Wolf in Winter by Alfred Joseph Casson
Preview this item at:
Consignor Canadian Fine Art
326 Dundas St West
Toronto ON M5T 1G5
Wolf in Winter
gouache on card
signed lower right
8.5 x 10.25 ins ( 21.6 x 26 cms ) ( image )
Estimated: $5,000.00 - $7,000.00
Acquired directly from the Artist
By descent to the current Private Collection, Ontario
A.J. Casson, “The Possibilities of Silk Screen Reproduction,” Canadian Art, Volume 7, Number 1, 1949, pages 12-14
For the artist, the silkscreen process was not simply a means to commercially mass produce. Rather, the artist respected the labour-intensive process and was a champion for the medium to be tested and recognized as a distinct and high art form. He argued that its use in commercial art in the 1930s tainted the art form as a respected art practice and maintained that artists should continue to explore the medium's possibilities in fine art.
This work is the original preparatory work for the later-produced silk screen designed especially for the Canadian Malting Company Ltd. Strong supporters of Canada’s wildlife and protecting their environments, the project was initiated by the company to gift silkscreen works of wildlife to the company’s employees and clients. Pin holes, colour testing, and artist’s original inscriptions are all still visible from the artist’s process work within the margins of this original gouache work.
While preparing for the silkscreen process, Casson worked with up to fifteen colours—here in “Wolf in Winter” there are eleven in total. He was careful to select imagery and colours that could easily be reproduced without losing the integrity of the original composition. Forms were simplified but designed so colours could easily be seen at a distance, maintaining strong contrast and vibrancy. Importantly, there is little variation between the artist’s gouache work and the final silkscreen imagery.
As Casson often discarded draft and preparatory works while he was working on commercial projects, it is a rarity to have an original preparatory work for a larger unique body of work from the artist.
Register to Bid
To participate in our auction in person, by phone or to leave an absentee bid, please register below.
Already have an account? Sign-In
Get updates or additional information on this itemWatch This Item Ask a Question Request Condition Report
Share this item with your friends
Alfred Joseph Casson
(1898 - 1992) Group of Seven, PRCA, OSA, CSPW
When the young A.J. Casson first took a position as design assistant to Franklin Carmichael at the firm of Rous and Mann, he could not have known the remarkable direction his career would take. The demanding but affable Carmichael became a friend, mentor and sketching companion. In fact, it was Carmichael who introduced Alfred Casson to members of the Group of Seven at Toronto’s Arts and Letters Club. The dedicated artist began to exhibit with the Group and became a natural successor to Frank Johnston when he left to pursue other interests.
In his depiction of the more settled areas of southern Ontario, A.J. Casson was deliberately seeking out subject matter that set his work apart from the preferred material of other Group of Seven members. Alfred Casson’s strong design background shaped a unique painting style, characterized by graceful lines and carefully considered compositions. With the passing of time his style underwent a subtle change in which pattern became an essential element in his work.
In addition to his dedication to excellence in his own work, A.J. Casson was instrumental in the formation of important Canadian art organizations such as the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour, the Canadian Group of Painters and the WWII War Artists Program. There can be no doubt that over a long career, which spanned much of the twentieth century, Alfred Joseph Casson left an indelible mark on the Canadian art landscape.
- 1898 Alfred Joseph Casson born in Toronto
- 1912 Studies at Hamilton Technical School under John S. Gordon
- 1913 Apprenticeship at the Laidlaw Lithography Company in Hamilton, Ont.
- 1914 Apprenticeship at Commercial Engravers Company
- 1915 Freelance designer
- 1915-1917 Studies at Toronto Central Technical College under Alfred Howell
- 1918-1921 Studies at the Ontario College of Art under J.W. Beatty
- 1919-1926 Assistant Designer to Franklin Carmichael at the design firm of Rous and Mann Ltd.
- 1920 Carmichael introduces Casson to Group of Seven members at Toronto’s Arts and Letters Club
- 1921 Exhibits for the first time with the Ontario Society of Artists; accompanies Carmichael on an extended painting trip to Rosseau Lake in the Muskoka district
- 1922 Exhibits for the first time with the Group of Seven
- 1923 “Clearing”, is purchased by the National Gallery of Canada; becomes a member of the Ontario Society of Artists
- 1925 Founding member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour together with Franklin Carmichael and F.H. Brigden
- 1926 Becomes a member of the Group of Seven upon the departure of Frank Johnston; accompanies Franklin Carmichael to the design firm of Sampson-Matthews; becomes an associate member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts; buys a car and begins to explore the small villages and hamlets of Southern Ontario
- 1926-1930 Sketches in the regions of Haliburton and Lake Superior
- 1928 Sketching trip to Lake Superior with A.Y. Jackson, Lawren Harris and Franklin Carmichael
- 1933 Co-founds the Canadian Group of Painters after the dissolution of the Group of Seven, following the death of J.E.H. MacDonald
- 1936 Anglican Church at Magnetawan is purchased by the National Gallery of Canada
- 1939 Becomes a full member of the RCA
- 1939-1945 Appointed as a member of Canada’s War Records Committee; helps to establish the WWII War Artists Program
- 1940 Elected President of the Ontario Society of Artists
- 1942 Appointed Art Director of Sampson-Matthews
- 1946 Appointed Vice-President of Sampson-Matthews
- 1949 Publishes “The Possibilities of Silk Screen Reproduction” in Canadian Art magazine
- 1948 Elected President of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts; receives the Province of Ontario Award
- 1954 Awarded the Gold Medal for Excellence in Canadian Advertising
- 1955-1959 Appointed Vice-President of the Art Gallery of Ontario
- 1957 Retires from Sampson-Matthews in order to pursue painting on a full-time basis; awarded Gold Medal from the University of Alberta
- 1967 Awarded Canada’s Silver Centennial Medal
- 1970 Awarded the Royal Canadian Academy Medal; conferred with an Honourary LL.D. from the University of Western Ontario
- 1971 Conferred with an Honourary Degree from the University of Saskatchewan
- 1973 Becomes a Fellow of the Ontario College of Art; awarded the City of Toronto Award of Merit for distinguished public service
- 1975 Conferred with an Honourary LL.D. from the University of Toronto
- 1977 Awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal
- 1979 Awarded the Order of Canada
- 1980 Conferred with an D.F.A. from Mount Allison University
- 1982 Conferred with an Honourary LL.D. from McMaster University
- 1991 Awarded the Order of Ontario
- 1992 Dies in Toronto at the age of 93