ALEXANDER YOUNG JACKSON, O.S.A., R.C.A.
GREAT BEAR LAKE, 1938
oil on panel
signed; also signed, titled and dated 1938 on the reverse
10.5 ins x 13.5 ins; 26.7 cms x 34.3 cms
While A.Y. Jackson had travelled west prior to 1938 - he had visited the Northwest Territories in the 1920s in the company of Dr. Frederick Banting - Jackson admitted that he had never made any serious effort to paint the region. This changed after 1937. He found the landscape intriguing but highly challenging after the more crowded subject matter of his northern Ontario sketching grounds.
Anna Hudson reminds us that in Jackson's day much of the northeast region of today's Northwest Territories was still unmapped. Not being the kind of man to shy away from adventure, Jackson accepted an invitation from Gilbert La Bine to visit La Bine's Eldorado Mines at Port Radium on Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territories. He sketched there from August 26th until the end of September 1938. Dr. Hudson writes: "'Canada's finest virgin territory' sparked Jackson's sense of adventure for painterly conquest."
In his autobiography, Jackson reminisces about his rambles around Great Bear Lake in the company of a little Scotch terrier belonging to the mine manager: "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.Y. Jackson, A Painter's Country, Clarke, Irwin & Company, Toronto, 1958, pages 123, 124 and 126.
Anna Hudson, "The Legend of Johnny Chinook: A.Y. Jackson in the Canadian West and Northwest" in Catharine M. Mastin (general editor), The Group of Seven in Western Canada, Key Porter in association with The Glenbow Museum, Calgary, 2002, page 124.
Peter Ohler Fine Arts Ltd., Vancouver
Private Collection, Edmonton