Thursday, August 13, 2015

A. Y. Jackson

House of Ypres
1917 or 1918
oil on board
63.8 x 76.8 cm   
Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Canada

Alexander Young Jackson (1882-1974), born in Montreal, was a Canadian painter and a founding member of the Group of Seven. He made a significant contribution to the development of art in Canada, and was successful in bringing together the artists of Montreal and Toronto. In addition to his work with the Group of Seven, his long career included serving as a war artist during World War I and teaching at the Banff School of Fine Arts, from 1943 to 1949.

He began work at age twelve for a Montreal lithography company to help his mother feed the family. Working at the lithography company, his interest in art began to develop and he took evening classes to train as an artist. By 1905, he worked his way to Europe where he spent some time studying art. He was deeply influenced by Impressionism at this time in his life. In 1907, he traveled to Paris to study impressionism and remained in Paris until 1912.

His life took a different sort of turn by 1914 when he enlisted in the Canadian Army. He served for two years until he was wounded in 1917, which saw him transferred to the records department as a war artist. He produced many great works, and gave his art a very different edge.

In 1919, he formally joined the Group of Seven and exhibited with them throughout the next decade. By 1924, he began to teach at the Ontario College of Art but resigned after one year to continue his outdoor sketches. He continued to travel and paint and mentor other young artists in his later years. Visiting Europe again in 1936, and often traveling around Canada on art expeditions.