Artwork by Alexander Young Jackson,  Sun and Fog, Great Bear Lake

A.Y. Jackson
Sun and Fog, Great Bear Lake

oil on board
signed lower right; titled, dated 1938 and inscribed “J.S. McLean” on the reverse
10.5 x 13.5 ins ( 26.7 x 34.3 cms )

Sold for $20,060.00
Sale date: May 28th 2019

Gordon A. Davies, Toronto
By descent to the present Private Collection, Ontario
A.Y. Jackson, A Painter’s Country, Vancouver/Toronto, 1958, pages 122-23
A.Y. Jackson was invited by mining prospector and promoter Gilbert La Bine to his Eldorado Gold Mine and to Great Bear Lake, where he had discovered a valuable pitchblende (radium) deposit in 1930. In this oil painting Jackson depicts a mining village he visited during this trip in 1938. The artist reminisces about the exciting journey he took to get to the Northwest Territories in his autobiography, writing:

“In 1938 [La Bine] asked me if I would like to visit his Eldorado Mine. Ten years earlier I had been as far as Yellowknife and I always had a yearning to see what kind of country lay beyond. I accepted his invitation to travel on the Company’s plane from Edmonton to the mine. [...] We stopped for the night at Fort Smith, then followed the Slave River to Great Slave Lake. From Great Slave Lake to Great Bear Lake the land seemed to be half water; there were lakes of every shape and size as there is not very much rain in that country. [...] We arrived at the radium mine, a little centre of industry in a great empty wilderness. I spent six weeks at Eldorado, from August into October. The weather was lovely. I wandered over the rocky hills, which were easy to traverse. There were patches of spruce and small birch, and muskeg lakes, but mostly open rock.”

A commercial artist based in Toronto during the early part of the 20th century, Gordon Albert Davies (1890-1982) was a friend and associate of several prominent Canadian artists, including members of the Group of Seven. Davies’ work is included in major Canadian collections, including the National Gallery of Canada.

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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.