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Audra Branigan ~ Client Services and Accounts Lisa Christensen ~ Calgary Representative Jasmin D’Aigle and Max Meyer ~ Digital Imaging Kate Galicz ~ Director of Appraisal Services Andrew Gibbs ~ Ottawa Representative Brian Goble ~ Director of Digital Imaging Jennifer Heffel ~ Auction Assistant Patsy Kim Heffel ~ Director of Accounting Elizabeth Hilson and Anthea Song ~ Administrative Assistants François Hudon ~ Client Services Lindsay Jackson ~ Manager of Toronto Office Lauren Kratzer ~ Director of Art Index and Manager of Shipping Bobby Ma, John Maclean and Anders Oinonen ~ Internal Logistics Alison Meredith ~ Director of Consignments Jill Meredith ~ Director of Online Auction Sales Jamey Petty ~ Director of Shipping and Framing Kirbi Pitt ~ Director of Advertising and Marketing Tania Poggione ~ Director of Montreal Office Olivia Ragoussis ~ Manager of Montreal Office Judith Scolnik ~ Director of Toronto Office Rosalin Te Omra ~ Director of Fine Canadian Art Research Goran Urosevic ~ Director of Information Services
Dr. Mark Cheetham, Lisa Christensen, Dr. François~Marc Gagnon, Andrew Gibbs, Lindsay Jackson, Lauren Kratzer, Max Meyer, Joan Murray and Rosalin Te Omra ~ Essay Contributors Brian Goble ~ Director of Digital Imaging David Heffel, Robert Heffel, Iris Schindel and Rosalin Te Omra ~ Text Editing, Catalogue Production Jasmin D’Aigle and Max Meyer ~ Digital Imaging Jill Meredith and Kirbi Pitt ~ Catalogue Layout and Production
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Heffel Fine Art Auction House is a division of Heffel Gallery Limited. Together, our offices offer individuals, collectors, corporations and public entities a full service firm for the successful de~acquisition of their artworks. Interested parties should contact us to arrange for a private and confidential appointment to discuss their preferred method of disposition and to analyse preliminary auction estimates, pre~sale reserves and consignment procedures. This service is offered free of charge.
If you are from out of town, or are unable to visit us at our premises, we would be pleased to assess the saleability of your artworks by mail, courier or e~mail. Please provide us with photographic or digital reproductions of the artworks and information pertaining to title, artist, medium, size, date, provenance, etc. Representatives of our firm travel regularly to major Canadian cities to meet with Prospective Sellers.
It is recommended that property for inclusion in our sale arrive at Heffel Fine Art Auction House at least 90 days prior to our auction. This allows time to photograph, research, catalogue, promote and complete any required work such as re~framing, cleaning or restoration. All property is stored free of charge until the auction; however, insurance is the Consignor’s expense.
Consignors will receive, for completion, a Consignment Agreement and Consignment Receipt, which set forth the terms and fees for our services. The Seller’s Commission rates charged by Heffel Fine Art Auction House are as follows: 10% of the successful Hammer Price for each Lot sold for $7,500 and over; 15% for Lots sold for $2,500 to $7,499; and 25% for Lots sold for less than $2,500. Consignors are entitled to set a mutually agreed Reserve or minimum selling price on their artworks. Heffel Fine Art Auction House charges no Seller’s penalties for artworks that do not achieve their Reserve price.
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If you are unable to attend our auction in person, you can bid by completing the Absentee Bid Form found on page 134 of this catalogue. Please note that all Absentee Bid Forms should be received by Heffel Fine Art Auction House at least 24 hours prior to the commencement of the sale.
Bidding by telephone, although limited, is available. Please make arrangements for this service well in advance of the sale. Telephone lines are assigned in order of the sequence in which requests are received. We also recommend that you leave an Absentee Bid amount that we will execute on your behalf in the event we are unable to reach you by telephone.
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Bidding typically begins below the low estimate and generally advances in the following bid increments:
$100 ~ 2,000 .............................. $100 INCREMENTS
As a Consignor, it may be advantageous for you to have your artwork re~framed and/or cleaned and restored to enhance its saleability. As a Buyer, your recently acquired artwork may demand a frame complementary to your collection. As a full service organization, we offer guidance and in~house expertise to facilitate these needs. Buyers who acquire items that require local delivery or out of town shipping should refer to our Shipping Form for Purchases on page 133 of this publication. Please feel free to contact us to assist you in all of your requirements or to answer any of your related questions. Full completion of our Shipping Form is required prior to purchases being released by Heffel.
Written valuations and appraisals for probate, insurance, family division and other purposes can be carried out in our offices or at your premises. Appraisal fees vary according to circumstances. If, within five years of the appraisal, valued or appraised artwork is consigned and sold through either Heffel Fine Art Auction House or Heffel Gallery Limited, the client will be refunded the appraisal fee, less incurred “out of pocket” expenses.
The Purchaser and the Consignor are hereby advised to read fully the Terms and Conditions of Business and Catalogue Terms, which set out and establish the rights and obligations of the Auction House, the Purchaser and the Consignor, and the terms by which the Auction House shall conduct the sale and handle other related matters. This information appears on pages 124 through 131 of this publication.
All Lots can be viewed on our Internet site at:
Please consult our online catalogue for information specifying which works will be present in each of our preview locations at:
If you are unable to attend our auction, we produce a live webcast of our sale commencing at 3:50 PM PDT. We do not offer real~time Internet bidding for our live auctions, but we do accept absentee and prearranged telephone bids. Information on absentee and telephone bidding appears on pages 5 and 134 of this publication.
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Our Estimates are in Canadian funds. Exchange values are subject to change and are provided for guidance only. Buying 1.00 Canadian dollar will cost approximately 1.00 US dollar, 0.78 Euro, 0.67 British pound, 97 Japanese yen or 8.10 Hong Kong dollars as of our publication date.
Featuring Works from
The PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation Property of a Vancouver Philanthropist
& other Important Private Collections
101 EMILY CARR BCSFA RCA 1871 ~ 1945
Klee Wyck Totem Lamp painted ceramic sculpture, signed Klee Wyck, circa 1924 ~ 1926 8 x 5 x 5 in, 20.3 x 12.7 x 12.7 cm
PROVENANCE: Private Collection, Ontario
LITERATURE: Gerta Moray, Unsettling Encounters, First Nations Imagery in the Art of Emily Carr, 2006, page 280, a circa 1924 ~ 1929 beaver table lamp reproduced page 280, figure 11.5
During the period when Emily Carr was virtually not painting, one of the multitude of things she did to make a living was to produce pottery
painted with native motifs. One of the most rewarding aspects for her in this process was in the researching of Haida motifs, from books such as John Swanton’s Ethnography of the Haida and museums such as the National Museum in Ottawa. Gerta Moray writes, “She transferred the two~dimensional designs used by the Haida on hats or on argillite plates to the surfaces of large ceramic bowls and platters, and she made lamp stands in the form of miniature totem posts of bears and beavers.” This is an outstanding beaver motif totem lamp base ~ the stylized beaver is quite animated, and its eyes have a great sense of presence. Carr’s identification with First Nations people was very strong during this period ~ she surrounded herself with her paintings of native villages and totems, and in her attic bedroom she painted two great bird forms from the ’Yalis cemetery, which she slept beneath. Carr stated, “They made ‘strong talk’ for me, as my Indian friends would say.”
ESTIMATE: $8,000 ~ 12,000
102 EMILY CARR BCSFA RCA 1871 ~ 1945
Klee Wyck Dogfish Bowl painted ceramic sculpture, signed Klee Wyck, circa 1924 ~ 1926 5 1/2 x 5 1/4 x 2 in, 14 x 13.3 x 5.1 cm
PROVENANCE: Private Collection, Toronto
LITERATURE: Maria Tippett, Emily Carr, A Biography, 1979, page 136
Emily Carr signed her ceramic works Klee Wyck, meaning “Laughing One”, a name given to her by West Coast First Nations people. She was involved in all the stages of making her ceramic objects, which included
candlesticks, lamp bases, totems and vessels. She dug blue clay from the Dallas Road cliffs, bringing it home in her wicker pram. After molding her objects by hand, she fired them in her homemade backyard kiln. Each firing of this primitive kiln required Carr’s oversight for 12 to 14 hours, and she declared it caused her much “agony, suspense, sweat”. Finally, native designs were applied to the work with enamel paint. In this colourful ceramic piece, Carr inventively painted her dogfish motif into the curve of the bowl as though it is coiled up in its sea environment.
As well as selling her work in Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary and Banff, Carr found a market in Eastern Canada ~ at a craft sale in Toronto, the Château Laurier in Ottawa and the Canadian Handicraft Guild in Montreal.
