Historic Art | J.E.H. MacDonald R.C.A.


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Hazy Day, Odaray, Lake Oesa Trail, 1924

Technique: oil on board

Dimensions: 8.5x10.5 in.


About the Artist

In the autumn of 1918 Group of Seven members J.E.H. MacDonald, Lawren Harris and Frank Johnston, made the first of their renowned boxcar trips to Algoma with patron Dr. MacCallum. Lawren Harris was able to convince the Algoma Central Railway to lend them a boxcar, which was sidelined from the tracks at convenient sketching locations. The boxcar was used as lodgings and studio and was complete with bunks, tables and chairs, a stove, and painting materials. There was also a canoe and a handcar for short distance travel. The boxcar was bright red and numbered 10557 on the side in big black lettering. Over the doorway were mounted sprays of evergreen and the motto: Ars Longa Vita Brevis (meaning Art is Long, Life is Brief). These trips were taken at a time when the Group of Seven members were strongly unified in their goals to create a distinct nationalistic style of landscape art. They were heavily under the influence and stylistic guidance of their recently deceased dear friend and fellow artist Tom Thomson. Armed with memories of their friend, the artists felt a strong sense of artistic purpose; therefore the work from their Algoma sketching trips can be considered quite artistically and emotionally charged. MacDonald in particular was captivated by the Algoma landscape. A.Y. Jackson later remarked, “I always think of Algoma as MacDonald’s country. He was awed by the landscape and he got the feel of it in his paintings.”
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