ArtworksA.Y. JacksonFarm at Port Au Persil, 19471882-1974Sold
Inscriptionssigned, ‘A Y JACKSON’ (recto, lower right); inscribed by the artist, ‘FARM AT PORT AU PERSIL QUE’ (verso, center); signed, ‘AY. JACKSON’ (verso, bottom centre); inscribed by the artist, ‘if canvas / J J Vaughan 1st choice’ (verso, upper right); inscribed by the artist, ‘Tolmie / Plaunt’ (verso, upper left)
Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., Montreal;
Acquired from the above by Mitzi and Mel Dobrin.
Jackson repeatedly expressed his frustration with the changing landscape of rural Quebec, writing to Anne Savage on 11 April 1932, “Strange effects of the depression. The lumber camps were all shut up this winter and so the boys, having nothing to do, are tearing down their old barns and putting up new unpaintable ones.” By 1947 he had to go even further down river to find subjects and from La Malbaie he wrote to Harry McCurry, director of the National Gallery on 25 March, “This is as far as we can get. The hotel at Port au Persil is closed for the winter… I worked here a lot with Holgate and Robinson nearly twenty years ago. It was a quiet friendly little village then. Now it is a crowded noisy town, full of cars and snowmobiles. The roads are ploughed right to the bare ground and sleighs have practically disappeared. So it’s good bye to winter in Quebec. We have found a few old corners of the old town and will do what we can. There are hardly any hotels left in the villages. The voyageur de commerce who kept them going can reach any of these places by snowmobile in half an hour so there is no need to stay in them.”
However, with a recommendation from Paraskeva Clark who had holidayed at Port au Persil with her family in 1945, he and Randolph Hewton were able to stay in the pension run by Mlle. Bouchard. Reporting back to Paraskeva, Jackson wrote, “We have had two weeks of lovely weather and been hard at work. It is rather limited when you have to walk and most of our sketches have been made round the village or up the hill on the other side. The river was full of ice when we arrived but every day the ice packs got smaller and now it is free of ice. I want to paint a large canvas and just found a subject three days ago. It was so cold my first day my white froze, the second day the wind was so strong I could do nothing, and today you can see nothing, so I will have to stick around.”
In 1926 Jackson painted the magistral canvas, Barns (Art Gallery of Ontario) from a sketch painted at La Malbaie (McMichael Canadian Collection) earlier that spring. He went on to paint numerous old barns at Saint Tite-des-Caps, Saint-Hilarion and Les Éboulements over the next two decades. Whether crowning a hill, precariously sited on its side and surrounded by windswept snow or, as here, situated on the level slope at the base of the hill, the buildings speak of the human habitation of the landscape and its history. The broadly brushed touches of blues, mauves, purples and oranges play off the wide areas of whites and browns of the snow and slowly appearing earth around.
When he returned from his painting expeditions, Jackson held parties where he showed his sketches to friends who would reserve one for possible purchase, or commission a canvas from the sketch. On the back of this painting appear the names of Ross Tolmie and Bobby Plaunt of Ottawa and the Toronto collector J.J. Vaughan. Mr. and Mrs. J.J. Vaughan loaned two canvases to the October 1959 exhibition at the Art Gallery of Toronto, Loans from Toronto Private Collections: “St. Lawrence in Winter, Point au Persil (low viewpoint)” (1947) and “St. Lawrence in Winter Port au Persil (high viewpoint)” (1947). Though not painted from this sketch, they nonetheless clearly appreciated Jackson’s work from Port au Persil in 1947.
Charles C. Hill5of 32