ESTIMATE: $6,000 ~ 8,000
Castle Towers ~ Garibaldi Park, BC oil on board, signed and dated 1943 and on verso signed and titled 12 x 14 7/8 in, 30.5 x 37.8 cm
PROVENANCE: Acquired directly from the Artist By descent to the present Private Collection, Vancouver
LITERATURE: Joyce Zemans, Jock Macdonald: The Inner Landscape / A Retrospective Exhibition, Art Gallery of Ontario, 1981, page 101, the related 1943 canvas entitled Castle Towers Garibaldi Park reproduced page 103 and listed page 282
EXHIBITED: Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Jock Macdonald: The Inner Landscape / A Retrospective Exhibition, 1981, traveling in 1981 ~ 1982 to the Art Gallery of Windsor, The Edmonton Art Gallery, the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Vancouver Art Gallery, the related 1943 canvas entitled Castle Towers Garibaldi Park, catalogue #30
Jock Macdonald taught at the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts until 1933, when he and Group of Seven painter Frederick Varley formed the British Columbia College of Arts. Both artists painted together at Garibaldi in 1929 and 1934. After their school closed, Macdonald spent several years living simply at Nootka Sound on Vancouver Island, before returning to Vancouver in 1936 to teach and paint. For the next decade, before turning to abstraction, the landscape would dominate his work. In the early 1940s Lawren Harris moved to Vancouver, and Macdonald and Harris went on sketching trips together and exchanged ideas about the Transcendental movement and theories from the leading proponents of spiritualism. Macdonald spent the summers of 1942 and 1943 in Garibaldi Park, and the effect of these influences can be seen in stunning works such as this, in which the formal and spiritual merge in the magnificent mountain forms and glowing light. Macdonald exclaimed that the nearby Sphinx Glacier “was the most powerful force I have ever seen outside the mountainous waters of the open Pacific”, and here found a cosmic oneness with nature.
ESTIMATE: $12,000 ~ 16,000
Kalamalka Lake (Looking South), Okanagan, BC
oil on canvas board, signed and dated 1945 and on verso signed, titled, dated and inscribed 44779 12 x 14 1/2 in, 30.5 x 36.8 cm
PROVENANCE: Acquired directly from the Artist By descent to the present Private Collection, Vancouver
LITERATURE: Joyce Zemans, Jock Macdonald, The Inner Landscape / A Retrospective Exhibition, Art Gallery of Ontario, 1981, page 107
In the Art Gallery of Ontario’s retrospective exhibition catalogue, Joyce Zemans writes of Jock Macdonald’s Interior works: “The Okanagan seems
to have elicited a new vision, and the grandeur of the Rockies and of Garibaldi gave way to softer forms. The darkening clouds of a summer storm or the brilliant light of the summer sun along with a rich, brightly coloured palette create vibrant colour harmonies to unify these paintings.” This fine Okanagan panorama is a nostalgic reminder of a time when Interior lakes like Kalamalka were only sparsely populated. The successive layers of benchlands and steep hills plunging into the lake tapering off to shadowy blue mountains in the distance are a pure and tranquil expression of the beauty of this Mediterranean~like area of British Columbia’s Interior region. In 1944, Macdonald’s Okanagan paintings were featured in a one~man exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery, which was critically well~received. The National Gallery of Canada has one of Macdonald’s Okanagan canvases among the group of his works in its collection, dated 1944 ~ 1945 and entitled Thunder Clouds Over Okanagan Lake.
ESTIMATE: $10,000 ~ 15,000
“Victory” Garden, Rutland, BC oil on canvas board, on verso signed, titled and dated 1944 12 x 14 7/8 in, 30.5 x 37.8 cm
PROVENANCE: Acquired directly from the Artist By descent to the present Private Collection, Vancouver
During World War II, victory gardens of vegetables and fruits were planted at both private residences and public spaces such as parks, intended to supplement the public food supply during wartime ~ particularly in Britain where food was rationed. This also occurred in
the United States and Canada, as indicated in the title of this fine painting. This grassroots drive was a tremendous success, increasing self~sufficiency and raising morale during wartime. Macdonald painted this scene during the summer of 1944 when he traveled to the Okanagan Valley from Vancouver. He reacted to the Okanagan’s Mediterranean climate by using softer form and a warm colour palette, and loved the quality of brilliant light in this area. Macdonald depicted this rural scene with a fine sense of rhythm in the rolling hills, and in the fences and buildings following the lines of the undulating land. Sculpted cloud formations hovering above the hills add to the peaceful, dreamy mood ~ a world away from what was happening in Britain and Europe, yet still connected through the “victory” garden.
ESTIMATE: $10,000 ~ 15,000
Sketch for Logs in the Gatineau oil on board, initialed and on verso signed, titled and dated indistinctly 1914 8 x 10 in, 20.3 x 25.4 cm
PROVENANCE: Pickering College, Newmarket, Ontario Sold sale of Important Canadian Art, Sotheby’s Canada, November 18, 1986, lot 352; Private Collection, Ontario By descent to the present Private Collection, Ontario
LITERATURE: Paul Duval, The Tangled Garden: The Art of J.E.H. MacDonald, 1978, page 53, the related 1915 canvas entitled Logs on the Gatineau, in the collection of the Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, reproduced page 67
In 1914, J.E.H. MacDonald began to venture further afield from his home in Toronto to paint. As he had already worked in the Laurentians, he took a March trip to Algonquin Park with J.W. Beatty, meeting up with A.Y. Jackson who was already camping and sketching there. After this, MacDonald explored the area around Minden, north of Toronto, and later in that same year painted “a series of brilliant on~the~spot studies” along the banks of the Gatineau River. One of these was “the superb sketch [in the collection of the Art Gallery of Windsor] for the major 1915 canvas, Logs on the Gatineau [in the collection of the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon],” as Paul Duval writes. Another is this fine lot. Here MacDonald gives us all of the rapid brushwork and harmonious palette that characterizes his outdoor sketches. The treatment of the logs, water and rocks on the near shore conveys the idea of a tangled, log~strewn riverbank quite nicely, while the distant hill, shore and sky are delineated with a very different brush~stroke, conveying a feeling of misty distance and softness that contrasts with the hurry and tumble of the river.
ESTIMATE: $20,000 ~ 30,000
Rocky Mountains oil on board, signed and dated 1929 and on verso signed, titled twice, dated, inscribed $75.00 / 1374 / BA286 and 49 and stamped with a 1939 National Revenue Canada customs excise stamp 8 1/2 x 10 1/2 in, 21.6 x 26.7 cm
PROVENANCE: The Right Honourable Malcolm MacDonald, Kent, England, British High Commissioner to Canada from 1941 to 1946 By descent to the present Private Collection, Toronto
To reach Lake O’Hara, J.E.H. MacDonald would have taken the train from Toronto to Hector Station in British Columbia, at the southeast end of Wapta Lake. From there, he would have gone by packhorse to Lake
O’Hara. In some years he had sufficient overlay time to take out his sketching kit, and in 1929 he had enough time explore the valley leading towards Sherbrooke Lake. This hitherto unknown sketch allows us to pinpoint another spot on the map of MacDonald’s mountain travels, and is one of less than ten known mountain sketches done outside of Lake O’Hara proper. Here, we are a distance up the trail towards Sherbrooke Lake, looking back at the glaciated peaks of Mounts Collier, Victoria and Huber. Set in a burned~over forest, the blackened tree trunks are a striking contrast to the autumn colours of the forest floor. A pine tree on the left is touched with bright yellow lichen, and the bands of turquoise in the sky serve to contain our gaze and return it to the centre of the scene.
ESTIMATE: $50,000 ~ 70,000
Mississagi oil on canvas on board, signed and on verso titled Mississauga on the Laing Galleries label and inscribed authenticated Tom Thomson by James M. MacCallum 22 / IV / 1937, circa 1912 4 1/2 x 7 in, 11.4 x 17.8 cm
PROVENANCE: Mellors Fine Arts, Toronto Laing Galleries, Toronto The Right Honourable Malcolm MacDonald, Kent, England, British High Commissioner to Canada from 1941 to 1946 By descent to the present Private Collection, Toronto
LITERATURE: Thomson to Dr. M.J. McRuer, postmarked October 17, 1912, McMichael Canadian Art Collection Archives Dr. J.M. MacCallum, “Tom Thomson: Painter of the North”, Canadian Magazine 50, No. 5, March 1918, page 376 Albert H. Robson, Tom Thomson, 1937, page 6 Joan Murray, The Best of Tom Thomson, 1986, titled as Mississauga, reproduced page 10 Joan Murray, “The World of Tom Thomson,” Journal of Canadian Studies 26, No. 3, fall 1991, reproduced page 25 Joan Murray, Tom Thomson: The Last Spring, 1994, reproduced page 61 Joan Murray, Design for a Canadian Hero, 1998, reproduced page 48
Sometimes a work of art can be a revelation. Mississagi is a painting that shows Tom Thomson learning his discipline by working in the North to create an authentic image of the country. At the same time, this quiet landscape, in shades of grey, green, light blue and black, sets an example for the artists who were his peers, acting as a conduit of energy which would become full~blown in Canadian art with the Group of Seven.
