Artwork by James Edward Hervey MacDonald,  Summer Landscape

J.E.H. MacDonald
Summer Landscape

oil on canvas, laid on board
signed and dated 1902 lower right
8 x 9.5 ins ( 20.3 x 24.1 cms )

Auction Estimate: $15,000.00$12,000.00 - $15,000.00

Price Realized $14,160.00
Sale date: May 29th 2018

Private Collection, Vancouver
An early example of the artist's work, this bright summertime landscape was likely completed near the Humber River, perhaps near High Park in Toronto, a favourite painting place for the artist. MacDonald frequented this west end region of Toronto not only due to the proximity to his early home on Quebec Avenue, but because the park and surrounding area along the Humber River afforded acres of lush and varied landscape for the artist to explore and experiment with.

Under the tutelage of George Agnew Reid, MacDonald had a penchant for capturing the effects of ethereal light through the soft application of colour reminiscent of Impressionistic painters of Europe. The atmospheric effect created with soft strokes of paint was paramount for MacDonald in his early career. “Summer Landscape” captures the light and bright energy of a summer day with the careful selection of fresh greens and blues punctuated by the soft forms of the surrounding trees and foliage along the still, reflective river.

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James Edward Hervey MacDonald
(1873 - 1932) Group of Seven, OSA, RCA

J.E.H. MacDonald was born in Durham, England in 1873 of Canadian parents. He took evening art classes at the Hamilton Art School as a teenager, before relocating to Toronto. In Toronto, he studied at the Central Ontario School of Art. From 1894, he worked as a graphic designer at Grip Ltd. In 1903, he sailed for England and joined Carlton Studios, a London graphic firm. On his return to Canada in 1907 he rejoined Grip and began to paint the landscape near Toronto. Around this time, Tom Thomson joined the Grip staff. Frank H. Johnston joined a short time later. These artists found that they had much in common and began going on sketching trips as a group. In 1910, he exhibited for the first time at the Royal Canadian Academy. By 1912, all the original members of the Group of Seven had met and were sketching quite regularly together. MacDonald was devastated by the accidental drowning of Tom Thomson in 1917. He designed a brass plaque to Thomson's memory which was mounted to a cairn erected at Canoe Lake. The first official Group of Seven exhibition took place in May of 1920. MacDonald accepted a teaching position at the Ontario College of Art in 1921 and was appointed as principal in 1929. He continued to go on painting trips, but his teaching responsibilities sapped his energies and he did few large canvases during this time. He died in Toronto in 1932.