Artwork by James Edward Hervey MacDonald,  High Park

J.E.H. MacDonald
High Park

oil on board
signed with initials and dated 1911 lower left; inscribed “J.E.H. MacDonald”, titled, dated and certified by Thoreau MacDonald on the reverse
7 x 5 ins ( 17.8 x 12.7 cms )

Auction Estimate: $18,000.00$14,000.00 - $18,000.00

Price Realized $17,700.00
Sale date: May 29th 2018

Libby’s of Toronto
Private Collection, Toronto
Eight Members of the Group of Seven, Arts and Letters Club of Toronto, May 19 - 22, 2009
Paul Duval, The Tangled Garden: The Art of J.E.H. MacDonald, Scarborough, 1978, pages 21-26
A favourite location for the artist, High Park provided MacDonald an endless amount of layered landscapes and vistas while conveniently located closeby to his young family on Quebec Avenue. Depicted at a dusky sunset, the soft rose hues of the sky attracted the artist to capture the effects of light and atmosphere during this transitionary period of the day.

Within the park, MacDonald was afforded both sweeping open spaces and more secluded lush areas of the park to explore impressionistic painting. Inspired by the French and Dutch Impressionist masters, MacDonald developed his distinctive loose and fluid application of paint to articulate the rolling textured layers of a landscape, capturing the natural drama of the terrain. Here, the bright emerald foreground is punctuated with ribbons of burgundy outlining the organic tousles of long grass and foliage. Points of bright reds and yellows leave a trace of the season transitioning into cooler weather, transforming fresh green leaves of the background trees into fiery shades, offsetting the shadowy treeline. Favouring tight but dramatic landscapes, MacDonald sought to explore the effects of light and weather in these early compositions upon returning from London, England.

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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.