Thomson made his first major canoe trip in Northern Ontario in the summer of 1912 with English artist William Broadhead (1889 ~ 1960), a fellow artist from Grip Ltd., the commercial art firm in Toronto. This adventure inspired Thomson, though with modest means and ambition, to create bold new work. “We started in at Bisco [Biscotasing, northwest of Sudbury] and took a long trip on the lakes around there up the Spanish River and over into the Mississauga [Mississagi] water,” Thomson wrote to a friend, Dr. McRuer, the following fall. “The Mississauga is considered the finest canoe trip in the world.” Thomson and Broadhead lost most of their sketches and photographs when their boat capsized in the “forty
mile rapids near the end of the trip,” as Thomson wrote McRuer, but the few paintings that remained struck friends such as Dr. J.M. MacCallum, whom he met that autumn, with “their truthfulness, their feeling and their sympathy with the grim, fascinating northland.” They were, MacCallum wrote, “dark, muddy in colour, tight and not wanting in technical defects,” but worthy of purchase. He bought “some of the sketches fished up from the foot of the rapids.” Albert Robson, Thomson’s boss at Grip Ltd. and later at Rous & Mann Ltd. (another top commercial art firm in Toronto), also recalled the way in which these works caught the “real northern character” and showed an “intimate feeling of the country”.
Thomson’s sketches of this year, mostly ragged and rather severe distant shorelines, are recognized as the first awakenings of the Group of Seven, both philosophically, because of the way the imagery was obtained, and in subject matter. At this moment, Thomson was only four years away from the high point of his career as a painter.
Although it is difficult to identify the exact sketches Thomson painted in the Mississagi Forest Reserve in 1912, this sketch, from an early date, was almost certainly painted on this trip, or so we can believe from the inscription on the verso by MacCallum. Another early sketch was identified by Robson as having been painted on the trip ~ Drowned Land, in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada. In both works, Thomson was attracted to a simple motif, which he rendered with textured brushwork and with great sensitivity to the raw northern landscape and its often~grey skies.
The Right Honourable Malcolm MacDonald was the British High Commissioner to Canada from 1941 to 1946. Among the other works he owned by Thomson are Spring, Algonquin Park (1914) and Canoe Lake, Algonquin Park (1916).
The inscription on the verso of this sketch is proof that MacCallum was asked to authenticate and date it in April 1937, perhaps at the request of art dealer Blair Laing, who had organized a Thomson show at Mellors Fine Arts in March of that year. Mississagi may have remained with Laing until about 1940, when it was purchased by MacDonald. Since MacDonald purchased another Thomson, the above~mentioned Canoe Lake, Algonquin Park, from Laing Galleries that year, he possibly purchased Mississagi around the same time.
We thank Joan Murray for contributing the above essay. This work will be included in Murray’s forthcoming catalogue raisonné on the artist’s work.
ESTIMATE: $80,000 ~ 120,000
Leaf of Gold watercolour on paper, signed, circa 1941 13 7/8 x 20 3/4 in, 35.2 x 52.7 cm
PROVENANCE: Private Collection, Ontario
LITERATURE: Roger Boulet, The Tranquility and the Turbulence, 1981, the 1941 colour woodcut entitled Leaf of Gold reproduced page 171
Walter J. Phillips was one of Canada’s finest printmakers and watercolourists. In this sensitive composition Phillips exquisitely positioned a single branch with golden fall leaves against a backdrop
of a lake and blue~shadowed mountains. This eye for beauty shows the influence of Japanese art on his work ~ in 1925 he had studied with the Japanese master Yoshijiro Urushibara in London. This, combined with his training in the British watercolour tradition before he came to Canada, forged an exceptional command of the medium. In 1941 he executed the colour woodcut Leaf of Gold, which is virtually identical in composition to this work ~ Phillips often derived his woodcuts from drawings and watercolours. The backdrop is the Rocky Mountains. In 1940 Phillips was asked to be an instructor at the Banff Summer School, and he moved to Calgary in the fall of 1941, later building a house in Banff. Responding to the clarity of Canadian light, he worked with washes on dry paper, and consequently captured with technical virtuosity the ephemeral play of light and purity of atmosphere seen in this superb watercolour.
ESTIMATE: $15,000 ~ 25,000
Peggy’s Cove watercolour on paper, signed and dated 1956 and on verso titled on the gallery label 14 x 21 in, 35.6 x 53.3 cm
PROVENANCE: Canadian Art Galleries, Calgary Private Collection, British Columbia
Originally from England, Walter J. Phillips was steeped in the great tradition of British watercolourists such as David Cox and John Sell Cotman. Before immigrating to Canada in 1912, he undertook sketching trips throughout England and held two exhibitions of his watercolours in Salisbury. Once in Canada, Phillips settled in Winnipeg and set to painting the surrounding landscape. In his unpublished manuscript Wet Paint, Phillips describes the Canadian atmosphere as clear and dry, and his watercolours changed in response to it. Phillips was a champion of beauty in nature, and his body of work in watercolour is renowned for its
allure of image and for its technical accomplishment. Phillips’s refined use of transparent washes, which defined form and atmospheric effects, captured the clarity of light that is so distinctive in Canadian landscape.
This fine large format watercolour depicts the iconic lighthouse at Peggy’s Point in Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia. Built in 1914, it sits atop a rugged granite outcrop, and has endured the powerful crash of Atlantic surf during many winter storms. Phillips’s masterful hand with watercolour is in full evidence here, from the deft handling of texture and patterning in the rocks to delicate washes defining sand and sky. His eye for the dynamics of composition manifests in his highlighting of the lighthouse against a pale sky, and the strength of the granite outcropping on which it stands. Phillips lived in both Winnipeg and Banff, and painted primarily the Prairies, Lake of the Woods, the Rockies and the West Coast. Peggy’s Cove is a rare and splendid depiction of the East Coast.
ESTIMATE: $15,000 ~ 25,000
Village in the Rock Country oil on canvas, signed and on verso signed, titled and dated 1966 23 x 32 in, 58.4 x 81.3 cm
PROVENANCE: Roberts Gallery, Toronto Acquired from the above by Mr. Ameen Aboud By descent to the present Private Collection, Ontario
A.J. Casson joined the Group of Seven in 1926, but, as the youngest member, knew he had to forge his own identity amongst them. Acknowledging the fact that A.Y. Jackson had mastered the Quebec village, Casson turned his hand to the Ontario village ~ and these works
have contributed vitally to Casson’s stature within the Group and Canadian art history. Casson was an inveterate traveler who loved to drive to remote spots in his Willys Whippet car. He sought to capture the effects of light and shade on the landscape, but also wanted to record the architecture and atmosphere of these remote villages. This magnificent work combines two of Casson’s great strengths; his ability to bring an almost spiritual presence to the stark forms of a Northern Ontario village and his sophisticated handling of the massive Precambrian rock forms surrounding Ontario’s lakes. The scene is devoid of human activity, yet this somehow increases one’s sense of the human presence within the village. Art historian Paul Duval felt that, in this regard, Casson’s work had its parallel in the work of the well~known American artist Edward Hopper.
ESTIMATE: $90,000 ~ 120,000
Summer Landscape oil on canvas, signed 24 x 30 in, 61 x 76.2 cm
PROVENANCE: The Art Emporium, Vancouver, 1976 Private Collection, Vancouver
Having worked for Grip Ltd. and then Sampson Matthews Limited as a designer for many years, Group of Seven painter A.J. Casson had a fine eye for discerning patterning in the landscape and attaining a fine compositional balance, qualities fully manifest in Summer Landscape. Casson worked with a number of styles, one of which related to Cubism
in that a landscape element would be fractured into planes ~ as seen here in the clouds. In Summer Landscape, Casson first anchors the foreground with the large rock to the left edged by forest. He then pulls the eye down the lake along the shoreline out to the horizon and into an extraordinary space ~ an ephemeral effect created by the cloudscape of jagged layers ~ which, together with the reflection in the still surface of the lake, produce an otherworldly effect. The bluish zone at the horizon between the land forms takes the viewer into the far distance. Pale pearlescent tones in the water and clouds add to the sense of lightness and mood of transcendence in this beautiful and ethereal scene.
The proceeds from this lot will be donated by the consignor to establish a bursary for students in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia.
