Art Page 47.3

Great Canadian Artists

 
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Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Another fabulous work by CW showing, what for hundreds of years, was a national pastime for Canadian immigrants - clearing the land of all those huge and interfering trees.

In his typical style, CW has designed his panel to show different parts of the operation in various areas of the painting.

The stumps in the foreground from trees cut down, the men in back limbing them, and chopping them into manageable lengths, the small branches and limbs being burned, oxen bringing in the large logs to the assembly site, the large logs being piled for processing.

And, as always, fine specimens of hard-working Canadian manhood, people his canvas.


Pioneers Clearing the Land (c 1830) - CW Jefferys
Orig. watercolour - Image Size - 27 x 32 cm
Found - Toronto, ON
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A fabulous work by CW alive with the clatter and creak of a charging stage coach down the Caribou Road.

When gold was discovered in British Columbia in the 1860s miners from the US flooded in.

Roads were cut along the precipitous banks of the Fraser River, to carry out the gold, and allow miners and supplies to be brought into the interior.

CW has brought this thrilling page in Canada's history alive with colour, sound, and the spirited depiction of men and horses in the midst of a great adventure.

But he had to research harnesses and stagecoaches of the time. Not just copy something from a John Wayne western.

Oh and road construction, especially across gullies... and...

Oh, how much easier it would have been, just to join the Group of Seven, and get a stool and a train ticket to some remote site, then pack a lunch and be back before dark with four or five finished panels... Wow!

Why would anyone want to spend weeks, months, on just one picture?


Caribou Road to the Gold Fields of BC (1862) - CW Jefferys
Orig. watercolour - Image Size - 31 x 35 cm
Found - Toronto, ON
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A fabulous painting by CW Jefferys, of the British marching out of the fortress of Louisbourg, in 1758, on their way to besiege Quebec.

Louisbourg had just fallen to the British; a year later Quebec would be taken, so ending 150 years of French rule in Canada.

This would be followed by 150 years as a British colony, then by 150 years as an independent Dominion.

This strong and long dual cultural history would make Canada an officially bi-lingual country, giving people of both cultures access to the organs and services of the Federal Government in their language of choice.

This painting makes clear, again, the enormous brain power and scholarly intellectualism, required of CW and fellow members of the Fab Five, before they could put paint to palette.

Hey, what did a 1758 cartridge case look like? The flag of the time? How did a general tie back his coat tails? The look of a period drum? We could go on and on...

None of this was required of other artists, let alone those of the Group of Seven who could just go out, instantly, and paint away...

Without any time wasted on all those tedious intellectual pre-requirements to distract them while they painted their "personal vision," of what Mother Nature presented, in every detail, to their eyes.


British Troops Leave Louisbourg (1758) - CW Jefferys
Orig. watercolour - Image Size - 35 x 38 cm
Found - Toronto, ON
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

The construction of Fort York by Governor Simcoe in 1793, is another superb painting which captures, with mini-dramas in one picture, the subject matter that it would take a television documentarian numerous sequences to shoot.

As a soldier, with rifle and bayonet patrols the dock, the logs for construction are floated in alongside.

The ox team in the background hauls up the logs to the sawyer who is cutting them into boards, which are then handed up to the men to roof in the blockhouse.

Another man is using an adze to square timbers. These are then rolled up on the rails in the foreground into their position on another blockhouse.

And superintending it all is the heroic figure of Governor Simcoe.

He picked the site and the harbour to found modern Toronto, the largest and most important city in Canada today.

If Simcoe came back he would be more than a bit surprised to see what became of his creation: the horrible crowding of high rise tenements, the horrific noise and traffic congestion.


Governor Simcoe at Building of Fort York (1793) - CW Jefferys
Orig. watercolour - Image Size - 29 x 30.5 cm
Found - Toronto, ON
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

CW Jefferys created one of Canada's most famous paintings, the construction, by Lord Simcoe in 1795, of the first road in Ontario, Toronto's famous main thoroughfare: Yonge Street.

This painting has graced countless books on Canada over the past 70 years.

It displays all the power of a truly creative artist at his best.

No mindless decorative artist - like Riopelle, who can keep his endless patterns going, right, left, top, bottom, to any size you want ma'am, and ultimately grew so bored with the stuff his agent wanted him to keep repeating, he stopped even naming his works - CW's intelligence is at work in every part of his picture frame.

Unlike Riopelle, who could putty knife one of his canvases in a few hours, CW would spend weeks, months, years, of preliminary research to get his subject matter right.

What uniform would the soldiers wear? What colour, what cut, what badges? What types of hats?

What clothing, what kind of boots, hats, shirts, would the men wear? What tools?

And hey! What did a stump look like after it was cut by the axes of the time?

For a Group member it didn't matter in the slightest. Just a gob of paint or two, and, there you are, a stump...


Cutting Out Yonge Street (1795) - CW Jefferys
Orig. watercolour - Image Size - 32.5 x 35 cm
Found - Toronto, ON
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Signed Watercolours, Pen & Ink Drawing, First Edition Books - CW Jefferys
Orig. artwork - Size - various
Found - Toronto, ON
Prov - All signed and originally the possessions of CW Jefferys; autographed books CW presented to Dr. Hugh Charles Templin, Fergus, ON

A fabulous collection of the original art of Canada's premier artist of the people, places, and events of Canadian history.

All materials used to create the most important set of books ever produced on the heritage of Canada and Canadians.

CW (Charles William) Jefferys - 1869-1951 - 3

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