Watson Art Galleries, Montreal
Private Collection, Toronto
The title of this piece is Going to the Village, but it appears to be more of a race than an idle jaunt into town. The driver on the left is tensed with the anticipation of catching the other sled, his face caught in a grimace of determination. Though he is behind, he has the advantage of the inside track.
The driver on the right urges his horse on, while his fellow riders look back eagerly. The three of them are anxious not to relinquish the lead. There is room on the road for the two sleds to ride abreast, and the ultimate winner has not yet been determined.
Cornelius Krieghoff has a wonderful way with light: we can see the sun setting on a short winter day, the shadows just beginning to creep in. The frosty twilight on snowy fields and the looming distant hills provide a vivid backdrop for the dramatic scene. We can feel the chill, the exhilaration. Our racers charge on, eager to be the first to the village.