Artwork by Ted Harrison,  Design for “Caribou Hotel”

Ted Harrison
Design for “Caribou Hotel”

acrylic on paper
signed, titled and dated 1983 lower right
16 x 24 ins ( 40.6 x 61 cms )

Auction Estimate: $7,000.00$5,000.00 - $7,000.00

Price Realized $15,600.00
Sale date: June 15th 2022

Ted Harrison Foundation
Ted Harrison (Introduction by Robert Budd), “Ted Harrison Collected”, British Columbia, 2015, page 10, the associated serigraph illustrated page 28
The Caribou Hotel continues to operate in Carcross. It is one of the longest standing businesses operating out of the Yukon. Originally built during the Klondike Gold Rush, the hotel has undergone many adaptations since its construction in 1898. At one point the hotel was owned by Dawson Charlie, a co-discoverer of the Discovery Claim that led to the Klondike Gold Rush. Following the gold rush, the hotel was floated across Lake Bennett to Carcross from its original location of Bennett, BC. It is a designated Yukon Historic Site.

While Ted Harrison created hundreds of paintings, he also made a collection of silkscreen prints. Here we have a painted design for one such print. The silkscreens were a way in which Harrison could make his work more accessible to a wider audience. To best describe the colours that he wished to use in the silkscreens, Harrison would create a ‘map’ by painting the image in acrylic on a sheet of paper and then writing directions in black ink.

In “Design for ‘Caribou Hotel’” we see Harrison’s signature bright, flat colours and trademark subject matter: children, dogs, and birds. As the artist explained, “[r]avens are very meaningful to the Yukon. They are a friendly bird to me. They like people. They represent the Yukon.”

All proceeds from the sale of this artwork are being directed to the Ted Harrison Foundation (THF). THF is a registered non-profit organization whose mission statement is to support the ongoing development of the arts, artists, art education/educators and associated programs. You can learn more about and/or donate to the Ted Harrison Foundation by visiting

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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