Artwork by Alexander Young Jackson,  Tadenac, November

A.Y. Jackson
Tadenac, November

oil on canvas
signed lower right; titled on the frame “Tadenac, November-Georgian Bay” and inscribed “Pickering College” (three times) and “Newmarket” on the stretcher, NJG Inventory No. 1710
40.25 x 38.25 ins ( 102.2 x 97.2 cms )

Auction Estimate: $600,000.00$400,000.00 - $600,000.00

Price Realized $936,000.00
Sale date: December 1st 2022

Gift of the artist to Pickering College, Newmarket, Ontario, before 1951
Sotheby’s, auction, Fine Jewellery and Important Canadian Art, Toronto, 30 October 1985, lot 544
Acquired by the present Private Collection, 1985
“Group of Seven Exhibition of Paintings, Art Gallery of Toronto”, 5‒29 May 1922, no. 47 as “November, Georgian Bay” at $1,000
“Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, National Gallery of Canada”, Ottawa 20 November‒20 December 1924, no. 106, as “Georgian Bay, November”
“Group of Seven”, Art Gallery of Toronto, January-February 1925, no. 36
“Paintings and Sculpture by British, Russian and Canadian Artists; Graphic Art and Photography”, Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto, 29 August‒12 September 1925, no. 291 as Georgian Bay, November at $600 Group of Seven, Pickering College, Newmarket, Ontario, 13‒28 October 1951
“A.Y. Jackson Paintings 1902‒1953”, Art Gallery of Toronto; travelling to the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; Winnipeg Art Gallery, 22 October 1953‒4 April 1954, no. 39, as “Tadenac, November” (circa 1924)
“Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven”, Opening Exhibition, Tom Thomson Memorial Gallery and Museum of Fine Art, Owen Sound, 27 May‒11 June 1967, no. 28
“Collector’s Canada: Selections from a Toronto Private Collection”, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; travelling to Musée du Québec, Quebec City; Vancouver Art Gallery; Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, 14 May 1988‒7 May 1989, no. 68
“The Group of Seven Art for a Nation”, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; travelling to the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Vancouver art Gallery and Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 13 October 1995‒1 December 1996, no. 64
“Annual Group of Seven Dinner featuring works of art by Alexander Young Jackson”, The York Club, Toronto, 17 February 1999
“The Private Eye: Art Collectors and their Stories”, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, Ontario, 1 July‒14 November 2004
“Embracing Canada: Landscapes from Krieghoff to the Group of Seven”, Vancouver Art Gallery; travelling to the Glenbow Museum, Calgary; Art Gallery of Hamilton, 30 October 2015‒25 September 2016
“Pop Up Museum”, Canadian Friends of the Israel Museum, 21 August 2018
“Collectors’ Treasures”, Galerie Eric Klinkhoff, Montreal, 19 October‒2 November 2019, no. 23

