ArtworksA.Y. JacksonWinter Scene, Les Éboulements, 1922 (circa)1882-1974Sold
Inscriptionssigned, ‘A Y JACKSON’ (lower left)
Albert H. Robinson, Montreal.
The Framing Gallery, Toronto, Ontario.
The Collection of Mitzi and Mel Dobrin.
Though a native Montrealer, it was only in February and March 1921 that A.Y. Jackson first painted on the lower Saint Lawrence. That year he painted on the south shore with Albert Robinson at Cacouna across the river from the mouth of the Saguenay. The two artists returned to the south shore the following March, sketching at Bienville, now part of Lévis, across from Quebec City. It was only in March 1923 that Jackson travelled to Charlevoix County on the north shore in the company of Edwin Holgate, painting in Baie Saint-Paul and nearby Les Éboulements.
From Baie-Saint-Paul Jackson wrote to his cousin Florence Clement on 16 March, “It's snowing in Baie St. Paul. It seldom seems to stop and soon there won’t be anything to paint but snow. The fences have all disappeared and the houses are piled up till they look like mushrooms. It’s almost impossible to get around. There has not been a thaw all winter and consequently no crusts on the snow, and even with my big snowshoes I sink down so far I can scarcely lift my feet … I expect to spend a week in the next village down - Les Eboulements - and then return here until mid-April. … I have to fill up fifty panels before I leave here.”
The train from Quebec City to La Malbaie was completed in 1919 and ran every two days. From Baie Saint-Paul, at the mouth of the Gouffre River on the Saint Lawrence, winter travellers took a sleigh up to Les Éboulements as Jackson wrote Anne Savage on 3 April 1932. “The mail carrier took us up the big hill. On top it was blowing a howling gale with a cloud of flying snow blotting out the village while overhead the stars were peacefully shining…. The mail carrier told us he was only able to hang on to his job by cutting it down to 30 cents a trip four miles up from the station and up means nine hundred feet.”
When invited to join Marius Barbeau on the Île d’Orléans in the summer of 1925, Jackson wrote, “The Quebec idea appeals very strongly to me… It is the architectural subject that appeals to me in Quebec… I really know only a very small part of it. Baie St. Paul. Les Eboulements, Cacouna and around Levis.” And it is the architecture that is the principal subject of Winter Scene, Les Éboulements, not an architectural study of the individual buildings but the relationship of houses and sheds that cluster around the church. The steeple is the principal focus of the upper part of the composition and plays off against the horse drawn sleigh with a water barrel in the foreground. Between them the peaked roofs dance busily across the panel in a counter rhythm to the curving folds of snow. The fence emerges precariously from the deep snow.
Jackson clearly took special pleasure in this composition since he further developed the image in an ink drawing that was reproduced in The Canadian Forum in December 1926 (fig.1) In the drawing he elaborated the architectural details, changing sheds into houses, smoke rises from a chimney and the principal village road is more clearly defined linking steeple and sleigh. The sleigh now transports wood and the tips of the fence posts poke out between the banks of snow.
According to a label on the back, this sketch was formerly in the collection of Albert Robinson, Jackson’s frequent sketching partner on the lower Saint Lawrence in the 1920s.
Charles C. Hill9of 22