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A. Y. Jackson

A. Y. Jackson

Overview
Alexander Young Jackson, (October 3, 1882 April 5, 1974) was a Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 painter and a founding member of the Group of Seven
Group of Seven (artists)
The Group of Seven, sometimes known as the Algonquin school, were a group of Canadian landscape painters from 1920-1933, originally consisting of Franklin Carmichael , Lawren Harris , A. Y. Jackson , Franz Johnston , Arthur Lismer , J. E. H. MacDonald , and Frederick Varley...

.

As a young boy, Jackson worked as an office boy for a lithograph company, after his father abandoned his family of six children. It was at this company that Jackson began his art training. In the evenings, he took classes at Montreal's Monument-National
Monument-National
The Monument-National is a historic Canadian theatre located at 1182 Saint Laurent Boulevard in Montreal, Quebec. Erected between 1891 and 1894, it was originally the Cultural centre of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society.-Yiddish theatre:...



In 1905, Jackson worked his way to Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 on a cattle boat, returning by the same means and travelling on to Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

.
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Alexander Young Jackson, (October 3, 1882 April 5, 1974) was a Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 painter and a founding member of the Group of Seven
Group of Seven (artists)
The Group of Seven, sometimes known as the Algonquin school, were a group of Canadian landscape painters from 1920-1933, originally consisting of Franklin Carmichael , Lawren Harris , A. Y. Jackson , Franz Johnston , Arthur Lismer , J. E. H. MacDonald , and Frederick Varley...

.

Early life and training


As a young boy, Jackson worked as an office boy for a lithograph company, after his father abandoned his family of six children. It was at this company that Jackson began his art training. In the evenings, he took classes at Montreal's Monument-National
Monument-National
The Monument-National is a historic Canadian theatre located at 1182 Saint Laurent Boulevard in Montreal, Quebec. Erected between 1891 and 1894, it was originally the Cultural centre of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society.-Yiddish theatre:...



In 1905, Jackson worked his way to Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 on a cattle boat, returning by the same means and travelling on to Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

. In Chicago, he joined a commercial art firm and took courses at the Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is one of America's largest accredited independent schools of art and design, located in the Loop in Chicago, Illinois. It is associated with the museum of the same name, and "The Art Institute of Chicago" or "Chicago Art Institute" often refers to either...

. He saved his earnings and, by 1907, was able to visit France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 to study Impressionism
Impressionism
Impressionism was a 19th-century art movement that originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s...

. In France, Jackson decided to become a professional painter, studying at Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

' Académie Julian
Académie Julian
The Académie Julian was an art school in Paris, France.Rodolphe Julian established the Académie Julian in 1868 at the Passage des Panoramas, as a private studio school for art students. The Académie Julian not only prepared students to the exams at the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts, but offered...

 under J.P. Laurens.

Professional career



Jackson returned to Canada, settling in Sweetsburg, Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

, where he began painting works such as The Edge of Maple Wood. He held his first single artist exhibition at the Montreal Art Gallery with Randolph Hewton in 1913. Unable to make ends meet and discouraged by the Canadian art scene, he considered moving to the United States. However, he received a letter from J. E. H. MacDonald
J. E. H. MacDonald
James Edward Hervey MacDonald was a member of the famous Group of Seven Canadian artists. He is the father of Thoreau MacDonald.-Life:...

 which changed his mind.

MacDonald inquired about The Edge of Maple Wood, which he had seen at a Toronto art show. MacDonald said that Toronto artist Lawren Harris
Lawren Harris
Lawren Stewart Harris, CC was a Canadian painter. He was born in Brantford, Ontario and is best known as a member the Group of Seven who pioneered a distinctly Canadian painting style in the early twentieth century. A. Y. Jackson has been quoted as saying that Harris provided the stimulus for the...

 wanted to purchase the painting if Jackson still owned it. Harris purchased the painting and Jackson struck up a correspondence with the two Toronto artists, often debating on topics related to Canadian art. Jackson soon began visiting Toronto.

