Ontario Mining Town, Cobalt, A.Y. Jackson, 1933. Oil on wood, 21 x 28 1/4 in (53.3 x 71.8 cm). Private Collection, TorontoAlexander Young Jackson was born in Montréal in 1882. He studied art in Montréal and later in Paris, where he decided to become a professional painter rather than a commercial artist.
He believed, "The obedient in art (were) always the forgotten . . . The country is glorious but its beauties are unknown, and but waiting for a real live artist to splash them onto canvas . . . Chop your own path. Get off the car track."
A. Y. Jackson certainly blazed his own trail and throughout his career he was successful in bringing together the art of Montréal, where he was a founder of the Beaver Hall Group, and of Toronto where the Group of Seven originated. He was also active in other artist associations, and juried the first annual Northern Ontario Artist Association exhibition in 1957. The connections that Jackson made helped create a more unified vision of Canada and Canadian art. For his part in the Canadian art scene, Jackson became a Companion of the Order of Canada and received a medal for lifetime achievement from the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.
In Ontario Mining Town, Cobalt Jackson presents a poetic representation of Cobalt, after the silver boom was over. Like many of the other paintings that the Group of Seven would complete of this area, this painting is a combination of different views put together with artistic license. Although Cobalt was past its heyday, made visible by Jackson through the dark windows, deep grey sky, and sagging roofs, he also highlighted the perseverance of the townspeople by choosing attractive colours and creating a feeling of movement and activity in the horse drawn cart and the undulating lines in the houses, roads, hills.
We have four other locally-inspired works of art from the Group of Seven that we would like to tell you about:
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