Artwork by Alexander Young Jackson,  Madawaska

A.Y. Jackson

oil on canvas
signed lower left; signed and inscribed “From a sketch made at Madawaska, Ont. 1967” on the reverse
20 x 26 ins ( 50.8 x 66 cms )

Sold for $69,000.00
Sale date: May 25th 2017

Private Collection, Calgary
The rural community of Madawaska is situated south-east of Algonquin Park along the Madawaska River. An ideal area for camping, canoeing and hiking, Madawaska afforded Jackson both the rugged barren Canadian landscape and small villages the artist sought to explore in his artistic practice.

The village at the base of the hill showcases the individuality and pragmatic simplicity of the dwellings through the brightly-coloured roofs and sidings. The surrounding landscape works as a more neutral backdrop of the homes and structures, focusing the viewer's attention on the trace of human existence within the landscape rather than a void vista. The importance of life in rural communities was central to many of Jackson's works and was a subject which was integral to his oeuvre. An avid outdoorsman, Jackson was acutely aware of his role within the landscape as an active participant; rather than omit the villages, communities and settlements within the Canadian land, he instead sought to elevate the importance of human existence, resilience and reliance on the land in these more remote locales.

“Madawaska” incorporates the artist's signature stylistic handling of the paint with long fluid brush strokes to highlight the curve and form of every compositional element. The hills, clouds and snow are all captured with a lyrical fluidity while the village below has been depicted in a decidedly more linear fashion, highlighting this notion of one's role both in and on the landscape. An advocate for conveying colour, the vibrant canvas holds a whimsical charm while honouring the distinctive personality of the town and its inhabitants.

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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.