Artwork by Frank Hans Johnston,  March Midnight

Franz Johnston
March Midnight

oil on board
signed lower left; titled on the reverse
12 x 16 ins ( 30.5 x 40.6 cms )

Sold for $12,650.00
Sale date: November 25th 2015

Provenance:
Private Collection, Ottawa
Literature:
Roger Burford Mason, “A Grand Eye For Glory: A Life of Franz Johnston”, Toronto, 1998, pages 69-70
In a “Grand Eye for Glory”, Roger Burford Mason provides a story told by Jack McCurdy, a friend of Johnston and the owner of a fishing camp on Onaman Lake where Johnston regularly visited to paint. McCurdy witnessed Johnston painting another winter nocturne scene, the frigid temperature keeping Johnston from sketching outside. “McCurdy remembers Johnston's modus operandi with amusement: he would rush outside to look at the spectacle for a few moments, and then rush back inside the cabin to paint”, the artist working this way from early evening until two o'clock in the morning to complete his work. Given his mastery of effectively capturing such challenging scenes, it is no wonder that Franz Johnston put in such effort.
Collected during a Valuation Day in Ottawa, “March Midnight” more than doubled its opening bid during the November 2015 Auction of Important Canadian Art.

Share this item with your friends

Frank Hans Johnston
(1888 - 1949) Group of Seven, OSA, ARCA, CSPWC

"In Johnston one can almost see the sound swelling into the vastness of infinity. The small panel is no restriction to the eye and one stands among the stars of timeless space. Dancing formless light, subaqueous in feeling, ephemeral as Aurora Borealis. It holds one motionless in moving space." Frank (Franz) Johnston was born in Toronto and like many other Group members, he joined Grip Ltd. as a commercial artist. In 1910, he left for the United States where he studied art in Philadelphia and worked in commercial design in New York. Although an original member of the Group, Johnston's association was a brief one. He did exhibit in the exhibition of 1920, but by 1921 he had left Toronto to become Principal at the Winnipeg School of Art. In the earlier years of their friendship, Johnston had joined MacDonald and Harris on their journeys to Algoma. His paintings from those years express a strong decorative interpretation of the landscape. In later years, the artist's style became more realistic and revealed a strong fascination with the qualities of light. In 1927, Johnston changed his name to the more exotic title of 'Franz' Johnston and found some success in commercial art galleries, where he was free from association with any formal group of artists.