Lot #7

J.E.H. MacDonald
Stormy Weather, Georgian Bay

oil on board
signed, dated 1912 and inscribed “Georgian Bay” & “south point of Dr. McCallum’s island looking west” on the reverse; inscribed with the title, date “Oct. 1912” and certified by Thoreau MacDonald on the reverse
4.25 x 7 ins ( 10.8 x 17.8 cms )

Auction Estimate: $15,000.00$10,000.00 - $15,000.00

Price Realized $55,200.00
Sale date: December 1st 2022

Provenance:
The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. W.A. Manford
Arthur Leggett Fine Art & Antiques, Toronto
Private Collection, Ontario
Exhibited:
“J.E.H. MacDonald, R.C.A., 1873-1932”, The Art Gallery of Toronto; travelling to the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 12 November 12 1965-6 February 1966, no. 61
Literature:
“J.E.H. MacDonald, R.C.A. (1873-1932)”, Toronto, 1965, no. 61, page 10, reproduced page 48
In 1911 J.E.H. MacDonald resigned from Grip Limited, wanting to pursue painting full-time. He organized an exhibition of his work at the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto. Lawren Harris attended this show and was struck by MacDonald’s painting. The next year the two artists held a joint exhibition, encouraging each other to continue to paint and exhibit. MacDonald was receiving acclaim and recognition for his work, a marked sign to continue to pursue an artistic career.

In this early sketch of Georgian Bay, the location is identified as "south point of Dr. MacCallum’s Island looking west". Here, MacDonald has captured the intense heavy clouds and choppy waters as they crash into the inlet. Thanks to Dr. MacCallum, Georgian Bay would become a regular destination for sketching trips for members of the Group of Seven.

1912 was an important year for MacDonald as he launched his career as a professional artist and began painting the northern landscape of Georgian Bay and the Muskoka districts of Ontario. His painting style was still heavily influenced by Impressionism and MacDonald was an advocate for the small oil sketch produced “en plein-air”. As Nancy E. Robertson remarked in the exhibition catalogue for the J.E.H. MacDonald retrospective, in which this painting was included: “[MacDonald’s] interest in untamed and unlimited nature...continued to develop and to urge him into new areas. He was equally attracted by the closed intimate nooks and the great open expanses of water and sky. In the large dramatic productions of nature, MacDonald assures man a place, never greater than nature but never at the mercy of nature.”

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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.