Indian Graves, Echo Bay by Alexander Young Jackson
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Consignor Canadian Fine Art
326 Dundas St West
Toronto ON M5T 1G5
Indian Graves, Echo Bay
oil on board
signed lower right; titled, dated “Sept. 1950” and inscribed “Great Bear Lake”, “Walter Stewart”, “Burt Richardson” and “Canvas 20 x 26” (the sizing crossed out) on the reverse
10.25 x 13.5 ins ( 26 x 34.3 cms )
Estimated: $15,000.00 - $20,000.00
B.T. Richardson, Toronto
Masters Gallery, Calgary
Private Collection, Calgary
A.Y. Jackson, A Painter's Country: The Autobiography of A.Y. Jackson, Toronto, 1959, pages 28, 89-90 and 154
Naomi Jackson Groves, A.Y.'s Canada, Toronto/Vancouver, 1968, pages 154 and 212
While first travelling to the Echo Bay area in the late 1920s with Dr. James MacKintosh Bell, Jackson returned to this area throughout his career. In fact, he and Bell contributed to the discovery of silver in the area and were credited with their findings upon the opening of various earth metal mines in the surrounding areas. In this composition, the viewer bears witness to the vibrant and varied streaked hues of green, cobalt and copper in the rocky shoreline indebted to the once rich area of natural minerals. The location and choice of composition is unique as the artist merged both his love of the untouched land but also his respect for Native culture. The burial structure remains the central focus of the artwork, adorned with Christian crosses as visual tokens of Catholic missionaries and priests acting as the most recent custodians of the area.
Jackson built off of his experiences in Hazelton, British Columbia, working with Native Peoples through a national program to highlight the need for preservation of Native arts. Sketching the remnants of Native culture, the artist respected and appreciated the histories and artwork disappearing as a cause of European settlement. Often sketching totem poles, settlements, burials and the daily life, the artist recognized the fragility of these visual symbols of culture and the importance of their remnants to keep the memory and history alive.
Like Emily Carr in British Columbia, Jackson also created poetic and rhythmic intersections of the landscape tradition in Canada while maintaining a respect and inclusion of Native histories. The very inclusion of these visual narratives speaks to the artist's active appreciation and acknowledgement of these histories. This work symbolizes past narratives, the resiliency of these cultural representations and their place within the greater Canadian landscape.
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Alexander Young Jackson
(1882 - 1974) Group of Seven, OSA, RCA
Born in Montreal, Alexander Young Jackson left school at the age of twelve and began work at a Montreal printing firm. In 1906, he undertook art studies at the Art Institute in Chicago. The following year he enrolled at the Academie Julian in Paris and remained in France until 1912. During this period his painting was strongly influenced by the Impressionists. After his return to Canada, Jackson took up residence in Montreal and made many sketching trips to the surrounding countryside. Harris and MacDonald were impressed by Jackson's work and, in 1913, persuaded him to move to Toronto. Jackson's great sense of adventure carried him from the east coast across Canada to the Rocky Mountains of the west. He made regular sketching trips to Quebec every spring and travelled to the far regions of Canada during the summer, including the Canadian Arctic. In the fall he would return to the Studio Building in Toronto (where he lived until 1955), spending the winters painting canvases. He continued this active lifestyle until he was in his eighties.