ArtworksAllan EdsonWheat Field, 1880 (circa)1846-1888Sold
Inscriptionssigned, 'Allan Edson' (recto, lower right)
ProvenanceLaing Galleries, Toronto.
Dominion Gallery, Montreal.
Private Collection, Toronto.
— Aaron Allan Edson was a significant 19th century Canadian artist who, during a relatively short lifetime, exhibited prominently in a number of international expositions and throughout Canada. He was a founding member of both the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts and the Ontario Society of Artists.
This is a particularly fine and rare composition by Edson who, during his career, was considered to be one of Canada’s foremost landscape painters. Inspired by his native Eastern Townships, or conceivably his painting experiences in France, Edson captured rural life throughout his artistic practice. Wheat Field depicts an intimate study of three women taking a moment of rest from their work. While he was studying in France, Edson was certainly influenced by masters the calibre of Jean-François Millet and Léon Lhermitte who were exhibiting with some acclaim in the official salons. Wheat Field illustrates Edson’s desire to paint a tribute to the labourers, be they farmers or hired peasants, harvesting the wheat. He has chosen to paint them during a break from their work, exuding a feeling of repose and calm before the work resumes.
Using individual daubs of paint to define foliage, Edson’s naturalistic technique can be attributed to his studies with Otto Jacobi. In addition to Jean- François Millet and Léon Augustin Lhermitte, Edson certainly became acquainted with the works of Claude Lorraine and John Constable during his 1864 studies in Europe. Influences of their techniques and style appear throughout Wheat Field.
Allan Edson’s work can be found in prominent Canadian art collections, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
Reid, Dennis. (1988) A Concise History of Canadian Painting. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, p. 83.
4. Goldfarb, Hilliard T. (2009) Expanding Horizons: Painting and Photography of American and Canadian Landscape 1860-1918. Montreal, Quebec: Somogy Art Publishers, p. 63.