in Canada at the Robertson Galleries, Ottawa. In the summer of 1971 he moved to Whitehorse to establish the first fine arts course in the Yukon and teach at the Yukon Vocational and Technical Training Centre.

Robert Smyth viewing his 1976 show in Ottawa noted, “On first arrival in the Yukon he felt dominated by the mountains. Like Lawren Harris, he has been inspired to create bold stripes of rhythm from their vastness. Often, great expansive skies are filled with this same churning rhythm, made all the more pulsating by the dissonant colour harmonies. ‘Deserted Village’, a few skeletal buildings arranged in front of wildly patterned mountains cape whose turbulence continues to work its way up into the sky above, in full of this vibration. Here colour and rhythm work to good advantage, creating an animated and well-controlled surface. The cadence colour and line is also well-handled in ‘Ross River Fire,’ where spiral tongues of liquid flames spew out angrily from a burning frame house. One forlorn figure holding a battered teddy bear looks. On from the surrounding snow. Somehow, the sentiment is unforced and sincere.”

After 1979, Harrison began to work as an artist full time. In 1993, he moved to Victoria, British Columbia, where he lived the remainder of his life.

Source: "A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume II”, compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd, Ottawa, 1979