Mountain Sketch (Lake and Mountain) , 1928 (circa)
Inscriptionssigned, ‘LAWREN / HARRIS’ (lower left); inscribed in ink by the artist, ‘LAWREN HARRIS / 25 SEVERN STREET / TORONTO’ (verso, upper left); inscribed in ink, by the artist, ‘MOUNTAIN SKETCH’ (verso, upper right); inscribed in ink, by the artist, ‘reserved / Mrs. Brown / for / Dr. Boyd’ (verso, centre)
G. Blair Laing Limited, Toronto.McCready Galleries Inc., Toronto.
The Collection of Mitzi and Mel Dobrin, by 1980.
ExhibitionsToronto, Alan Klinkhoff Gallery, Lawren Harris & Canadian Masters: Historic Sale Celebrating Canada's 150 Years, April 1, 2017.
Lisa Christensen, author of A Hiker’s Guide to the Rocky Mountain Art of Lawren Harris, has identified the subject as Mount Richardson, in the Slate Range, overlooking Lake Louise. An open expanse of water occupies the centre of the composition. As in his Lake Superior canvases and Maligne Lake, Jasper Park of 1924, a foreground shore provides the viewer with a sure footing. In both this oil sketch and the canvas painted from it, the snow-covered grey and white peak occupies the centre of the composition and the adjacent slopes curve down to the open water, almost the reverse of the 1924 composition.
Most notable is the different palette of Harris’ later mountain canvases. As in his Lake Superior paintings of the late twenties, blues and blue-greens are the dominant colours, expressing a spiritual light evolving from Harris’ own spiritual interests. In the canvas Harris has heightened the colour of the sketch, the whites contrasting more strongly and the blue peaks at the right becoming almost electric. Light penetrates the cool waters and the reflection in the water at the left has been strengthened. A blue ripple crosses the centre of the lake, like a stepping stone to the slopes beyond.
Charles C. Hill