Lot Sale Results

Lawren Stewart Harris

Lawren Stewart Harris

Lawren Stewart Harris
Fall 2011 - 2nd Session Live auction

Lot # 146

Lawren Stewart Harris
ALC BCSFA CGP FCA G7 OSA RPS TPG 1885 - 1970 Canadian

Algoma Waterfall, Canyon I, Algoma Sketch III
oil on board
signed and on verso signed, titled variously and dated 1919
10 3/8 x 13 5/8 in  26.3 x 34.6cm

C.A.G. Matthews, Toronto
An Important Private Estate, Toronto

Conor Mihell, "Rail, river and canvas: A trip into Canadian art history on the Algoma Central Railway", The Globe and Mail, August 31, 2011, www.theglobeandmail.com/life/travel/destinations/travel-canada/rail-river-and-canvas-a-trip-into-canadian-art-history-on-the-algoma-central-railway/article2148767/print/ (accessed September 29, 2011)

50th Anniversary Group of Seven, 1920 - 1970, titled as The Canyon, label on verso

Algoma was a place of great significance to Lawren Harris. When he first saw the region in 1918, the year before this joyous work was painted, he was there at the behest of Dr. James MacCallum, who was concerned for his health and well~being. In the space of less than a year, Harris had lost his younger brother and only sibling Howard in the war, and his friend Tom Thomson had died, causing him to suffer a nervous breakdown. MacCallum felt that sketching in the woods, as Harris had done before the war, would do the artist a great deal of good. He took Harris to Algoma, to tangled woods and expansive wilderness, and the atmosphere that Harris found there would be a source of solace and inspiration for him until he moved on to his Lake Superior works.
Freshly invigorated, Harris himself arranged for a subsequent trip along the Algoma Central Railway line that fall and again in 1919, inviting some of the fellow artists of the future Group of Seven to join him. These boxcar trips, where the painters would be dropped at one location for a time and then collected and taken further along the line, are historical lore in Canadian art circles. He also returned to Algoma in the fall of 1920. Works created on these trips, such as Algoma Waterfall, Canyon I, Algoma Sketch III, are gems of Canadian art history.
Harris was a complex individual who led a remarkable and varied life. The early Algoma works come from a particular part of his creative being, a part of him sorely in need of the healing powers of beauty. It seems likely that at this time in his life he was responding to what he saw on an emotional level as a creative individual who had suffered a series of traumas, rather than analyzing what he saw and interpreting it on an intellectual level to communicate a message, as he would do in other instances. In contrast to the austerity of Lake Superior, the monumentality of the Rockies, and the charged, socially conscious depictions of Toronto and Halifax urban scenes after the war, Harris’s Algoma works are often pure expressions of delight in the natural world.
Waterfalls attracted Harris repeatedly at Algoma – he rendered a number of large canvases, notably Waterfall, Algoma from 1918, in the collection of the Art Gallery of Hamilton, based on smaller panels painted there. These, and Algoma Waterfall, Canyon I, Algoma Sketch III, grew out of Harris’s impressionist technique and have much in common with the dappled and sunlit street scenes of a few years earlier, yet the tangled wildness of Algoma required a stronger hand, a bolder touch, and we can see Harris – and the other members of the Group of Seven with whom he painted at Algoma – developing their iconic Group style in such works.
Algoma Waterfall, Canyon I, Algoma Sketch III is an inviting work. It has an overall feeling of coolness, with touches of autumn’s yellow on the leaves of some trees and a ripe richness of colour that speaks of fall. It has a fine, consistent handling overall and a beautiful surface, with delicate impastos of white paint in the foam on the water as it falls over the grey rocks, churning itself into pale yellow and blue, then fading into the cool brackish hues of the pool, enlivened by the finer impasto below.

Estimate: $125,000 ~ $175,000 CAD

Sold For: $187,200.00 CAD (including buyer's premium)

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