"Mountain Ash, Grace Lake"
A.Y. Jackson, "Mountain Ash, Grace Lake," Oil on panel, October 1940, 10 1/2" x 13 1/2" Photo: Courtesy Loch Gallery, Calgary
A.Y. JACKSON (1882-1974)
By Rod Chapman
After his father abandoned the family, Alexander Young Jackson began working for a Montreal lithography company at the age of 12. By 1914 he was sharing a studio in Toronto with Tom Thomson and painting regularly in Algonquin Park. In the 1920s Jackson joined the Group of Seven and began exhibiting with them, and throughout his career he interpreted Canadian identity through the environment.
This panel, Mountain Ash, Grace Lake, was acquired by Loch Gallery in Calgary from a man in Scotland whose father-in-law had unsuccessfully tried to sell it at a garage sale for five pounds. After discovering that the artist was a well-known Canadian painter, the son-in-law approached Loch Gallery.
“We received a call from a man letting us know that he owned an A.Y. Jackson oil and wanted to sell it,” says Ian Loch, who manages the Calgary location. “Two days later the image arrived via email and sure enough, it was a Jackson panel.”
Loch researched the work and discovered that Grace Lake, Ontario was well-liked by two Group of Seven painters— A.Y. Jackson and Franklin Carmichael. In Canadian Landscape, a 1941 documentary, the National Film Board featured Jackson painting the view at Grace Lake.
Loch also learned that a canvas painted by Jackson with the same title and date is in the Carleton University Art Gallery Collection. After comparing the two, he says this panel is most definitely the sketch, which would have been painted on site at Grace Lake, while the canvas would have been painted in the studio.
Exhibited in October during the gallery’s Annual Exhibition & Sale of Historical Works of Significance, the Mountain Ash, Grace Lake panel was purchased by an undisclosed buyer. It is valued at more than $35,000.