In his visits, Jackson often joined the painters who would one day be known as the Group of Seven
Group of Seven (artists)
The Group of Seven, sometimes known as the Algonquin school, were a group of Canadian landscape painters from 1920-1933, originally consisting of Franklin Carmichael , Lawren Harris , A. Y. Jackson , Franz Johnston , Arthur Lismer , J. E. H. MacDonald , and Frederick Varley...

 on major trips to Algonquin Park, Georgian Bay
Georgian Bay
Georgian Bay is a large bay of Lake Huron, located entirely within Ontario, Canada...

, Algoma
Algoma District, Ontario
Algoma District is a district and census division in Northeastern Ontario in the Canadian province of Ontario. It was created in 1858 comprising territory as far west as Minnesota...

 and the North Shore
North Shore (Lake Superior)
The North Shore of Lake Superior runs from Duluth, Minnesota, United States, at the southwestern end of the lake, to Thunder Bay and Nipigon, Ontario, Canada, in the north to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, in the east...

. Like the other Group of Seven painters, Jackson embraced landscape themes and sought to develop a bold style. An avid outdoorsman, Jackson became good friends with Tom Thomson
Tom Thomson
Thomas John Thomson , also known as Tom Thomson, was an influential Canadian artist of the early 20th century. He directly influenced a group of Canadian painters that would come to be known as the Group of Seven, and though he died before they formally formed, he is sometimes incorrectly credited...

, and the duo often fished and sketched together.

In 1910, Harris convinced Jackson to spend the summer painting at Georgian Bay
Georgian Bay
Georgian Bay is a large bay of Lake Huron, located entirely within Ontario, Canada...

. A local doctor offered the use of his cottage and a studio, and paid all his expenses.

War service


Jackson enlisted in the Canadian Army
Canadian Forces Land Force Command
The Canadian Army , previously called Land Force Command, is responsible for army operations within the Canadian Forces. The current size of the Army is 19,500 regular soldiers and 16,000 reserve soldiers, for a total of around 35,500 soldiers...

's 60th battalion in 1915 for the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. Private Jackson was wounded at the Battle of Sanctuary Wood in June 1916, soon after he reached the front. While recovering from his injuries, he came to the attention of Lord Beaverbrook. He was then transferred to the Canadian War Records branch as an artist. Here, Jackson would create important pictures of events connected with the war.

He later worked for the Canadian War Memorials
Canadian war memorials
The history of Canada comprises hundreds of years of armed actions in the territory encompassing modern Canada, and the role of the Canadian military in conflicts and peacekeeping worldwide. Many of these armed engagements are commemorated today with memorials across Canada and around the world...

 as an official war artist
Canadian official war artists
Canadian official war artists create a visual account of war by showing its impact as men and women are shown waiting, preparing, fighting, suffering, celebrating, These were a select group of artists who were employed on contract, or commissioned to produce specific works during the First World...

 from 1917 to 1919.

After the war, Jackson returned to Toronto, often making painting expeditions to the lower St Lawrence, the Arctic
Arctic
The Arctic is a region located at the northern-most part of the Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, Greenland, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost...

, and British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

.

Group of Seven



In 1919, Jackson and six painter colleagues formed the Group of Seven. These artists were considered to be bold, because the Canadian wilderness had previously been considered too rugged and wild to be painted. Although his name is conventionally associated with this group, he would also remain something of a loner throughout his life.

In 1925, he taught at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto; this was the only year that he missed his annual spring trip to Quebec.

In 1933, Jackson helped found the Canadian Group of Painters
Canadian Group of Painters
The Canadian Group of Painters was a collective of 28 painters from across Canada which came together as group in 1933. They succeeded the disbanded Group of Seven, whose paintings of the Canadian wilderness had been a strong influence on Canadian art....

. Several members of the Group of Seven later became members of this group, including Lawren Harris
Lawren Harris
Lawren Stewart Harris, CC was a Canadian painter. He was born in Brantford, Ontario and is best known as a member the Group of Seven who pioneered a distinctly Canadian painting style in the early twentieth century. A. Y. Jackson has been quoted as saying that Harris provided the stimulus for the...

, A. J. Casson
A. J. Casson
Alfred Joseph Casson, OC was a member of the Canadian group of painters known as the Group of Seven. He joined the group in 1926 at the invitation of Franklin Carmichael...

