ALEXANDER YOUNG JACKSON, O.S.A., R.C.A.
AMETHYST LAKE, THE RAMPARTS
gouache on paper board
signed; titled on the reverse
sight 18.75 ins x 16.25 ins; 47.6 cms x 41.3 cms
In 1924, A.Y. Jackson (1882 - 1974) took one of three important sketching trips with his friend and colleague Lawren Harris - to Algoma in the spring, Jasper in the summer and Lake Superior in the fall. From this 1924 summer trip, Harris produced many of his best loved sketches and paintings of mountain subjects but far less was produced, or little remains of works, by A.Y. Jackson. In fact, the artist's niece and chronicler, Naomi Jackson Groves references the rarity of work from A.Y.’s visit to the Rockies which she insists "enhances the importance of the extant examples." Of the few larger canvases that were produced by Jackson, we understand that at least one was thrown into the furnace of the Studio Building as Jackson attempted to high-grade his output.
On that 1924 summer trip, the artists visited two spots, Maligne Lake and the Valley of the Tonquin where lies "the mighty Ramparts", with their glaciers and treeless valley, so beautifully rendered in this lot. Ostensibly, the purposes of the trip was to produce material that could then be shown to executives at the CNR for use in marketing western Canada to tourists. Groves writes that works from this trip "formed part of a grandiose Harris-Jackson plan to collaborate on a set of large, strong, non-photographic panoramic murals for the Canadian National Railway, a project which the latter favored highly but never commissioned. A minor outcome of the studies was a travel brochure to which Jackson contributed six colour drawings.”
This work, which was once owned by printer, Charles Matthews of Sampson Matthews, may have been one of the works produced for that brochure.
Naomi Jackson Groves, A.Y.'s Canada, Clarke, Irwin and Company Limited, Toronto / Vancouver, 1968, page 150 and page 151 for a related pencil drawing entitled Ramparts in the Tonquin, dated to 1924, reproduced.
Wayne Larsen, A.Y. Jackson: The Life of a Landscape Painter, Dundurn Press, Toronto 2009, pages 123-125 for a discussion of the 1924 trip with Lawren Harris.
Collection of Charles Matthews
Private Collection, Orillia (by descent)