FRANK HANS JOHNSTON, O.S.A., A.R.C.A.
Private Collection, Winnipeg
Rich greens dominate this striking scene, an ode to nature’s beauty and its elevating spirit. Slender tree trunks, five staggered dark verticals, form a screen between the viewer and the inviting lake beyond, a classic and effective Group trope. A horizontal slice of blue (the distant tree-covered hills), the white-grey of the lake, and the cloudless sky happily interrupt what - in the hands of a lesser painter - could become a monotony of greenery. In this delightful sketch, Frank Hans (Franz) Johnston (1888-1949) demonstrates his cogent mastery of colour, contrast and light. His unfussy, spontaneous dobs and strokes speak to an immediacy in his response to the scene before him. Less refined than his larger post-1930s paintings executed in his studio, the naturalness of Shoreline is its greatest asset.