Lot # 117
Spring 2013 - 2nd Session Live auction

Alexander Young (A.Y.) Jackson
ALC CGP G7 OSA RCA RSA 1882 - 1974 Canadian

A Quebec Village (Winter, Saint-Fidèle)
oil on canvas
signed and on verso signed, titled A Quebec Village on the stretcher by the artist, and Winter, Ste. Fidele on a label and dated 1930
25 x 32 1/4 in  63.5 x 81.9cm

Provenance:
Baron Byng High School, Montreal, 1930
The PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation

Literature:
A.Y. Jackson, A Painter's Country, The Autobiography of A.Y. Jackson, 1958, pages 61 and 62
Walter Klinkhoff, A.Y. Jackson Retrospective Exhibition, Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., 1990, reproduced front cover and listed, unpaginated
Pierre B. Landry, editor, Catalogue of the National Gallery of Canada, Canadian Art, Volume Two / G – K, 1994, similar subjects: a 1926 graphite study of the church at Saint-Fidèle, entitled Saint-Fidèle, Quebec reproduced page 199, a 1926 canvas of Saint-Fidèle village with the church entitled Winter, Quebec reproduced page 199 and a 1926 graphite study entitled Church at Saint-Fidèle reproduced page 200
Charles C. Hill, The Group of Seven: Art for a Nation, National Gallery of Canada, 1995, titled as Saint-Fidèle, reproduced page 279, figure 248, listed page 336
David P. Silcox, The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson, 2003, titled as St. Fidèle, reproduced page 196
Wayne Larsen, A.Y. Jackson, The Life of a Landscape Painter, 2009, titled as St. Fidèle, repr

Exhibited:
Art Gallery of Toronto, Exhibition of Seascapes and Water-Fronts by Contemporary Artists and an Exhibition of the Group of Seven, December 4 - 24, 1931, catalogue #96
San Francisco Golden Gate International Exhibition, 1939
Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., Montreal, A.Y. Jackson, Retrospective Exhibition, September 1990, catalogue #13
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, The Group of Seven, Art for a Nation, October 13 - December 31, 1995, traveling in 1996 to the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, catalogue #170

This stunning A.Y. Jackson comes to Heffel through The Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal’s Cultural Heritage Foundation. Beginning in 1922, Anne Savage taught art at the PSBGM’s Baron Byng High School, during which time she donated several of her own works to the school, including the stunning Northern Lake / Trees in the Wind (lot # 118) and oversaw the acquisition of additional works by other important Canadian artists. It was a common practice in Montreal in the 1930s for parents and alumni to thank schools with the gift of a work of art. Savage’s skilled teaching during her 28-year tenure would have encouraged parents and alumni to do exactly that, and Savage’s connections enabled the school to build a fine collection. No doubt her close relationship with Jackson led to the inclusion of this exceptionally fine canvas in the PSBGM’s collection. This important collection is now being sold to fund scholarships.
Jackson’s beloved Quebec, with its rural quaintness and variable weather, provided the spirit and character that give his works depicting the region such charm. Jackson was utterly at home in Quebec, whether on snowshoes or on foot, and so at ease with his surroundings that his Quebec works have a personality and familiarity to them that can only come when an artist is particularly attached to a certain place. As with J.E.H. MacDonald and Lake O’Hara, Lawren Harris and the Arctic, and Emily Carr and the British Columbia forest, when a geographical connection between art and artist becomes profound, the work that it generates reaches a new level. Here, with snow in abundance and light playing against the whites of winter, turning them into blues, pinks and purples, Jackson is at his finest. The colour of the snow alone makes this painting outstanding, and the play of the snow colour against that of the sky, so similar yet rendered in a slightly different hand, exemplifies Jackson’s skill with subtle brushwork. The work is beautifully composed, with the hollows and whorls of the snow gently broken up by the homes, barns and church that are painted in hues complementary to one another. The rooftops of the buildings have a pleasing consistency of line and shape. In the near ground, the neatly stacked wood adds a contrast of pattern, while the fence line serves to return our gaze to the centre after we have taken in all that this charming work has to offer us. Horse-drawn carts ply the snow, adding two accents of life to the otherwise still scene.
Jackson’s first venture to Saint-Fidèle took place in 1926 with Edwin Holgate. He wrote, “It is rather like St. Hilarion on top of a hill but overlooking the river for miles...not ancient but just a natural village where everyone did as they pleased.” His description of the village as natural is key, and something Jackson sought out in his preferred painting locales, almost on an instinctive level. Although its buildings and the fieldstone church are clearly man-made, Saint-Fidèle seems to have sprouted from the earth with homes, sled-paths and fences situated in such a manner as to follow the natural hollows and rises of the landscape. Jackson returned again in 1930 with Dr. Frederick Banting, and they encountered daunting amounts of snow. Jackson commented, “It was a hard month to work, not many effects and more wind than was necessary and too much new snow and frozen paint…‘Bigger and better snow drifts’ is Banting’s slogan. We went for a short-cut through the woods yesterday and that nearly cured him. We did not have our snowshoes, and we sank in the snow up to our waists. No newspapers, no radio and only enough water to wash once a day and yet we are happy.” This waist-deep snow is very prominent here, sparkling and infused with many delicate hues, as it gently blankets this scene of a by-gone era in this masterpiece canvas.
This exceptional canvas was loaned by Baron Byng High School to the 1931 Group of Seven exhibition at the Art Gallery of Toronto.
As with the other lots consigned by the PSBGM, proceeds from the sale of this work will directly benefit graduates of the English Montreal School Board by providing scholarships for post-secondary education.

Estimate: $500,000 ~ $700,000 CAD  
Sold for: $585,000 CAD (including Buyer's Premium)

All prices are in Canadian Dollars.

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