ESTIMATE: $50,000 ~ 70,000
The English Montreal School Board Building, 6000 Fielding Avenue, Montreal, March 2013
In our continued practice of carefully handling important estates and collections, Heffel is honoured to be entrusted with the sale of works from The Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal (PSBGM) Cultural Heritage Foundation, a non~profit body. The Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal was first incorporated in 1846 by Act of the Provincial Parliament as the Protestant Board of School Commissioners of the City of Montreal. For many years, it was the only school board serving the Protestant community on the Island of Montreal. Subsequently other Protestant school boards were established on the Island and in 1973, in addition to the Protestant Board of School Commissioners of the City of Montreal, there existed ten other school boards on the territory now served by the PSBGM. Under the school reform legislation which came into effect on July 1, 1973, the ten other school boards were merged into the Board incorporated in 1846 and the name of the Board was changed to The Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal. Quebec’s Protestant school boards served numerous ethnically diverse non~Catholic populations in the city, and established a number of schools to serve Montreal’s growing immigrant population. Baron Byng High School on St. Urbain Street was attended largely by working~class Jewish Montrealers from its establishment in 1921 until the 1950s. It no longer operates as a school, and is presently home to the Sun Youth organization. It counts among its notable alumni artists Rita Briansky,
David Silverberg, William Allister, Tobie Steinhouse and Leah Sherman. Rudolph A. Marcus, winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Louis Horlick, recipient of the Order of Canada and fellow Order of Canada recipient and Rhodes Scholar David Lewis (father of Stephen Lewis) were also students there.
In 1922, Anne Savage was hired by the Protestant Board of School Commissioners of the City of Montreal to teach at their Commercial and Technical High School. Baron Byng had opened the previous year, and after impressing the Board with her efforts at the Technical school, Savage was transferred to Baron Byng as the new school’s first art teacher. She was given a free hand with the children, and her receptive pupils were “first generation Canadians whose parents had fled the Jewish ghettos in Europe…They were hungry for knowledge and, if not especially crazy about school itself, eager to get ahead.” Savage was a gifted teacher in addition to being a gifted artist, and inspired many of her students. One student recalled, “We were all sort of in love with her…and through her had a love affair with art. I felt she had born me into the creative world.” At this time, copying the old masters was the standard method of art education, but Savage set her students to drawing from life, using each other as models, and taking them out~of~doors to sketch in the avenue of trees along Rachel Street. She also turned to fellow artist/teacher Arthur Lismer ~ who in 1922 was in the process of setting up the Children’s Art
Centre at The Toronto Art Gallery (now the Art Gallery of Ontario) ~ for advice. They would become regular correspondents over the issues and concerns of teaching art, having a shared passion for their work that fostered the creativity of children. Savage treated her students as serious artists from the outset ~ she mounted exhibitions of their work, and their designs were used for Christmas card layouts and rug patterns. Savage had connections to many other artists, and her enthusiasm for her work there drew their attention to the school. A.Y. Jackson was her close lifelong friend; he suggested she have the students decorate the school with panels of murals, and eventually Thoreau MacDonald ~ the artist son of J.E.H. MacDonald ~ would contribute one panel. Savage’s work at the school also increased its reputation and profile in the community. Jackson wrote in his autobiography A Painter’s Country, “Anne Savage is getting wonderful results teaching art at the Baron Byng High School from youngsters…this is about the most interesting development in Montreal.” Of the Group of Seven, Jackson in particular was interested in the school, and when Savage decided to build a small collection for the students to study, Jackson wrote to her, saying, “One thing I am doing is to send you a package of sketches for the Baron Byng school, if they want them. I picked out ones from all over Canada so they should be interesting from a geographical standpoint. Do as you please with them, they might have plain black strip frames around them later.” Savage donated several
One of Anne Savage’s art classes at Baron Byng High School
of her own works to the school, and later helped mastermind the acquisition of additional works by notable artist friends and colleagues for the new PSBGM administration building which opened in July of 1961. Her connections and discernment led to the acquisition of works by Jackson, Robert Wakeham Pilot, Maurice Cullen, Frederick Simpson Coburn, John Little and others. As well, it was a common practice in Montreal in the 1930s for parents and alumni to thank and recognize individual schools with the gift of a work of art. The respect and admiration that Savage’s students and their parents felt for her contribution can be seen in the quality of the works that were presented to Baron Byng High School.
Savage taught at Baron Byng from 1922 to 1948, and spent an additional four years supervising the art program for the Montreal Protestant School Board. She was then invited to teach art education at McGill University from 1954 to 1959, and also taught at the Thomas More Institute in Montreal. She died in March of 1971.
The proceeds from the sale of this collection will directly benefit graduates of the English Montreal School Board by providing much~needed scholarships for post~secondary education.
Snow on Spruce Trees / Countryside in Winter (verso)
double~sided oil on panel, signed and on verso signed and titled, circa 1914 8 1/2 x 10 1/2 in, 21.6 x 26.7 cm
PROVENANCE: The PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation
LITERATURE: Jeremy Adamson, Lawren Harris: Urban Scenes and Wilderness Landscapes, 1906 ~ 1930, 1978, page 54 Walter Klinkhoff, A.Y. Jackson Retrospective Exhibition, Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., 1990, listed, unpaginated
EXHIBITED: Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., Montreal, A.Y. Jackson Retrospective Exhibition, September 10 ~ 22, 1990, catalogue #1
A.Y. Jackson’s lusciously painted Snow on Spruce Trees is reminiscent of Lawren Harris’s exquisite northern wilderness deep~woods snow scenes executed from 1914 to 1918. Harris had seen a pivotal exhibition of modern Scandinavian northern landscapes at the Albright Gallery in Buffalo in 1913, and been greatly impressed, particularly by Gustav Fjaestad’s stunning scenes of snow and frost~covered trees. This vigorous and raw approach to the land was a hot topic among the future Group of Seven members, who were in close contact through the Arts and Letters Club and the Studio Building in Toronto ~ Jackson having moved into the Studio Building in 1914. The North beckoned both Harris and Jackson, particularly Algonquin Park in that decade, and in 1914 Jackson took two trips to Algonquin Park, joining Tom Thomson in the fall. The response of Group painters to the beauty of the North in winter produced iconic works, and Snow on Spruce Trees is a splendid example. Jackson’s approach is vigorous, with thick brush~strokes creating an almost abstract pattern of snow~laden branches, in a surprisingly bold and modern treatment.
It is interesting to compare this lot to lot 158 by Lawren Harris. Jackson and Harris often worked together, even sitting side by side to sketch at times. By 1914, Jackson would have seen the earliest of Harris’s fine winter works, such as Morning Sun, Winter, now in a private collection, which was painted in the Studio Building in January and February of 1914. Perhaps inspired by Morning Sun, Winter, and no doubt encouraged by Thomson’s descriptions of the park, Jackson ventured to Algonquin Park alone in February of 1914, arriving in 45 degrees below zero weather and, in a letter to J.E.H. MacDonald, wrote that he “found it just as Lawren had said, you don’t notice the cold one bit, all you notice is your breath dropping down and splintering on the scintillating ground.”
ESTIMATE: $25,000 ~ 35,000
verso 113
Lawren Harris and A.Y. Jackson, 1954 Photo credit: Courtesy of The Vancouver Sun
French Canadian Farm, Les Éboulements / Quebec Village (verso)
double~sided oil on panel, signed and on verso titled, circa 1930 8 1/2 x 10 1/2 in, 21.6 x 26.7 cm
PROVENANCE: The PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation
LITERATURE: Naomi Jackson Groves, A.Y.’s Canada, 1968, page 42 Walter Klinkhoff, A.Y. Jackson Retrospective Exhibition, Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., 1990, listed, unpaginated
EXHIBITED: Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., Montreal, A.Y. Jackson Retrospective Exhibition, September 10 ~ 22, 1990, catalogue #14
A.Y. Jackson’s keen powers of observation focused on those little details of rural Quebec life that made it so unique, such as the oft~depicted horse~drawn cart, the early mode of transport in small villages. As his niece Naomi Jackson Groves noted, “Horses were in for AY.” So were traditional barns that sagged with the land, irregular woodpiles, rutted, winding roads and organic snake~fences that followed the curves of hills and hummocks ~ all greatly pleased Jackson, and are present in the scenes on both sides of this delightful panel. Jackson visited the North Shore of the Saint Lawrence many times in the 1920s and 1930s, and was documented as sketching specifically in Les Éboulements in 1929, 1930, 1932 and 1935. The name Éboulements or landslide derives from a time in 1663 when the area was rocked by earthquakes for seven months, causing the cliff face to collapse, contributing to the uniqueness of the area’s geography. Jackson, painting on the spot, likely ran out of panels and, in his desire to keep sketching, painted another image on verso.
