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

Speed River at Rockwood, 1927

watercolour on paper
13.75x15.5 in.
$55,000 Cdn.
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Provenance
Roberts Gallery Toronto;
Galerie Royale, Vancouver;
Private collection, British Columbia

Casson and Franklin Carmichael, a fellow Group of Seven member and whom he was an assistant for at Grip Ltd., travelled to Rockwood, Ontario together in 1927. Casson had been officially invite to join the Group of Seven just one year prior in 1926, and he and Carmichael would remain close as the younger two members of the group. In Speed River, we can see Casson’s incredible sense of design – with simple shadows and smooth shapes, he carves out a charming autumn scene. Casson’s work would become more geometric as time went on, and this is a fantastic early example of his clean painting style.

Rockwood is a small community in the township of Guelph Eramosa. Casson would travel here more than once over the course of his career – other Rockwood sketches and canvases are held in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario, and privately collected. The town is settled along the Eramosa river, and the natural area around the water is now a conservation area.

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…