ALFRED JOSEPH CASSON, O.S.A., P.R.C.A.
OPEONGO RIVER, 1950
oil on board
signed; also signed, dated and titled on the reverse
12 ins x 15 ins; 30.5 cms x 38.1 cms
Casson painted this interesting work at a time when his larger canvases were demonstrating pronounced abstract qualities in the extreme reduction and superimposition of forms, and the breaking up of light into fractured planes. Opeongo River has not undergone this transforming process, but it nonetheless indicates a strong abstracting tendency. The wedge shape of burnt land in the foreground is a flopped mirror image of the distant golden land mass that cuts across the picture plane from the left, balancing the composition. The two halves of the picture are connected by the tall piece of burnt timber on the right. Some of these charred remains are reflected in the pool of still water in the foreground, while others resemble human figures. Regardless of whether Casson attached any symbolic meaning to Opeongo River, it is a fine example of the synthesis of theme and form, and of the haunting stillness that characterizes Casson’s work. This picture must have been a family favourite, and was included in the 1988 exhibition, Casson’s Cassons.
Private Collection, Toronto