Artwork by Alexander Young Jackson,  St. Irenée, Quebec

A.Y. Jackson
St. Irenée, Quebec

oil on panel
signed lower left; signed and titled on the reverse
8.5 x 10.5 ins ( 21.6 x 26.7 cms )

Sold for $94,400.00
Sale date: November 20th 2018

Private Collection, Toronto
Masters Gallery, Calgary
Private Collection, Alberta
A.K. Prakash, Canadian Art: Selected Masters from Private Collections, Ottawa, 2003, page 153, reproduced in colour
Charles C. Hill, Canadian Painting in the Thirties, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1975, pages 11, 21 and 27
David P. Silcox, The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson, Toronto, 2003, pages 181-83
Returning to the villages of Quebec to paint throughout his life, A.Y. Jackson was continually drawn to “Christmas card country”, as we he would describe the region to fellow Group of Seven member, J.E.H. MacDonald. The painter - sometimes journeying alone, other times with fellow painters including Albert Robinson, Arthur Lismer and Frederick Banting - would stay in an array of accommodations during his travels through the towns of rural Quebec. Jackson would often board with families during stays in smaller communities, providing a deep examination of not only the land but also the daily life and culture of the residents. Limited by their isolation, many of those in the communities were enchanted by Jackson’s stories of his extensive travels and experiences, the painter playing equal hand in the storytelling tradition with his hosts. Charles C. Hill writes that Jackson typified their popular image: “robust, adventurous, a man of the soil, and a democrat”, returning each time with his quota of sketches to be painted up into canvases.

The rural community of Saint-Irénee is situated along the St. Lawrence River in the Charlevoix region. A small and picturesque village, Saint-Irénée afforded Jackson both the rugged barren Canadian landscape and small towns the artist sought to explore in his artistic practice. In this charming oil painting, Jackson depicts the the quintessentially ‘Christmas card country’ of rural Quebec, with a horse pulling a sleigh through a snow-covered village. The composition demonstrates Jackson’s strong sense of both colour and composition through its fluid, rhythmic lines of the snowy terrain, roofs and steep hill, and in its rich hues of aqua in the sky and the colourful patterns created in the snow by sunlight and shadow. The enchanting canvas holds a whimsical charm while honouring the distinctive personality of the town and its inhabitants.

Recalling his many adventures in rural Quebec in his autobiography, A.Y. Jackson notes that, at the time, he had missed “only one season” in thirty years of painting in the region, caused by a teaching post at the Ontario College of Art.

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Alexander Young Jackson
(1882 - 1974) Group of Seven, OSA, RCA

Born in Montreal, Alexander Young Jackson left school at the age of twelve and began work at a Montreal printing firm. In 1906, he undertook art studies at the Art Institute in Chicago. The following year he enrolled at the Academie Julian in Paris and remained in France until 1912. During this period his painting was strongly influenced by the Impressionists. After his return to Canada, Jackson took up residence in Montreal and made many sketching trips to the surrounding countryside. Harris and MacDonald were impressed by Jackson's work and, in 1913, persuaded him to move to Toronto. Jackson's great sense of adventure carried him from the east coast across Canada to the Rocky Mountains of the west. He made regular sketching trips to Quebec every spring and travelled to the far regions of Canada during the summer, including the Canadian Arctic. In the fall he would return to the Studio Building in Toronto (where he lived until 1955), spending the winters painting canvases. He continued this active lifestyle until he was in his eighties.