There were dozens of lakes, many of them not on the map. For identification purposes we gave them names. The bright sparkling lakes we named after people we admired… to the swampy ones, all messed up with moose tracks, we gave the names of the critics who disparaged us.”
-A. Y. Jackson
Alexander Young Jackson was born on October 3, 1882 in Montreal, Quebec. He was a founding member of the Group of Seven. The Group of Seven was a group of Canadian landscape painters who believed that a style of distinctly Canadian art should be developed through direct contact with Canada’s rugged wilderness. They were considered bold and innovative because the Canadian wilderness had previously been considered too severe and wild to be painted.
His artistic talent was revealed when Jackson began work at age twelve for a Montreal Lithography (printing) company to help support his mother and five siblings. He took evening classes to train as an artist.
Jackson enlisted in the Canadian Army’s 60th battalion in 1915. Soon after he reached the front he was wounded. While recovering from his injuries his artistic talents were discovered and he was transferred to the Canadian War Records branch as an artist. He later worked for the Canadian War Memorials as an official war artist from 1917 – 1919.
He formally joined the Group of Seven in 1919 and exhibited with them.
He received honorary doctorates from: Queens University, McMaster University, the University of Saskatchewan and the University of British Columbia. He was also made a companion of the Order of Canada for outstanding achievements and excellence.
He died on April 5, 1974.
Art example: Aurora