ALFRED JOSEPH CASSON, O.S.A., P.R.C.A.
Roberts Gallery Limited, Toronto
Joyner Fine Art Inc., Toronto, May 1993, (Lot 103)
Private Collection, Maple, ON
The senior members of the Group of Seven had an important and lasting influence on A.J. Casson’s work. However, by the later 1940s through to the 1950s, Casson found a personal form of expression by accentuating the design elements in his landscape work. This may be seen as his response to abstraction which was becoming increasingly important in Toronto at that time.
The Opeongo River, which runs through Algonquin Provincial Park, was another of Casson’s favourite painting locations. The title indicates the time of day it was painted. Casson was interested in the effects of light on form, and by restricting his palette to a range of blues, he was able to capture the clarity of the scene and definition of forms in the morning light. Casson has reduced the view of distant hills and tree-lined shore reflected in the still waters to a single dominant motif that is almost bilaterally symmetrical. This mirroring device, which Casson often used, enabled him to heighten the patterns he found in nature, and to achieve a level of abstraction in the work. A breeze ruffles the water in the foreground—perhaps in response to the dark cloud looming in the upper right corner.