|ARTIST BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: ||
Alexander Young (A.Y.) Jackson obtained his art education at the Art Association of Montreal followed by a brief six-month term at the Académie Julian in Paris in 1907. On his return he worked as a commercial artist and teacher and had met Harris, Varley, MacDonald, and Lismer by 1913, exhibiting his impressionist influenced landscapes as a founding member of the famed Group of Seven in Toronto in 1920. Always a keen traveller, he returned to Europe on several occasions and although Toronto became his semi-permanent base, following his commission as a war artist, he probably visited and painted more of Canada than any other Group artist.Jackson was a frequent guest of his brother Ernest, a Lethbridge judge, and began to take an interest in the local landscape after 1937 though at first he complained that the countryside was frustrating to capture because the foregrounds offered " …nothing but a few weeds, shrubs or stubble to get hold of…". Nevertheless, he returned year after year until the late 1950's both to paint and nurture the many friendships he had made with local residents, including members of the Lethbridge Sketch Club, who acted as guides or accompanied him on painting excursions to the surrounding area.In his 2001 Southern Alberta by A.Y. Jackson exhibition essay David McNeill writes: "A.Y. Jackson painted in southwestern Alberta for approximately 20 years. He came initially because his brother was here and because he could later include it as a side-trip after summer teaching at the Banff School of Fine Arts or after a trip to the Canadian north." As Jackson himself said in his 1958 autobiography A Painter's Country, "…the foothills of Alberta, with the mountains as a backdrop, afford the artist endless material." Though he eventually acquired much recognition in his own country, it was the purchase of a painting by the Tate Gallery in London, in 1921, which consolidated his position as a painter of international significance.