Artwork by Ted Harrison,  Carcross

Ted Harrison

acrylic on board
signed and dated 1977 lower right; signed, titled, dated 1977 and inscribed “Whitehorse-Yukon” on a copy of a label affixed to the reverse
16.5 x 24 ins ( 41.9 x 61 cms )

Sold for $20,700.00
Sale date: December 14th 2016

Private Collection, Alberta
Stan McNeill, “The Yukon Territory is Painter's Shangri-La”, “The Hamilton Spectator”, October 18, 1980, page 88
Ted Harrison recalled that it was an advertisement in a United Kingdom newspaper which first brought the artist to Canada's north, filling a teaching position on the Alberta Indian reservation of Wabasca. Disappointed by the relative flatness of the surrounding landscape, Harrison jumped at the chance to fill another position in Carcross, a village south of Whitehorse. The painter immediately accepted the position upon confirmation that Carcross was surrounded by mountains, leaving questions regarding his salary as secondary. The Yukon landscape inspired and challenged Harrison: “Never before had I attempted to paint a landscape so gigantic in scale, whose colors dictated to me not only what I should paint but also on what terms I should paint them.” The artist laid aside the formal artistic training he had received as an academic painter in the old tradition and concentrated on “simplifying his work and creating a personal style.”

In a letter to the original owners of this artwork, Harrison describes the subject matter:

“Your painting depicts my favourite village of Carcross in an evening setting. Bennett Lake is behind and the Caribou Hotel occupies the central position. The villagers are packing water, running around and each is occupied with their own business. The purple moon hangs low in the sky and the mountains are silhouetted against the evening sky. This is the time of day which I always loved in Carcross. It is the subtle moment in time when day is fading and the evening has not yet arrived. The world surrounding the village is hushed and still whilst the villagers prepare to move into their homes for the evening.”

A photocopy of the March 1977 letter from Ted Harrison to the original owners of “Carcross” is included with this lot.

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Ted Harrison
(1926 - 2015) Order of Canada

Edward Hardy Harrison was born August 28th, 1926 in the village of Wingate in County Durham, England. Ted attributed his early interest in art and design to the encouragement from his parents, particularly his mother who had an interest in fashion design and photography. In 1943, he enrolled in the West Hartlepool College of Art and began to study art and design, but like other young men at the time, his education was interrupted by National Service. After the war, he returned to art school and, in 1950, received a Diploma of Design. The following year he received a teaching certificate from the University of Durham and began a twenty-eight year career in Education. He taught school in England, Malaysia, New Zealand and finally went to the Yukon in 1967 where he received a teaching position. He settled in Carcross and in 1970 moved to Whitehorse where he taught art to secondary school students and adults until 1979. After that time, he began to work as an artist full time. In 1993, he moved to Victoria, British Columbia, where he lived the remainder of his life.