ESTIMATE: $25,000 ~ 35,000
Fort Resolution, Great Slave Lake oil on panel, signed and on verso signed and titled, circa 1928 8 1/2 x 10 1/2 in, 21.6 x 26.7 cm
PROVENANCE: The PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation
LITERATURE: A.Y. Jackson, A Painter’s Country, The Autobiography of A.Y. Jackson, 1958, pages 100 and 101 Walter Klinkhoff, A.Y. Jackson Retrospective Exhibition, Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., 1990, listed, unpaginated
EXHIBITED: Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., Montreal, A.Y. Jackson Retrospective Exhibition, September 10 ~ 22, 1990, catalogue #9
In July of 1928, A.Y. Jackson traveled to Fort Resolution on the shores of the vast Great Slave Lake. It was an arduous journey by rail and boat, but Jackson was an experienced and enthusiastic explorer, and he was intrigued that this “was a part of their country few Canadians at that time knew anything about.” There was interesting sketching material there, for, as he wrote, “In the summer the Indians congregate at Resolution, where they erect their tents and teepees, making of the settlement a most picturesque place.” However in 1928, due to the influenza epidemic that year, many had scattered. Jackson encountered a challenge from the summer swarms of insects, which were relentless, even working their way into his paint, so he concentrated on pencil drawings ~ making this oil sketch all the more rare. This fascinating scene has a strong central motif in the teepee’s bare poles, which frame the figures of two women. Jackson deftly captures the atmosphere of the endless Arctic day in the flickering opalescent tones in the sky.
ESTIMATE: $25,000 ~ 35,000
Godhavn, Greenland oil on panel, signed and on verso titled and dated July 1927 8 1/2 x 10 1/2 in, 21.6 x 26.7 cm
PROVENANCE: The PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation
LITERATURE: Walter Klinkhoff, A.Y. Jackson Retrospective Exhibition, Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., 1990, listed, unpaginated Wayne Larsen, A.Y. Jackson, The Life of a Landscape Painter, 2009, page 138
EXHIBITED: Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., Montreal, A.Y. Jackson Retrospective Exhibition, September 10 ~ 22, 1990, catalogue #8
On July 16, 1927, A.Y. Jackson and Dr. Frederick Banting, research scientist and painter, boarded the government supply ship the SS Beothic, bound for the Arctic. After a week, their first port of call was the village of Godhavn on the coast of Greenland. Their arrival created a sensation ~ a contingent including the Governor of North Greenland met them, and a public holiday was declared for the day. Godhavn was quite a sight with, as Wayne Larsen writes, its “colourful Danish~style cottages, with steep roofs and ornate trim, standing side by side with Inuit shacks built from whatever material happened to be handy ~ wood, tarpaper, and whale bones.” Jackson and Banting soon slipped away to paint. Jackson wrote, “It’s an unbelievable village, and you keep pinching yourself to find out if it was a dream or part of the Chauve Souris, or a fairy tale.” This finely balanced composition captures the striking impact of this harbour towered over by snow~capped mountains. Jackson’s sure and fluid handling of volume and paint is in full bloom in the foreground with its delicate colour tints in the molded rock formations.
ESTIMATE: $25,000 ~ 35,000
A Quebec Village (Winter, Saint~Fidèle) oil on canvas, signed and on verso signed, titled A Quebec Village on the stretcher by the artist, and Winter, Ste. Fidele on a label and dated 1930 25 x 32 1/4 in, 63.5 x 81.9 cm
PROVENANCE: Baron Byng High School, Montreal, 1930 The PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation
LITERATURE: A.Y. Jackson, A Painter’s Country, The Autobiography of A.Y. Jackson, 1958, pages 61 and 62 Walter Klinkhoff, A.Y. Jackson Retrospective Exhibition, Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., 1990, reproduced front cover and listed, unpaginated Pierre B. Landry, editor, Catalogue of the National Gallery of Canada, Canadian Art, Volume Two / G ~ K, 1994, similar subjects: a 1926 graphite study of the church at Saint~Fidèle, entitled Saint~Fidèle, Quebec reproduced page 199, a 1926 canvas of Saint~Fidèle village with the church entitled Winter, Quebec reproduced page 199 and a 1926 graphite study entitled Church at Saint~Fidèle reproduced page 200 Charles C. Hill, The Group of Seven: Art for a Nation, National Gallery of Canada, 1995, titled as Saint~Fidèle, reproduced page 279, figure 248, listed page 336 David P. Silcox, The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson, 2003, titled as St. Fidèle, reproduced page 196 Wayne Larsen, A.Y. Jackson, The Life of a Landscape Painter, 2009, titled as St. Fidèle, reproduced page 145
EXHIBITED: The Art Gallery of Toronto, Exhibition of Seascapes and Water~Fronts by Contemporary Artists and an Exhibition of the Group of Seven, December 4 ~ 24, 1931, catalogue #96 San Francisco Golden Gate International Exhibition, 1939 Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., Montreal, A.Y. Jackson, Retrospective Exhibition, September 1990, catalogue #13 National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, The Group of Seven, Art for a Nation, October 13 ~ December 31, 1995, traveling in 1996 to the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, catalogue #170
This stunning A.Y. Jackson comes to Heffel through The Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal’s Cultural Heritage Foundation. Beginning in 1922, Anne Savage taught art at the PSBGM’s Baron Byng High School, and during her time there she donated several of her own works to the school, including the stunning Northern Lake / Trees in the Wind (lot 118) and oversaw the acquisition of additional works by other important Canadian artists. It was a common practice in Montreal in the 1930s for parents and alumni to thank schools with the gift of a work of art. Savage’s skilled teaching during her 28~year tenure would have encouraged parents and alumni to do exactly that, and Savage’s
connections enabled the school to build a fine collection. No doubt her close relationship with Jackson led to the inclusion of this exceptionally fine canvas in the PSBGM’s collection. This important collection is now being sold to fund scholarships.
Jackson’s beloved Quebec, with its rural quaintness and variable weather, provided the spirit and character that give his works depicting the region such charm. Jackson was utterly at home in Quebec, whether on snowshoes or on foot, and so at ease with his surroundings that his Quebec works have a personality and familiarity to them that can only come when an artist is particularly attached to a certain place. As with J.E.H. MacDonald and Lake O’Hara, Lawren Harris and the Arctic, and Emily Carr and the British Columbia forest, when a geographical connection between art and artist becomes profound, the work that it generates reaches a new level. Here, with snow in abundance and light playing against the whites of winter, turning them into blues, pinks and purples, Jackson is at his finest. The colour of the snow alone makes this painting outstanding, and the play of the snow colour against that of the sky, so similar yet rendered in a slightly different hand, exemplifies Jackson’s skill with subtle brushwork. The work is beautifully composed, with the hollows and whorls of the snow gently broken up by the homes, barns and church that are painted in hues complementary to one another. The rooftops of the buildings have a pleasing consistency of line and shape. In the near ground, the neatly stacked wood adds a contrast of pattern, while the fence line serves to return our gaze to the centre after we have taken in all that this charming work has to offer us. Horse~drawn carts ply the snow, adding two accents of life to the otherwise still scene.
Jackson’s first venture to Saint~Fidèle took place in 1926 with Edwin Holgate. He wrote, “It is rather like St. Hilarion on top of a hill but overlooking the river for miles…not ancient but just a natural village where everyone did as they pleased.” His description of the village as natural is key, and something Jackson sought out in his preferred painting locales, almost on an instinctive level. Although its buildings and the fieldstone church are clearly man~made, Saint~Fidèle seems to have sprouted from the earth with homes, sled~paths and fences situated in such a manner as to follow the natural hollows and rises of the landscape. Jackson returned again in 1930 with Dr. Frederick Banting, and they encountered daunting amounts of snow. Jackson commented, “It was a hard month to work, not many effects and more wind than was necessary and too much new snow and frozen paint…‘Bigger and better snow drifts’ is Banting’s slogan. We went for a short~cut through the woods yesterday and that nearly cured him. We did not have our snowshoes, and we sank in the snow up to our waists. No newspapers, no radio and only enough water to wash once a day and yet we are happy.” This waist~deep snow is very prominent here, sparkling and infused with many delicate hues as it gently blankets this scene of a by~gone era in this masterpiece canvas.
This exceptional canvas was loaned by Baron Byng High School to the 1931 Group of Seven exhibition at The Art Gallery of Toronto.
As with the other lots consigned by the PSBGM, proceeds from the sale of this work will directly benefit graduates of the English Montreal School Board by providing scholarships for post~secondary education.
ESTIMATE: $500,000 ~ 700,000
Northern Lake / Trees in the Wind (verso) double~sided oil on canvas, signed 31 x 34 in, 78.7 x 86.3 cm
PROVENANCE: A gift from the Artist to Baron Byng High School, Montreal The PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation
LITERATURE: Anne McDougall, Anne Savage: The Story of a Canadian Painter, 1977, pages 127 and 128
Anne Savage’s career as an art educator had an impact that still resonates today with the students and alumni of Montreal’s Baron Byng High School, where she taught from 1922 until 1948. The school was established in 1921 and notes Mordecai Richler, Irving Layton, Moe Reineblatt and William Shatner among its graduates. Savage was the school’s first art teacher, and during her long tenure there she employed a
method of teaching focused on creative stimulus, positive reinforcement and showing complete trust in the innate artistic talents of all her students. Quite ahead of its time, this method produced outstanding results, and Savage soon became a beloved teacher. She oversaw the painting of murals on the school walls by students and arranged for the donation of important works of art by her artistic contemporaries to the school’s collections. Thus, the walls at Baron Byng were graced with a remarkable array of art. From sketches by J.E.H. MacDonald and fine canvases by A.Y. Jackson to a wintry street scene by Robert Wakeham Pilot, Savage built a collection with the eye of an experienced curator and the insight of a gifted educator. As well, she contributed a number of her own works, including Northern Lake / Trees in the Wind.
