JAMES EDWARD HERVEY MACDONALD, O.S.A., R.C.A.
oil on board
signed and dated 1902
7.75 ins x 9.5 ins; 19.7 cms x 24.1 cms
Like many young artists of the time who made their living as commercial artists, J.E.H. MacDonald pursued the fine art aspect of his art in his free time from Grip Printing and Publishing, making sketches around the Humber River and his home north of High Park. He was part of an early movement to establish a Canadian sensibility in art and joined the Toronto Art Students League, a sketch club whose members sought out subject matter rooted in the local scene.
Summer Landscape was probably made on a sketching trip along the Humber River. The divided brush strokes and the interest in light effects (evident in the reflections on the water and in the touches of blue in deep shadows) signify the influence of impressionism and of George Agnew Reid who was teaching the importance of l’effet (the overall effect) that he had learned in Paris in the late 1880s. This quality is evident in the generalized treatment of the foliage. MacDonald acknowledged that Reid had taught him the importance of technique and how the artist must first learn to “see” colour, in order to effectively mix and apply it.
Private Collection, Ontario (by descent)