Franklin Carmichael R.C.A.
Autumn Hillside, c. 1919
Joyner Fine Art, November 21, 1998;
Sketch for canvas Autumn Hillside, 1920 at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
The sketch Autumn Hillside by Franklin Carmichael relates directly to the well-known canvas of the same name, now in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario, and one of their flagship Carmichael works. Light, airy, and beautifully decorative, the sketch is a dance of colour and delicate pattern, everything is awash in soft, autumnal light. Carmichael, like many of the members of the Group, worked as a commercial designer, apprenticing at Grip Ltd. beginning in 1911. His design skills
are clearly evident in this work, which emanates elements of Art Nouveau in its organic and flowing lines. The arched, almost delicate branches in the bottom right corner are draped with a few last leaves, and are a particularly fine touch. Carmichael’s brushwork is impressionistic, dappled, and assured. The colour is exceedingly fine, speaking of warm fall days, ripening foliage, and is distinctly eastern Canadian.
The aforementioned canvas dates to 1920, the year the Group of Seven was formed.
This now over 100 year old sketch celebrates this important anniversary, and is an exemplary homage to the place in Canada where the Group came into their own, where their ideas coalesced, and where they solidified their friendships, their camaraderie, and their purpose.