“A.Y. Jackson correspondence”, Naomi Jackson Groves fonds, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa (MG30, D351, Box 96, file 12)
Augustus Bridle, “Pictures of the Group of Seven Show ‘Art Must Take the Road',” “Toronto Daily Star”, 20 May 1922
Eric Brown (signed E.), ‘An Art Movement in Canada‒The Group of Seven’, “Christian Science Monitor”, 31 July 1922
Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, Ottawa, 1924, no. 106, reproduced as “Georgian Bay, November”
Donald W. Buchanan, ‘Canadian Art in a Boy’s School’, “Canadian Art”, IX:2 (Christmas 1951), reproduced page 69 as “Georgian Bay” circa 1920
“A.Y. Jackson Paintings 1902‒1953”, Art Gallery of Toronto, 1953, no. 39, reproduced as “Tadenac, November” circa 1924 (plate 9)
Jean Burness, Alan Suddon, Grace Pincoe, ‘A.Y. Jackson Section 2, Index to Reproductions’, “Who’s Who in Ontario Art”, Part 20, Ontario Library Review, May 1954, unpaginated, as circa 1924
Jean Burness, Alan Suddon, Grace Pincoe, ‘A.Y. Jackson Section 3, Collections’, “Who’s Who in Ontario Art”, Part 21, Ontario Library Review, August 1954, unpaginated, as circa 1924
A.Y. Jackson, “A Painter’s Country (The Autobiography of A.Y. Jackson)”, Toronto, 1958, page 72, reproduced opposite page 80
A.Y. Jackson, “A Painter’s Country (The Autobiography of A.Y. Jackson)”, Toronto, 1967, page 74, reproduced opposite page 35 as “November, Tadenac, Georgian Bay” 1925
“From the Art Collection of Pickering College”, Newmarket, Ontario, 1977, page 1, reproduced page 2
Sotheby’s, “Fine Jewellery and Important Canadian Art”, Toronto, 30 October 1985, lot 544, reproduced
Dennis Reid, “Collector’s Canada: Selections from a Toronto Private Collection”, Toronto, 1988, no. 68, pages 5 and 64, reproduced page 65
Charles C. Hill, “The Group of Seven Art for a Nation”, Ottawa/Toronto, 1995, pages 109‒110, 318, 319, reproduced page 109
Ian Thom, et al., “Embracing Canada: Landscapes from Krieghoff to the Group of Seven”, Vancouver/London, 2015, pages 86, 201, reproduced page 121 as “Tadenac, November” circa 1924
Though a native of Montreal, A.Y. Jackson had a long connection with Georgian Bay. He first visited relatives at Penetanguishene in 1910, but his first impressions of the landscape were disappointing. As he wrote to his mother on 9 July “It is great country to have a holiday in, boating, fishing, swimming, etc., the water is very warm, but it’s nothing but little islands covered with scrub and pine trees and not quite paintable.” The landscape did pose problems for the artists and in the first Georgian Bay canvases by Jackson (”Evening, Georgian Bay”, circa 1910, National Gallery of Canada, acc. no. 40365), J.E.H. MacDonald (”Fine Weather, Georgian Bay”, 1913, Thomson Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario) and Arthur Lismer (”Georgian Bay,” 1913, National Gallery of Canada, acc. no. 6403) the massive expanse of sky over a low, horizon of rocky shoals is the dominant motif. Soon the artists focused on the forms of rocks and windblown pines set against a high horizon as seen in Jackson’s appropriately titled “The Land of the Leaning Pine” of 1913 (now titled “Night, Georgian Bay”, National Gallery of Canada, acc. no. 1697) and Arthur Lismer’s “A Westerly Gale, Georgian Bay” of 1916 (National Gallery of Canada, 1369).

Following his release from the army Jackson returned to the Bay in 1919 and again in February and March 1920. Four canvases resultant from this trip were included in the first Group of Seven exhibition in May 1920. In “Cognaschene Lake” (Art Gallery of Windsor, 76.11) the brown rocks, outlined with blue‒black lines, and the water and sky are arranged vertically across the horizontal composition. In “The Freddy Channel” (private collection), originally titled “March Snow”, the rocks, ice, water and wind‒blown pines are painted in a flat, almost Japanese, vertical arrangement.

In November 1921, and not 1922 as he wrote in “A Painter’s Country”, Jackson was at Georgian Bay once again. “In November of 1922 [1921] I went to the Bay with Dr. MacCallum. ... I put up my tent between the shore and a small lake. During the night it got very cold and I hadonly a single blanket, I was nearly frozen. I got up at daybreak to make a fire and found an inch of ice on the lake. It was here that I made the studies for a canvas, ‘November, Georgian Bay,’ now in Hart House.” This was the only time Jackson painted on the Bay in November and “Georgian Bay, November” (Hart House, HH.19221) was reproduced in the catalogue of the Ontario Society of Artists exhibition in March 1922 and purchased by Hart House at the University of Toronto that year.

Jackson exhibited five additional Georgian Bay canvases in the May 1922 exhibition of the Group of Seven. “November, Georgian Bay”, was priced at $1000, three times that of “Grey Day, Tadenac” which was priced at $350. Eric Brown, director of the National Gallery, described “November, Georgian Bay”, as “a large canvas with a foreground of deep quiet reflections in still‒pooled water, and beyond, in the distant open stretches, the sweeping wrack of winds, two moods are carried and blended into a harmony of sustained power.” Augustus Bridle, confusing two of the paintings, felt that “November, Georgian Bay” “lacks only more lustre in the water to match the delicately beautiful tracery of the foreground trees” and criticized Grey Day, Tadenac as “considerably too large for his palette.”

It was possible that Jackson shared Bridle’s opinion about the scale of the large painting. A photograph of the canvas in the Edward P. Taylor Library & Archives of the Art Gallery of Ontario is inscribed on the back: “Jackson cut right portion of this off.” When exhibited with the Royal Canadian Academy in 1924 the painting was illustrated in the catalogue in its current composition. It was given the title “Tadenac, November” when it was included in the 1953 Jackson retrospective exhibition at the Art Gallery of Toronto. Tadenac is on Georgian Bay just north of Go‒Home Bay where Dr. MacCallum had his cottage.

