LOT 130

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

Country Road, L'Islet
oil on canvas
signed and on verso signed, titled, dated 1945 and inscribed "Not For Sale" on the Canadian Group of Painters label and "Decatur Art Center, 125 South Pine St., Decatur, Ill."
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 Mrs. H. Fairlie, Decatur, Illinois
By descent to a Private Collection, Indiana
Sold sale of Fine Canadian Art, Heffel Fine Art Auction House, November 24, 2006, lot 84
Private Collection, Vancouver

Thoreau MacDonald, The Group of Seven, The Canadian Art Series, 1945, reproduced page 25
Naomi Jackson Groves, A.Y.’s Canada, 1968, pages 54 and 60

Art Gallery of Toronto and Art Association of Montreal, Canadian Group of Painters, 1945 - 1946, catalogue #41

This work is accompanied by scanned copies of six letters from A.Y. Jackson to Mrs. H. Fairlie, the first collector of this work. It is interesting to read these letters more than 70 years later, for Jackson humorously explains in several of them why it took so long to send Mrs. Fairlie the painting. In his May 9th letter he writes, “You will be wondering what is happening in these parts. I received your cheque, but have not cashed it yet. The canvas, Country Road, L’Islet went with the Canadian Group exhibition down in Montreal. I wrote to Lismer who looked after it there to return it here as soon as their show closed, and he said he would. Instead of that he sent it on to Ottawa to be hung in a show at the National Gallery of Canada. They have promised to send it on to me as soon as their exhibition is over, but it has caused a bit of delay.” In a January 10th letter he wrote, “The Country Road seems to please people and would have been sold right away if I had not marked it ‘not for sale.’ ”
In the spring of 1945, Jackson once again sojourned at the home of his brother H.A.C. "Harry" Jackson at St. Aubert in L’Islet County, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence. As his niece Naomi Jackson Groves wrote, “This region has been the summer haunt of les Jacksons since the early 1930s and the H.A.C. Jackson home, ‘Patley Hill’ has often been AY’s headquarters for spring and fall sketching as well as for pleasant summer visits, ‘with the vast panorama of the north land spreading out before you.’ ” As always, Jackson would explore the surrounding area with his sketchbox and paints at hand.
This area was also known for its uniquely Canadian cottage industry of maple sugar. For his painting, Jackson liked the early spring for its cold nights and warm days with brilliant sun, conditions also perfect for the harvesting of maple sap. South of Harry’s house were neighbours who had their own sugar bush territories and shanties, and A.Y. and his friends were often called in as tasters. A.Y.’s brother Harry sometimes accompanied him on his rambles, and Harry’s journal entry for May 7, 1945, joyfully proclaimed, “The war is over!...We enjoyed every minute of our walk to Pinguet [about five miles] over this picturesque rolling country…A.Y. stopped and made a pencil sketch of an old sugar house near the ancient little wooden church.”
This fine canvas embodies the warmth Jackson felt for this often visited and beloved country. He had a great affection for the old wooden shanties, houses and barns of this area, which were weathered yet hardy, somewhat like himself. This painting includes iconic elements of his Quebec countryside works—the organic, stacked snake fence that curves its way across the hillside, fields that show the rolling rhythm of the land, and the horse and cart making its way up the rutted dirt road.
Jackson paints the land with a warm palette of gold and the brown of exposed earth. Looking closer, we see tones of pale green, orange and pink, which add dimension to the prevalent colours. A bright blue sky streaked with pale lines of clouds adds light and contrast to the painting. It is not surprising that Jackson wrote that this work was viewed with pleasure during its exhibition, as it is a magnificent and classic Quebec work by this Group of Seven master.

Estimate: $150,000 - $250,000

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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