A Row of Houses, Wellington Street is Lawren Harris’ first major canvas depicting downtown Toronto housing. Signed and dated “L S H ’10” on the face of the picture, a faint inscription on the back of the original stretcher, retained and now attached to the current one reads “Street Painting I.” The site can be identified. On the city’s 1880 fire insurance map, the row of six adjoined, two-and-half story brick dwellings was named “St Catharine’s Terrace” and was located on the north side of Wellington Street West between Dorset and John Streets.
In 1924 Lawren Harris and A.Y. Jackson spent August and early September sketching in Jasper Park in the Rocky Mountains. They first walked from Jasper Lodge to Maligne Lake. By horse they went on to the Colin Range, before hiking over the Shovel Pass to the Athabaska and Tonquin valleys. “We camped at the south end of Maligne Lake on a wide delta of gravel,” Jackson wrote in the January 1925 issue of The Canadian Forum.
Featured Painting: Lawren Harris Morning Sun Over Hill, Lake Superior (Lake Superior Sketch XXVII) 1922
In the fall of 1921 Lawren Harris and A.Y. Jackson painted in Algoma then travelled on to Rossport on the north shore of Lake Superior. In the autumns of 1922 and 1923 the two artists returned to Lake Superior, painting at Port Coldwell in 1922 and at Port Munro and Pike Lake in 1923. The artists probably didn’t return to Lake Superior in 1924 as they were painting in Jasper Park and Jackson had to return to Toronto to teach at the Ontario College of Art but they returned to Port Coldwell the following year.
Rock and Hill may depict the same hillock as Morning Sun over Hill, Lake Superior, though here the light is clear, the foreground rocks more assertive and the lighter colours are darkly outlined asserting their sculptural form. The naked trunks reach up to the top of the frame, creating a vertical and horizontal rhythm. Water, is glimpsed centre left where the clouds are painted with Harris’ characteristic stylization.
Lawren Harris’ iconic painting, A Row of Houses, Wellington Street, 1910, is among the works featured in our April 1 sale, Lawren Harris & Canadian Masters: Historic Sale Celebrating Canada’s 150 Years.
Carving a long and distinguished career, William I.M. Turner Jr. made important contributions to the spheres of business, community services, education and the arts. He grew up in Toronto, where he earned first a degree in engineering from the University of Toronto and then an MBA from Harvard Business School.