Jackson's transformation of the canvas resulted in an almost square format that is exceptional in the artist’s oeuvre and enhances the superbly decorative aspect of the composition, a tendency previously seen in “Cognaschene Lake” and “Georgian Bay, November”. The composition rises from the foreground rocks to the pool of water, to the snow‒ crested rocks and vertical trees, to the dappled waves of the open water, to the shore beyond and the sky. Bridle’s description of “the sombre, almost sullen study in solitude” is a perfect characterization of this moody, richly coloured, russet canvas. Bridle continued, “Once he grew tired of greys in conventional landscapes; now he goes back to colours almost as sober but with the element of power and ruggedness.”

We extend our thanks to Charles Hill, Canadian art historian, former Curator of Canadian Art at the National Gallery of Canada and author of “The Group of Seven – Art for a Nation”, for his assistance in researching this artwork and for contributing the preceding essay.
The Live Auction of An Important Private Collection of Canadian Art on December 1st, 2022 set a new artist record for Group of Seven artist A.Y. Jackson. This large oil canvas , “Tadenac, November”, achieved $936,000, exceeding the previous record of $760,500.

Share this item with your friends

Alexander Young Jackson
(1882 - 1974) Group of Seven, Canadian Group of Painters, 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 Académie Julian where he studied under Jean Paul Laurens for six months, then he travelled to Italy with others where they visited galleries in Rome, Florence and Venice. They returned to France and Jackson went to the village of Episy with a fellow student named Porter with whom he had lived in Paris. Jackson found much to paint at Episy: old farms, rolling country, the canal where barges were towed by mules, and for the first time (in France) he lived with people close to the land.

He left France when his funds were low and returned to Canada in 1910 where the “clear crisp air and sharp shadows” of Sweetsburg, Quebec, became the subject of his canvas “Edge of the Maple Wood”. During this period his painting was strongly influenced by the Impressionists. Then the work of Canadian artists Cullen and Morrice led him further in the discoveries of snow and other elements of Canadian subject matter which were to become an integral part of his work throughout his life. After his return to Canada, Jackson took up residence in Montreal and made many sketching trips to the surrounding countryside. While at Emileville he received a letter from a J.E.H. MacDonald of Toronto who wanted to purchase his “Edge of the Maple Wood” on behalf of a third party, Lawren Harris. Jackson sold the picture and later met MacDonald in Toronto. In Toronto he also met, through MacDonald, Arthur Lismer, Frederick Varley and other members of the Arts and Letters Club who were employed by the Grip Engraving Company as commercial artists. Jackson later went to Georgian Bay to sketch and was visited there by Dr. James MacCallum, a friend of Lawren Harris. MacCallum, who had a summer home at the Bay, offered Jackson a place to work in the ‘Studio Building’ which MacCallum and Lawren Harris were having built for Canadian artists in Toronto. In the meantime Jackson was invited to stay at MacCallum’s summer home. Jackson’s production was good; he did many sketches and a number of canvases, one being the “Maple in the Pine Woods” which was later to bring a storm of criticism at a Group of Seven exhibition.

On his return to Toronto, Jackson stayed at Lawren Harris’ studio in Toronto until the Studio Building was completed. There one day he was introduced to Tom Thomson who had accompanied Dr. MacCallum on a visit. Thomson was also an employee of the Grip Engraving Company. The two moved into the Studio Building in January 1914 and shared a studio. Thomson had soon inspired Jackson to visit Algonquin Park in February and March of 1914. Jackson also sketched that year with J.E.H. MacDonald and J.W. Beatty. In 1915, Jackson enlisted as a private in the 60th Battalion and after being wounded, returned later to the front as Lieutenant with Canadian War Records. As a war artist he created one of the finest collections of war paintings our nation possesses.

In 1919 he went to Algoma with J.E.H. MacDonald, Lawren Harris and Franz Johnston, making use of a railway box car as a studio which Harris had arranged. During that year, Jackson became a full member of the Royal Canadian Academy. On May 7th, 1920, the first exhibition of the Group of Seven opened at the Art Gallery of Toronto. The Group continued to exhibit until 1931. Each exhibition of the Group was met with great protest. In July of 1927 Jackson and Dr. Frederick Banting went north on the steamer ‘Beothic’ which had been chartered by the government to deliver supplies to the RCMP posts and to carry relief constables to the posts. They sketched at Pond Inlet, Devon Island, Ellesmere Island and other arctic locations. Jackson’s arctic sketches were exhibited at the Art Gallery of 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.

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