The third Canadian Group of Seven painter I’m writing about today is Alexander Young Jackson.
A.Y. was born on October 3, 1882 in Montreal, Quebec. He held his first single exhibition at the Montreal Art Gallery, in 1913, showing his “The Edge of Maple Wood” painting. Hitting hard times, financially, he decided to go to the United States. However, that changed when he heard from J.E.H. MacDonald, who inquired about the painting. MacDonald wanted to buy it, if it hadn’t already been sold.
He enlisted in World War I, assigned to the Canadian Army’s 60th battalion. Soon afterwards, he was wounded at the Battle of Sanctuary Wood. While recovering, he came to the attention of Lord Beaverbrook, and was transferred to the Canadian War Records branch as an artist.
A founding member, he exhibited his work through the Group of Seven starting in 1920. Then in 1933, Jackson helped found the Canadian Group of Painters.
Jackson moved to the Ottawa region, in 1955, settling in Manotick, Ontario. He would often go on sketching trips in the area with fellow artists. On one of these trips with Ralph Wallace Burton, on the banks of the Ottawa River, a bullet ricocheted off a rock where Jackson was sitting! He wasn’t hit, thankfully.
Jackson was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1967.
In 1964, A.Y. Jackson submitted a design during the Great Flag Debate.
The following year, he suffered a serious stroke, cutting short his painting career. He died over the Easter holidays in 1974 (April 5) in a nursing home in Kleinburg, Ontario (near Toronto). He was 91 years old.
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