The view on one side of this double~sided work, entitled Northern Lake, is a depiction of one of Savage’s most treasured vistas. In 1911, her family had purchased a summer property at Lake Wonish, north of Montreal near Sixteen Island Lake. The property was high on a hill above the lake and had a commanding view of the lake’s waters, which could not be seen in their entirety from the home, being partially hidden beneath steep cliffs, with the view running off into the distance. This distant lake has a distinctive shoreline, standing out like a shard of glass in a lush landscape. Savage was extremely fond of this outlook, and painted it often, in both sunlight and twilight like French Impressionist Claude Monet, who painted the same scene again and again. She captured it in all seasons and different times of day, and named it with varying titles. In 1933 she built a studio for herself on this property, at the head of the lake with a view out of her window that gave her an eagle’s overlook onto the landscape. Anne McDougall writes, “The fields between the studio and the water fold into valleys at the foot of elm and maple trees. There is a road running across the end of the fields that turns by a clump of maple trees. Anne found the view satisfying. It contained the elements of rhythm and design that she needed, and was right there in front of her…‘Anne’s Lake’, as her friends called it, so often gave her the inspiration she needed for on~the~spot subject matter. She turned to it again and again.” Her depiction of the lake in this work is both expansive and graceful, with a fine, rolling quality and a serene harmony in both her palette and her brushwork. The shadows and colouring of the elm trees are especially fine.
The verso scene, Trees in the Wind, is equally enchanting. Characteristic of Savage’s style, movement, rhythm and balanced patterns of colour are the main focuses of this lyrical and energetic composition. Savage lined the walls of her studio with mirrors so that she could see the works she was painting in reverse and from various angles while she was working, feeling that these varied perspectives allowed her to compose her paintings more carefully. Indeed, with both Northern Lake and Trees in the Wind, her compositional structure perfectly supports these two delightful works.
Savage was a member of both the Beaver Hall Group and the Canadian Group of Painters. Following her retirement from Baron Byng High School, she supervised the Art Program for The Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal and taught at McGill University.
ESTIMATE: $70,000 ~ 90,000
Anne Savage with a boys’ class, Baron Byng High School
verso 118
Indian Fur Traders oil on canvas on board, signed and dated 1925 72 x 122 5/8 in, 182.9 x 311.4 cm
PROVENANCE: The PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation
LITERATURE: Tim E. Holzkamm, Traders of the Plains: The European Fur Trade and the Westward Expansion of the Dakota or Sioux Indians, 1981, Open Access Dissertations and Theses, http://digitalcommons. mcmaster.ca/opendissertations/5428/, accessed February 20, 2013
Painted four years before Early Explorers, lot 120 in this sale, this Robert Pilot mural, offered by the PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation, depicts a familiar subject: native people and men of European background engaged in a commercial exchange related to the fur trade. This subject had been painted by other artists ~ for example, Toronto muralist Frederick S. Challener’s A View of Fort Rouillé, produced in 1928 for the offices of Loblaws, a major Toronto food company. The foreground of that work is occupied by a circle of natives sitting on the ground and engaged in trade with a single military man. Before 1906, Challener had produced an earlier version of the same subject for the King Edward Hotel in Toronto. In 1929, the famous historical illustrator C.W. Jefferys painted a scene of the exchange of goods between natives and French settlers for Le Manoir Richelieu in Murray Bay, Quebec. Even closer to the setting of Pilot’s murals were the scenes painted by Georges Agnew Reid for the auditorium of a Toronto high school, the Jarvis Collegiate Institute, between 1929 and 1930. One of the panels he produced was entitled Hudson’s Bay Company, Fur Trading in James Bay, 1668.
What is original in the case of Pilot’s mural is the Plains locale of the scene depicted. Considering the presence of the teepees in the background and the majestic feather headpiece of the Indian chief presenting furs to a trader, we are certainly among the Plains Indians; probably the Dakotas, who served as middlemen between other tribes of the Plains and the traders. The silhouette of a red buffalo on one of the teepees also confirms this locale. It also indicates that the shift in the fur trade from beaver pelts to bison robes, which occurred in the 1830s, was well under way. It would be impossible to interpret the furs being offered by the chief in Pilot’s mural as beaver pelts. The composition of this mural is similar to Early
Explorers, with which it makes a pair. One finds again two groups of people facing each other in the foreground with a triangular shape of the teepee in the background. In the canoe are the trade goods the traders are offering in return for the furs. With these two murals, Pilot was covering an aspect of the history of Canada when European~Canadian settlers were confronted with Aboriginal populations ~ but he chose to represent moments of collaboration instead of warfare, moments of exchange of knowledge and skill instead of ignorance and barbarism. Needless to say, that was well suited to the educational purpose of the murals in their original placement in schools.
Let us hope that these murals will find public exposure. They could have much significance in a museum setting, where their intent could be clearly explained and situated in the context of historical painting. In other public places, as with their first provenance, schools or public buildings (either private or governmental) could give them the exposure they deserve. These works also add to our knowledge of Pilot’s art, which has been seen almost exclusively as landscapes or Quebec City scenes.
We thank François~Marc Gagnon of the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute of Studies in Canadian Art, Concordia University, for contributing the above essay.
ESTIMATE: $100,000 ~ 150,000
Early Explorers oil on canvas on board, signed and dated 1929 72 x 122 5/8 in, 182.9 x 311.4 cm
PROVENANCE: The PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation
LITERATURE: Marilyn McKay, Canadian Historical Murals 1895 ~1939, Material Progress, Morality and the ‘Disappearance’ of Native People, Journal of Canadian Art History, Volume XV, #1, 1992, page 63, http://jcah~ahac.concordia.ca/en/archive/1992_15~1, accessed February 20, 2013
In an interesting article, Marilyn McKay of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design indicated that, in the early 1990s, the location of a Robert Pilot mural completed for the High School of Montreal was unknown. She will be pleased to learn that not only this mural, but also another of Pilot’s historical paintings have been found, and will now be auctioned at Heffel. Both are large~scale works and have been put up for sale by the PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation with the intention that the proceeds raised from this sale will provide post~secondary scholarships to current and future English Montreal School Board graduates.
Early Explorers depicts an encounter between Jacques Cartier and two of his men with Dom Agaya, the son of Donnacona, the Iroquois chief of Stadacona (Quebec City). Dom Agaya is providing Cartier with Eastern White Cedar boughs (Thuya occidentalis) to help his men recover from scurvy. This was a disease that resulted from a vitamin C deficiency, which was common among sailors and pirates who were deprived of fruits and vegetables for long periods. Dom Agaya stripped cedar needles from a nearby White Cedar tree and proceeded to boil them into a tea, which he offered to Cartier to drink. It would heal them, he said. Cartier declined, still apprehensive that it was a plot to poison them, but a few desperate men eagerly volunteered and drank it anyway ~ better to die quickly from poison than to suffer the prolonged and horrendous death of scurvy. Surprisingly, they felt better almost immediately. More tea was made, and within eight days one tree had been stripped bare, but the Frenchmen were cured of scurvy.
This is a rare example in the documents of the time where the medical knowledge of the natives is presented as superior to European settlers’ knowledge, and indeed it is a rare subject in historical murals of the
period, where the common theme was to praise European technology as superior to that of the natives. However, the presence of ships in Pilot’s painting is certainly to reestablish the Eurocentric “balance”. In fact, this native “superiority” would quickly be forgotten in favour of the work of Scottish physician James Lind (1716 ~ 1794), who pioneered naval hygiene in the Royal Navy. By conducting the first~ever clinical trial, Lind developed the theory that citrus fruits cured scurvy.
Pilot, known for his views of Quebec, reveals himself here as interested in an historical subject on a grand scale. The triangular composition set up by the men and the ship in the background is perfectly balanced, the setting in a winter landscape makes sense considering the subject matter, and the opposition between the engaging Europeans ~ see the man on the extreme left ~ and, on the right, the rather “inactive, emotionless Native Canadians”, to quote McKay, reflects the prejudices of the time. Nevertheless, Pilot’s painting demonstrates the need to use history in an educational context, an idea sponsored by the Group of Seven painter Arthur Lismer, among others. It was seen as crucial to developing the national consciousness of Canadians.
We thank François~Marc Gagnon of the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute of Studies in Canadian Art, Concordia University, for contributing the above essay.
