A.J. Casson P.R.C.A.
Indian Village, c. 1965
signed lower right
titled and signed on stretcher bar to verso
Sale of Sothebys Toronto, Important Canadian Art, Nov. 10, 1987, lot. 227;
In 1919, at the age of 21, A. J Casson found himself seated next to Franklin Carmichael at a desk at the design firm of Rous & Mann. Carmichael took him to lunch at the Arts & Letters Club, where the future members of the Group of Seven would often meet. It was there, and through his friendship with Carmichael, that Casson would eventually become a member of the Group, replacing Frank Johnston when he left. Casson was thrilled to be a part of this established – and by the time
he joined – quite famous group, and eagerly began joining them on their wilderness sketching trips. “… Jackson, Harris and Carmichael took me along for a two-week sketching trip. …we camped in a spruce grove on the north shore of Lake Superior.” 1
While Casson learned much from his fellow group members, he is known for his distinctive style, one that employs elements of geometry, conveys an almost cubist sense of space, and shows us small villages and rural scenes captured with a unique feeling for their structure, setting and charm. He was attuned to his scenes in the same way that Jackson was attuned to the St Lawrence and its rural villages.
Casson’s work is identifiable at once – his style, his touch, and his brushwork are unique – delicate and bold at the same time, wherein houses and churches, forests and grasslands, people and animals are handled with a cohesive unity that speaks always of the weather. Wind, rain, or sunshine, whatever the scene holds is consistently echoed in each element of the work. As a modernist, his influence can be
found in the generations of landscape painters that have since followed.
1. Gray, Rand, and Steen. A.J. Casson: Canadian Artists Series 1. Gage Publishing, 1976, p 10.