Untitled

Alexander Young (A.Y.) Jackson
  • Date: c. 1948
  • Medium: oil on wood panel
  • Dimensions: 25 x 32.4 cm
  • Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John H. Moore, London, Ontario through the Ontario Heritage Foundation, 1978
  • Permanent Collection ID: 78.A.82A&B

Untitled

Alexander Young (A.Y.) Jackson

A.Y. Jackson travelled extensively and energetically throughout Canada. In the 1940s alone, he painted along the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, sketched near 100 Mile House in British Columbia, and trekked up the Alaska Highway. For this reason it is difficult to identify precisely the location of this landscape, an untitled oil sketch tentatively dated to 1948. The height of the hills and flat expanse of dry earth suggest it may have emerged from Jackson’s travels in Alberta or along the Alberta-British Columbia border, an area which Jackson depicted in the undated painting Czech Farm, Fernie, B.C., also in the Museum London Collection.

Jackson’s use of colour is notable here. In the acidic greens and sunflower yellows he recalls the paintings of Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne, Post-Impressionist painters which Jackson once called “gods”1 of the Group of Seven. Jackson’s art studies in France from 1907 to 1912 left an indelible influence on his artistic career, even when he realized their teachings were, at times, wholly inadequate. When faced with the brutality of World War I, Jackson, an official war artist commissioned by the Canadian War Memorials Fund, found “visual impressions were not enough.” A different technique was called for when “the old heroics, the death and glory stuff, were gone forever.”2

1. quoted in Ross King, “What Tom Thomson Saw,” The Walrus (Nov. 2010), 49.

2. quoted in http://www.warmuseum.ca/cwm/exhibitions/canvas/activit/cw_g7_e.pdf