ESTIMATE: $100,000 ~ 150,000
November oil on board, signed and on verso titled 24 x 30 in, 61 x 76.2 cm
PROVENANCE: A gift from the Artist to Baron Byng High School, Montreal The PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation
LITERATURE: Anne McDougall, Anne Savage: The Story of a Canadian Painter, 1977, pages 44 ~ 45
Anne McDougall writes, “Anne Savage sought light and rhythm and had a sure hand with a purple shadow beneath a bank or a burnt umber across a
sunlit hayfield…she showed a joyful, fearless use of colour…she does not people her pictures with human beings…but turns again to landscape and throws joy into the sweeping tree or bank.”
Savage’s colours in this bright, enchanted scene are awash in sunlight. The effect is one of bleached brilliance, and the scrubbed, dry~brush application of paint furthers this effect. Her balanced composition consists of rolling hills set under an umbrella of trees that partially screens a distant hill, with all of this accented by a few small buildings. Savage varies her application of paint by a pattern of dotting in some of the tree boughs, and sets these next to ones painted with fluid smoothness. There are vertical brush~strokes to offset the horizontal ones, and the division of the whole scene by lyrical, sweeping lines of reddish~brown ~ quite Art Nouveau in their character ~ gives the scene a fine sense of design.
ESTIMATE: $15,000 ~ 20,000
Summer oil on board, signed 23 1/2 x 30 in, 59.7 x 76.2 cm
PROVENANCE: A gift from the Artist to Baron Byng High School, Montreal The PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation
LITERATURE: Anne McDougall, Anne Savage: The Story of a Canadian Painter, 1977, pages 42, 44 and 47
Anne McDougall writes, “Her paintings…like those of the others in the Beaver Hall group, show the influence of the Impressionists, an influence which Morrice and others had brought late to Canada but which was
considered very much avant~garde in households still hanging copies of old European masters ~ ‘the Dutch gravy school’, [A.Y.] Jackson called them.”
In late January of 1921, an article in La Presse included the name Anne Savage in a list of 20 painters that the author considered comparable to the “Indépendants de Paris” (Société des Artistes Indépendants). Along with that of Prudence Heward, Adam Sherriff Scott, Edwin Holgate and the others listed, Savage’s work was, for Canadian eyes, a marked change from the mainstream. In describing Savage’s work, her biographer McDougall, when writing of Savage’s membership in the short~lived Beaver Hall group, states, “They were like a flurry of bright butterflies settling on a rock for a brief time, then off on their own ways.” Bright and delicate, and when considered in contrast to the “Dutch gravy” works that were the object of Jackson’s ire, Savage’s works are butterflies indeed.
ESTIMATE: $15,000 ~ 20,000
Cap~aux~Oies, Que. oil on panel, signed and on verso signed, titled, dated March 1931 and inscribed Severn St., Toronto 8 1/2 x 10 1/2 in, 21.6 x 26.7 cm
PROVENANCE: The PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation
LITERATURE: Walter Klinkhoff, A.Y. Jackson Retrospective Exhibition, Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., 1990, listed, unpaginated
EXHIBITED: Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., Montreal, A.Y. Jackson Retrospective Exhibition, September 10 ~ 22, 1990, catalogue #16
In March of 1931, A.Y. Jackson was sketching on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River with Dr. Frederick Banting and Randolph Hewton, and painted Cap~aux~Oies, located between the villages of Sainte~Irenée and Les Éboulements. The string of villages leading up to Baie~Saint~Paul were noted for their picturesque qualities, and Jackson knew this “painting trail” on the North Shore intimately. This fine Quebec oil sketch displays Jackson’s characteristic compositional elements and sparkles with vitality. The diagonal line of the snake fence leads the eye straight to the iconic horse and sleigh, then to the rustic town arrayed at the base of the hill. The scene is flooded by early spring sun, which lights up the piles of snow shrinking at their edges from the increased warmth. Jackson’s colour palette is rich, from the houses painted with both warm and cool colours to the bright blue tones in the shadows on the snow and the brilliant sky. Jackson’s affection for Quebec villages is palpable ~ he walked their back roads, knew their people and captured their essence in fresh, on~the~spot oil sketches like Cap~aux~Oies, Que.
ESTIMATE: $25,000 ~ 35,000
Ellesmere Island oil on panel, signed and on verso signed, titled and dated August 1927 8 1/2 x 10 1/2 in, 21.6 x 26.7 cm
PROVENANCE: The PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation
LITERATURE: Walter Klinkhoff, A.Y. Jackson Retrospective Exhibition, Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., 1990, listed, unpaginated
EXHIBITED: Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., Montreal, A.Y. Jackson Retrospective Exhibition, September 10 ~ 22, 1990, catalogue #7
During A.Y. Jackson’s 1927 trip to the Arctic on the SS Beothic, he arrived at the end of July at the tiny settlement of Bache Post on Ellesmere Island, the most northern inhabited point in Canada. Three Inuit and four police were the whole population of this remote island, and the Beothic was dropping supplies there. The ship had to manoeuvre through the pack ice of Kane Basin to reach it, and due to ice could only anchor nearby. With the imminent threat of the ice closing in, Jackson and his painting companion Dr. Frederick Banting hurried ashore and set to sketching. They found a stark sculptural landscape of ice, shale and gravel, as revealed in this bold oil sketch. The strength of the landforms, the lofty perspective and the beauty of the delicate colour tints in the ice floes make this one of Jackson’s classic Group period sketches.
Jackson later painted a fine canvas based on sketches made of the Beothic at Ellesmere Island, which he presented to the Minister of the Interior, who later donated it to the National Gallery of Canada.
ESTIMATE: $25,000 ~ 35,000
Corner of Sherbrooke and Peel Streets oil on canvas, signed and on verso signed and dated 1960 28 x 24 in, 71.1 x 61 cm
PROVENANCE: The PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation
LITERATURE: Harold Beament, Robert W. Pilot Retrospective, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1968, a similar canvas entitled Peel Street, Winter reproduced page 37 G. Blair Laing, Memoirs of an Art Dealer 2, 1982, page 146
Well~known art dealer Blair Laing wrote, “Robert Pilot was, at his best, one of Canada’s finest artists. His early works of lower~town Quebec City and streetscapes of Montreal catch the piquant Gallic charm of these places and are a delight to look at.” Pilot spent his youth in the vibrant studio of his stepfather Maurice Cullen, who had married Pilot’s widowed mother in 1910. Cullen was one of Canada’s finest Impressionist painters, and quite successful during his lifetime. He had been trained in European methods and welcomed his young stepson into his studio, giving him solid foundational skills in painting through the apprenticeship method, which was in its waning days as a common educational practice. Along with the direction of William Brymner at the Royal Canadian Academy, this training gave Pilot a sound academic foundation and excellent technical skills. In addition to serving in World War I (and later World War II), Pilot followed the example of his stepfather and other artists of the time and traveled, training further at the Académie Julian in Paris and sharing his studio there with Edwin Holgate. In 1922, Pilot returned to Canada and opened a studio in Montreal. He turned immediately to painting Canadian scenes, selecting views in the nearby parks, along city streets, near Montreal’s beautiful churches and along the edges of the city. While the influence of his time in France remained strong throughout his life, Pilot was able to blend the Canadian scenery and his French training smoothly. Here, in this fine scene painted at the intersection of Sherbrooke and Peel Streets in Montreal, the soft evening light and frosty winter atmosphere are of paramount interest in the painting. Pilot was especially fond of early evening light and often painted scenes such as this, wherein daylight is just ending and the transition into evening begins. This fleeting moment of ethereal light and atmospheric effects would fascinate him and stand as one of his favourite subjects. Pilot was also particularly adept at depicting snow, and here we see it in the form of frost, slush and ice. Further, light is expertly handled in differing ways in this work; we have the warm light coming from the windows in the
buildings, the cool light coming from the street lamps and their soft reflections on the wet, slick street, and the fading evening light in the sky, which Pilot has painted using a subtle pointillist method. Larger daubs of colour demark the sky from the tips of the tree branches, which are coated with hoar frost and differ only slightly in their form and colour from the sky. The lyrical, calligraphic forms of the trees further serve to break up the linear patterns of the architectural details on the buildings directly behind them and play nicely with the vertical spikes of the iron fence, creating both balance and contrast in this unified and tonally subdued work. Corner of Sherbrooke and Peel Streets has an inviting, pleasant appeal, despite the fact that we are looking at a cold, wintry evening. Warm interior lights tell us the rooms are occupied, the deftly painted figures attend to the business of heading on their way, and the red and green traffic lights indicate that everything is under control. Pilot’s depictions of Quebec have the ability to take us back in time without being trite or overly sentimental. His foundational skills as a colourist and compositional master did not allow for trivial or hackneyed scenes, and his affection for his home province, its people and scenery, infused his work with a palpable sincerity. As the last significant painter in the Canadian Impressionist style, his works are highly sought after, and Corner of Sherbrooke and Peel Streets is a fine example ~ an evocative, everyday moment in an historic city during the long Canadian winter.