, Arthur Lismer
Arthur Lismer
Arthur Lismer, CC was an English-born Canadian painter and member of the Group of Seven.-Early life:At age 13 he apprenticed at a photo-engraving company. He was awarded a scholarship, and used this time to take evening classes at the Sheffield School of Arts from 1898 until 1905...

 and Franklin Carmichael
Franklin Carmichael
Franklin Carmichael was a Canadian artist. He was the youngest original member of the Group of Seven.-Biography:The youngest of the Group of Seven, Franklin Carmichael was born in 1890. His father was a carriage maker...

.

Later years


Jackson moved to the Ottawa region in 1955, settling in Manotick.

In his later years, he was often accompanied on his painting trips into the Ottawa Valley region, the Gatineau Hills, the Lievre River Valley and Ripond by friend, painter and former student Ralph Wallace Burton
Ralph Wallace Burton
Ralph Wallace Burton was a well known Ottawa Valley artist who was a student of, regular painting companion and friend to A.Y. Jackson from the Group of Seven....

, and fellow painters Maurice Haycock and Stuart D. Helmsley. One such venture almost ended in disaster: "...in the 1950s, when Ralph and A.Y. were painting on the banks of the Ottawa River at Deux Rivieres, a bullet ricoheted off a rock where Jackson was sitting."

In 1958, he published A Painter's Country, an autobiography dedicated to the memory of Group of Seven member J. E. H. MacDonald
J. E. H. MacDonald
James Edward Hervey MacDonald was a member of the famous Group of Seven Canadian artists. He is the father of Thoreau MacDonald.-Life:...

, who "visualized a Canadian school of painting and devoted his life to the realization of it".

In 1964, Jackson submitted his own design during the Great Flag Debate
Great Flag Debate
The Great Canadian Flag Debate took place in 1964 when a new design for the national flag of Canada was chosen. The flag debate began on June 15, 1964, when Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson proposed his plans for a new flag in the House of Commons. It lasted more than six months, bitterly...

. It was similar in design to the Pearson Pennant.

In 1965, Jackson had a serious stroke that put an end to his painting career. He recuperated at the home of friend and painter Ralph Wallace Burton, and later moved to the McMichael Conservation Estate in Kleinburg, Ontario.

Jackson died in 1974, over the Easter holiday in a nursing home in Toronto. He is buried on the grounds of the McMichael Gallery.

Honours

  • In 1967 Jackson was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada
    Order of Canada
    The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour for merit...

    .
  • A. Y. Jackson Secondary School
    A. Y. Jackson Secondary School (Toronto)
    A. Y. Jackson Secondary School is a secondary school for grades 10 to 12 located in North York, a suburb north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is located in the North York community of Metropolitan Toronto. It was opened in 1970 by the North York Board of Education, and is now operated by its...

     in Toronto was named after Jackson. He attended the opening of the school in 1970.
  • A. Y. Jackson Secondary School
    A. Y. Jackson Secondary School (Ottawa)
    A. Y. Jackson Secondary School is a community high school in the Glen Cairn neighbourhood of Kanata, a suburb in the west end of Ottawa, Ontario. It is part of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and was first opened in 1976. The school was named after A. Y...

     in Ottawa is also named after him and opened in 1976.
  • In 1970, the Royal Canadian Academy awarded Jackson its medal for lifetime achievement.
  • The A. Y. Jackson Lookout on Highway 144 in Sudbury overlooks the waterfall depicted in Jackson's 1953 painting Spring on the Onaping River.
  • The Ottawa River Institute has established an A.Y. Jackson Trail in his honour.

See also

  • Canadian official war artists
    Canadian official war artists
    Canadian official war artists create a visual account of war by showing its impact as men and women are shown waiting, preparing, fighting, suffering, celebrating, These were a select group of artists who were employed on contract, or commissioned to produce specific works during the First World...

  • War art
    War art
    War art is considered a genre of art. It is characterized by war, military subjects and war activities, as part of the wider field of military art. The distinction between war and military art is not clear-cut. The works described as war art represent a broad range of subject matter and styles....

  • The Studio Building
    Studio Building (Toronto)
    The Studio Building in Toronto, Ontario, Canada was the home and working studio of several of the famous Group of Seven painters, their predecessors, and their artistic descendants, and is of enormous significance in the history of Canadian art...

    , Toronto, the home and working studio of several Group of Seven painters

External links