About a month ago there was a national news story here about an oil painting--correction, an oil sketch--that sold in auction for about $3.5 million Canadian. You can link to the full CBC story here or you can go to the auction house information about the paintings for sale here. The sketch in question was called "The Old Stump, Lake Superior" by Group of Seven Artist Lawren Harris (shown above). They were a group of Canadian landscape artists, primarily from the 1920's, heavily influenced by European Impressionism that held a strong desire to depict nature in their own unique way.
I will be up front about my total lack of background in art. If my knowledge could be measured, it would half-fill a shot glass and I would spill the contents down the front of myself trying to drink it. One only has to look at the stick-men drawings my son does by way of art at school to know what side of the family his abilities came from. I was trained as a draftsman in school, back in the days when pencils, rulers and drafting boards were used. I find comfort in the linear and orderly words and lines on the page. I was dragged, kicking and screaming, into the foreign world of technology and AutoCad. Art is even more abstract and foreign to me.
The story caught my eye because of Lawren Harris. Many years ago, while living in London, Ontario, I spent a weekend in Toronto and took a side trip north to the village of Kleinburg. There you will find the McMichael Canadian Art Collection that displays contemporary art, First Nations Art, Inuit Art and most of the works of the Group of Seven. If you find yourself about the Toronto area, I recommend a side trip to the McMichael.
Anyhow...at the McMichael I saw Mt. Lefroy, by Lawren Harris and was mesmerized by it (shown right). My lack of art education shows when I can't even explain why I liked it so much...I just 'did'. I suppose that if I had a few million of disposable income lying about I may be inclined to buy that piece of art, or something similar by Harris.
I recall a story a few years back about the federal government buying a painting from a Canadian artist for a large sum of money. That's fine, I suppose, except that it was three vertical stripes. I wish that I could remember the name of the artist or painting and I would attach it here. The three stripes thing just doesn't inspire me the way that mountain does. Then again, I guess that it's up to a person's individual tastes.
I know that a couple of you that read my blog have some art training and are much better qualified to discuss a topic like this. What do all of you consider art? Have you a favourite?