ESTIMATE: $100,000 ~ 150,000
Mr. Hamilton’s four~in~hand, corner of Sherbrooke and Peel Streets, Montreal, QC, 1894
© McCord Museum II~106399
Saint~Simeon, Lower St. Lawrence oil on canvas, signed, 1950 24 x 30 in, 61 x 76.2 cm
PROVENANCE: The PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation
LITERATURE: A.Y. Jackson, A Painter’s Country, The Autobiography of A.Y. Jackson, 1958, pages 82, 166 and 167
Wild weather exhilarated A.Y. Jackson. His brushwork, so full of movement in this wind~swept, lilting scene, conveys a feeling of windblown vitality to us instantly. In this quaint village of Saint~Siméon set on the edge of the St. Lawrence River, even the buildings seem to have been arranged to withstand the wind that blows steadily across the water, licking it into waves while curling the clouds in the sky. It is a shoreline shaped by a powerful force, a place where the land and people are at the water’s mercy.
Jackson was very familiar with the St. Lawrence, and was asked to illustrate a book about it as part of the ambitious Rivers of America Series, published in 1942 in the United States by Farrar & Rinehart. A highly collected series of books, it contained 65 volumes and was issued under three different publishers over 37 years. The Jackson~illustrated St. Lawrence volume was reissued in 2012. This commission was taken on during the Second World War, and Jackson, so familiar with Quebec’s riverside villages, assumed he would be able to paint wherever he liked. Instead, he found himself being repeatedly questioned as to his motives for sitting alone on the St. Lawrence, and was forced to seek permits to paint near ports of any strategic significance. He was once, while not
actually arrested, taken under armed guard to port officials to explain himself.
Nonetheless, Jackson’s affection for the St. Lawrence’s shoreline would last throughout his life. “I have worked in villages on both the north and south shores…In thirty years I missed only one season, the year I was teaching at the Ontario College of Art. I have happy memories of a great many places, from St. Joachim to Tadoussac, and on the south shore from Lévis to Fox River in Gaspé. The canvasses I painted there are scattered from New Zealand to Brazil and Barbados, throughout the United States, and all over Canada.”
His palette in Saint~Simeon, Lower St. Lawrence is especially lovely, with the colour of the river water echoed in the muddy brown~greens of the road ~ linking the land and the river so nicely ~ and the rusty red of the truck’s cab is recalled in the red of the hill in the middle ground, tying the human elements to the land itself. Further, he uses the same violet ~ in different levels of saturation ~ to create horizontal slices of cloud in the sky and to highlight the vertical faces of homes in the village, another unifying touch. The bright emerald green of the boat behind the bare tree branches and two middle ground homes form a further connection. Jackson was a master of these painterly subtleties. His depiction of the Quebec landscape and aspects of the lives his fellow Quebecers lived upon it is a gentle dance of people and place. He was just as at home in Saint~Siméon as the villagers were, and thus his depiction of the village seems effortless and relaxed, with fluid and assured brushwork that is used with a consistent touch to depict the sky, water, earth, ramshackle buildings and fence posts, boats and people. The horse~drawn cart and red truck add a further human note to this depiction of life lived on the edge of one of North America’s largest rivers.
ESTIMATE: $90,000 ~ 120,000
The Mill Town Near Murray Bay oil on canvas, signed and on verso signed and titled 24 1/4 x 32 1/4 in, 61.6 x 81.9 cm
PROVENANCE: The PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation
The town of Murray Bay, in Charlevoix County, Quebec, has attracted the attention of artists and been a popular tourist destination from as early as the late 1700s. Situated on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, where the Malbaie River feeds into the St. Lawrence, it was renamed
La Malbaie in 1957. In addition to Robert Pilot, who here has painted Murray Bay against a backdrop of low~lying clouds that have settled along the river, Nora Collyer, Arnold Benjamin Hopkins and Henri Masson all painted scenes depicting this quaint village and its inhabitants. Pilot has depicted the town’s homes and buildings nestled along the gently rolling shoreline landscape in a contained, appealing manner. The church and millworks are the tallest of the buildings depicted, with a plume of smoke from the paper mill evaporating as it moves skyward. Grey clouds fill the sky, patterning the atmosphere and balancing the geometry of the village below.
ESTIMATE: $30,000 ~ 40,000
Village de L’Anse~aux~Gascons, Gaspé, Que.
oil on canvas, signed 24 x 32 in, 61 x 81.3 cm
PROVENANCE: Continental Galleries, Montreal The PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation
EXHIBITED: Art Association of Montreal, Spring Exhibition, 1945
Rita Mount was an anglophone Montreal artist known for her Quebec landscape painting, particularly seascapes of the Gaspé coast. This is a remarkably atmospheric work, with its gorgeous green and blue water and the small, informal harbour with sailboats pulled up on the shore. Mount’s soft brush~strokes, pastel tones and sensitive treatment of light is reminiscent of the French Impressionists’ treatment of coastal France, but with a brilliant, clear light that reflects the uniqueness of Canadian atmosphere.
ESTIMATE: $4,000 ~ 6,000
Farm Near Baie~Saint~Paul oil on canvas, on verso titled on the gallery label, 1936 18 x 24 in, 45.7 x 61 cm
PROVENANCE: Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., Montreal The PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation
Robert Pilot was the last significant Canadian painter working in the Impressionist tradition. He was known for his atmospheric views of Quebec, both city and countryside, as in this charming canvas. Baie~Saint~Paul, on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, was a favourite location of artists such as A.Y. Jackson and Clarence Gagnon. Pilot has depicted the scene with a clear, suffused light and a palpable feeling of affection for the farm nestled into the base of the hill.
ESTIMATE: $8,000 ~ 12,000
Rooftops, Quebec oil on canvas, signed and on verso titled on the gallery label 18 1/8 x 24 1/8 in, 46 x 61.3 cm
PROVENANCE: Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., Montreal The PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation
Robert Pilot was deeply devoted to the artistic tradition of Impressionism. Arguably, his greatest influence came from his stepfather Maurice Cullen, both in the studio and on their many weekend sketching trips. In addition to the training provided by Cullen, Pilot received formal education under
William Brymner at the Art Association of Montreal before traveling to Paris to study at the Académie Julian, and in 1922 exhibited at the Paris Salon. While abroad, Pilot absorbed the work of fellow Impressionists and, upon returning to Canada, channelled their techniques into his work. Pilot found his greatest inspiration in the snow~laden streets of Montreal and Quebec City, working in a muted colour palette to reflect a distinctive sense of serenity amidst the urban environment. Rooftops, Quebec provides the viewer with a unique perspective, as we are raised above the slush~laden streets and perched amongst brick chimneys and traditional spires. A few blocks over, a waft of smoke floats into the grey, overcast sky, expertly rendered by Pilot’s careful hand. It was this loyal admiration and affection for his urban surroundings that helped confirm Pilot as one of Canada’s greatest Impressionist painters.
ESTIMATE: $20,000 ~ 30,000
Sainte~Adèle, PQ oil on canvas, signed 19 x 24 in, 48.3 x 61 cm
PROVENANCE: Continental Galleries, Montreal The PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation
Robert Pilot was considered an exceptional talent as a young student, and William Brymner, who was his teacher at the Royal Canadian Academy School and at the Art Association of Montreal, went so far as to offer him free classes in support of his training. In 1920 Pilot was invited to participate in the first show held by the Group of Seven, but traveled to
France instead, where he was exposed to a wide variety of art and met fellow Canadian painter Edwin Holgate, who was living and working in Paris. Pilot was a great admirer of the work of James Wilson Morrice, and we can see the influence of Morrice, along with a Canadian version of French Impressionism in Pilot’s work. This fine view of Sainte~Adèle shows us how clearly Pilot understood the soft light of the Canadian winter. The reflections in the water and treatment of the snow are particularly skilled, and the upper branches of the leafless trees seem to float hazily, suspended in the air as if they are made of smoke.
ESTIMATE: $15,000 ~ 20,000
Harrowing oil on canvas, signed and dated 1921 and on verso titled on the gallery label 20 x 25 in, 50.8 x 63.5 cm
PROVENANCE: Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., Montreal The PSBGM Cultural Heritage Foundation
LITERATURE: Janet M. Brooke et al, The Frederick Simpson Coburn Collection, Musée des beaux~arts de Sherbrooke, 1996, essay by Monique Nadeau~Saumier, page 35
EXHIBITED: Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., Montreal, Hommage à F.S. Coburn (1871 ~ 1960), September 1986, catalogue #31
Frederick Coburn’s best known theme was that of horse~drawn sleighs in the Quebec countryside near his familiar terrain of Upper Melbourne ~ sometimes jauntily transporting people and sometimes working, such as pulling sledges loaded with lumber ~ typically in winter. This is a rare summer scene, depicting a horse team harrowing the land,