ArtworksLawren S. HarrisMorning Sun Over Hill, Lake Superior (Lake Superior Sketch XXVII), 19221885-1970$250,000
Inscriptionssigned, ‘LAWREN / HARRIS’ (lower right); inscribed in ink by Doris Mill, ‘MORNING SUN OVER HILL / Lake Superior / LAWREN HARRIS’ (verso, upper left); inscribed in ink and then crossed out, ‘NOT FOR SALE’, by Doris Mill, ‘Lawren Harris’ (verso, upper left); inscribed in ink by Doris Mill on printed label, ‘“Morning Sun over Hill” / Lawren Harris / Lake Superior Sketches XXVII 10 ¾ x 14’ (verso, upper right); inscribed in blue pencil on printed label, ‘#h.26’ (verso, upper right); inscribed in graphite, ‘10 ⅜ x 13 ⅝’ (verso, upper right); inscribed in black marker, cross in a circle (verso, centre); inscribed in black crayon, ‘4/27’ (verso, centre right)
Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., Montreal.
Kastel Gallery, Montreal.
McCready Galleries Inc., Toronto.
The Collecton of Mitzi and Mel Dobrin.
ExhibitionsToronto, Alan Klinkhoff Gallery, Lawren Harris & Canadian Masters: Historic Sale Celebrating Canada's 150 Years, April 1, 2017.
LiteratureThe paintings of Lawren Harris compiled by Mrs. Gordon Mills, July-December 1936 as Morning Sun Over Hill (Lake Superior Sketch XXVII).In the fall of 1921 Lawren Harris and A.Y. Jackson painted in Algoma then travelled on to Rossport on the north shore of Lake Superior. In the autumns of 1922 and 1923 the two artists returned to Lake Superior, painting at Port Coldwell in 1922 and at Port Munro and Pike Lake in 1923. The artists probably didn’t return to Lake Superior in 1924 as they were painting in Jasper Park and Jackson had to return to Toronto to teach at the Ontario College of Art but they returned to Port Coldwell the following year. On 7 October 1925 Jackson wrote to his friend Norah Thomson (later de Pencier), book buyer for the T. Eaton Co., “We are back in our old haunts, and it is pretty good stuff. It is three years since we did any work here and it all looks new. I think we will fill our panels and start home by Oct. 24th.”
The sketch was most likely painted at Coldwell in the fall of 1922. A sketch of the same hillock, painted by A.Y. Jackson and dated 1922, was given by Jackson to fellow artist Anne Savage, and another oil sketch of the same subject is identified by Jackson as being painted at Coldwell.
There is considerable confusion over the dating of Harris’ Lake Superior paintings. His first canvases, such as First Snow, North Shore, Lake Superior of 1923, in the Vancouver Art Gallery, depicted the rocky hills above Lake Superior. In the mid-twenties Harris painted the burned out stumps overlooking the lake, such as Above Lake Superior in the Art Gallery of Ontario, a canvas often erroneously dated to 1922 but which was first exhibited in spring 1924. Finally, Harris focused on Pic Island off Port Coldwell and the dramatic light effects over the vast expanse of water.
Vancouver’s First Snow, North Shore, Lake Superior was first exhibited in March 1923 as Landscape and Lake Superior Hill (Lake Superior Painting XV) (fig. 1) was probably exhibited with the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in November 1923 as Above Lake Superior. The subject of both is not the expanse of Lake Superior but the rocks and sparse foliage of the hills. Paul Duval has reproduced the oil sketch for this latter canvas in Lawren Harris Where the Universe Sings (Cerebrus Publishing 2011), but the same rounded hillock depicted in Morning Sun over Hill probably formed the subject of the large canvas. Painted from a slightly further distance the foreground rocks in this sketch became the middle ground and he has eliminated the stumps at the left. Bright orange lichen or moss grows between the rocks, and the purple hillock dominates the centre of the canvas, set against a blue sky and stylised clouds.
Charles C. Hill1of 4