A.J. Casson P.R.C.A.

Mill Lake, Parry Sound, October 1932

oil on panel
9.5x11.5 in.

Walter Klinkhoff Gallery, Montreal;
Masters Gallery Ltd., Calgary;
Private collection, Tennessee

This fine A. J. Casson comes from the last year of his association with the Group of Seven, who disbanded the same year this work was executed. Here we see him in mid-career, with elements of his Group style visible, as well as hints of the more modernist direction that would come. As always, the weather is clearly discernable in this work, the windswept cliff seems to incline away from the water, which is stirred by choppy waves that almost break into whitecaps. The weather beaten deadfall on the near shore further underscores that is a windswept beach, in wild terrain.

Mill Lake is an important location in Casson’s body of work. He painted a number of sketches, and several significant canvases in this region, being attracted to the vertical cliffs and rolling distant hills. Clouds are a strong feature in many of Casson’s works, and here they add vitality and movement to the scene, echoing the curve of the hills on the left and reinforcing Casson’s brushwork, which is a mix of gently rounded strokes, vertical licks of white, and more blocky, solid strokes of blue in the water. The curved underside of the clouds accentuates the feeling of depth and distance in this charming work, bringing our eye from the sky to the hills to the cliff, down to the water and then back again to the sky.


Alfred Joseph Casson, painter (b at Toronto 17 May 1898; d there 20 Feb 1992). After study at Hamilton (1913-15) and Toronto (1915-17), A.J. Casson got his first real job in 1919 at a Toronto commercial art firm as Franklin Carmichael’s apprentice. Carmichael had the greatest influence on Casson as…