ALFRED JOSEPH CASSON, O.S.A., P.R.C.A.
Roberts Gallery Limited, Toronto
Private Collection, Toronto
Marsh (or Marsh’s) Falls is located on Oxtongue River which stretches from Algonquin Provincial Park to the Lake of Bays. The inspiring beauty of this area lends itself to art-making and for A.J. Casson (1898-1992), would have been an ideal sketching site.
While at first glance the painting is a typical enough work, there is something quite special about the vantage Casson chooses. The angle of attack implies the presence of the painter in an uncommon way. Picture Casson perched on a large river rock at the edge of the Oxtongue, the river eddying about him. The slightly elevated position centres on the river rocks and swirling whitewater. A hint of shoreline cropped at the top and left edges serves as a framing device concentrating our focus. Where this painting comes up trumps is in the artist’s success conveying a fleeting and personal sensation. This is something on which the best painters, like Casson, capitalize. As a participant and not just an observer, Casson is united with nature, pictorially absent yet manifestly incorporated into the work.