ALAN CASWELL COLLIER, O.S.A., R.C.A.
Private Collection, Toronto
A hiker-friendly region, Lake O’Hara and its environs have attracted the attention of artists as diverse as F.M. Bell-Smith, J.E.H. MacDonald and Walter J. Phillips among others, all of whom have found inspiration in the subject of this lot. Alan Collier (1911-1990) visited the area one year after joining the faculty of the Ontario College of Art (1955), when he and his family travelled there by car and trailer on a three-month sketching trip to western Canada. More journeys would follow.
Collier studied at the college under J.E.H. MacDonald, Franklin Carmichael and others from 1929-1933 and many consider him to be a prodigy of the Group of Seven. His work exhibits a strong preference for simple land forms often reduced to abstract shape and pattern. But as MacDonald and Lismer had learned a few decades earlier, there is nothing simple about Cathedral Mountain or its surroundings.
In this lot, the artist has tackled the subject with a composition rich in bold angular forms and layered colour. A moody sky suggests it is late afternoon and perhaps time to descend from the exposed and precipitous ledge.
This year Collier was the subject of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre’s Road Trip: Across Canada with Alan C. Collier (April 29-August 6, 2017).