FRANK HANS JOHNSTON, O.S.A., A.R.C.A.
NORTHERN MORNING IN MARCH, IN THE NORTHERN NIPIGON COUNTRY
oil on masonite
signed; titled on the artist’s label on the reverse
24 ins x 36 ins; 61 cms x 91.4 cms
Burford astutely notes Johnston's reputation as a painter who excelled in capturing "the elusive beauty of light effects.” Remarking on his northern paintings, Burford suggests: "Perhaps the thrill of danger and the isolation were an integral and necessary part of Johnston's heady experience of painting the northland; numerous stories circulated in the press and among Toronto's artistic community of his being lost in snow, or in impenetrable bush, or being snowed in with diminishing supplies. But whatever the case, he continued to study the nature of snow and light in painting trips in northern Quebec, and in the country around Lake Nipigon, throughout the 1930s, through which he developed his very special facility for painting the effect of light and shadow on snow, a theme which informs some of his most popular work from that period." Whether the stories of northern hardship were authentic or a clever marketing tool, paintings such as this lot, nevertheless, irrefutably exemplify Johnston's mastery of the effects of light and shadow on snow.
Roger Burford Mason, A Grand Eye for Glory: The Life of Franz Johnston, Dundurn Press, Toronto/Oxford, 1998, page 62.
Private Collection, Toronto