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LOT 129

Alexander Young (A.Y.) Jackson
1882 - 1974

St. Pierre, Montmagny
oil on canvas, circa 1942
signed and on verso titled
21 x 26 in 53.3 x 66 cm

Estimate: $150,000 - $250,000

Sold for: $157,250

Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave

Acquired directly from the Artist by Mr. and Mrs. S.B. Hamilton, Toronto
A gift from the Hamiltons to their daughter on her birthday, 1966
A gift from their daughter to the present Private Collection, Toronto, 1999

Naomi Jackson Groves, A.Y.’s Canada, 1968, page 62

The artists associated with the Group of Seven often expressed their gratitude for the generosity provided by collectors of their works. In that respect, the name that first comes to mind is Dr. James MacCallum, an eye specialist who was a devoted patron. Dr. MacCallum’s invitations to stay at his Georgian Bay property enabled his artist friends to spend time exploring the landscape of the Canadian Shield and ultimately provided future generations with the celebrated images we know so well.
Fortunately, other collectors also took the artists of that generation under their wing, as did the Hamilton family, who originally acquired this fine A.Y. Jackson canvas. The connection between Mr. and Mrs. William A. Hamilton (parents of Mr. S.B. Hamilton) and Jackson was established when the couple resided in the Toronto neighbourhood of Rosedale, close to the Group of Seven’s Studio Building at 25 Severn Street. A relationship developed over the years in which Jackson, known by their grandchildren as Uncle Alec, became a close family friend. The Hamiltons owned a vacation property near Bracebridge on Lake Muskoka and would invite Jackson for annual visits. Fittingly, he would lead picnic and painting excursions with the entire clan during these memorable stays. The Hamiltons were great patrons of Jackson who acquired dozens of his works over the course of his career, and they were also gifted several by the artist.
Montmagny is a small community located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence, some 40 miles east of Quebec City. Jackson sketched along the south shore somewhat less frequently than the north shore, which makes the canvases of these small villages very special. In his letters Jackson wrote about his time there fondly, stating, “The village of St. Pierre is a mile and a half away from the hotel, which is beside the station. Nice little burg, one of the few unspoiled villages in Quebec; nice old parish church. It’s a poor little place, humble little houses that contrast with the big substantial farm houses that one finds all over the district.” Jackson found this particular township and its culture authentic and genuine, which lent itself well to his artistic sensibility. This particular village is documented in only a few other known works, including the oil sketch Grey Day, St. Pierre, Montmagny, 1942, currently in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario and once part of the illustrious collection of J.S. McLean.
This is a beautifully composed painting. The palette incorporates lavender purple, azure blue and warm dusty pink, evoking late afternoon light in winter. All the charming elements for which Jackson is recognized are present in this idyllic scene, from the centrally located town church to the horse and sleigh traversing the path. The vibrant, multi-hued buildings with their pleasing consistency of line and shape are the focal point of the composition, as is the radiant sense of human presence, indicated by smoke rising from a chimney.
Jackson’s annual forays to the Lower St. Lawrence produced many iconic canvases and sketches. St. Pierre, Montmagny is one such painting, an outstanding testament to these historic explorations of his beloved Quebec countryside in late winter and early spring.

Estimate: $150,000 - $250,000

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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