JAMES EDWARD HERVEY MACDONALD, O.S.A., R.C.A.
oil on board
signed with initials; titled on the reverse
8 ins x 10 ins; 20.3 cms x 25.4 cms
A.Y. Jackson wrote that J.E.H. MacDonald was “a designer before he was a painter as is evident in almost everything he painted.”
Some of the finest examples of MacDonald’s work use a technique that gives a nod to the design direction taken in Japanese ukiyo-e, the popularity of which had an enormous influence on Impressionist and post-Impressionist movements worldwide, including Art Nouveau, with which MacDonald was deeply familiar.
In this lot, we see MacDonald placing the subject of the painting - the vase of nasturtiums - in the upper right corner of the composition. The decision to concentrate the action off-centre packs an aesthetic punch. There is correspondence between this painting and other major works such as Morning Shadows (Art Gallery of Ontario). In both works, J.E.H.’s design impulse is dramatic, deliberate and effective.
A.Y. Jackson, A Painter’s Country: The Autobiography of A.Y. Jackson, Clarke, Irwin & Company Limited, Canada, 1958, page 25.
Private Collection, Ontario