Watson Art Galleries, Montreal
Mrs. J.H. Magor, Montreal
J. Russell Harper, Krieghoff, Key Porter Books, Toronto, 1999, page 38, and page 39, plate 34 for a very closely related work entitled Ice Harvest in the collection of the Musée du Québec, dating to ca. 1847-50.
Dennis Reid with essays by Ramsay Cook and François-Marc Gagnon, Krieghoff: Images of Canada, Douglas & McIntyre, Toronto/Vancouver, 1999, page 157, page 37 for a related lithograph with watercolour of Ice Cutting, c. 1849 (Collection of Peter Winkworth, London), reproduced in colour and page 159, Figure 22 for the related oil Carting Ice, c. 1850 (The Thomson Collection), reproduced.
In a 1939 letter to Mrs. J.H. Magor, art dealer William Watson writes of this lot: “This is a perfect example of the master’s art, and has one of his finest skies. The scene as you know is near home, as it was painted near Krieghoff’s own house at Longueuil, and shows the St. Lawrence reaching to Montreal.”
While not always entirely successful in capturing in paint the nature of the breed of horse used in the early days of Quebec habitant life, Krieghoff’s depiction of these shaggy equines as rendered in paintings such as Ice Harvest received a very warm critical reception. Harper writes: “No paintings give a better idea of the little canadien horse developed by the habitants than do Krieghoff’s pictures of ice-cutting.”
Ramsay Cook continues: “Sleighs and horses together reveal Krieghoff’s perception of class and ethnic differences in mid-century Canada. The horse that he obviously enjoyed painting was a distinctive breed known as the canadien. A rather small horse with powerful legs and shoulders, broad hooves, and heavy mane and tail, this animal descended from the Norman and Breton horses introduced into New France in the Seventeenth Century.”