Sunday, October 17, 2010

AY Jackson on Lawren Harris

I did not meet Lawren Harris in Toronto, so he came to Berlin (Kitchener) to meet me. He was I found, a young man, well educated, widely travelled and well to do; his grandfather had been one of the founders of the Massey Harris Company.

To Lawren Harris, art was almost a mission. He believed that a counry that ignored the arts, left no record of itself, worth preserving. He deplored our neglect of the artist in Canada, and believed that we, a young, vigorous people who had pioneered in so many ways should put the same spirit of adventure into our cultivation of the arts. With MacDonald, Lismer, Varley and others whose acquaintance he had recently made, he believed that art in Canada should assume a more aggressive role and he had exalted ideas about the place of the artist in the community. After the apathy of Montreal, it was exciting to meet such a man.

After looking back all these years, I can think of no one who has so consistently devoted himself to increasing the public's interest in the arts and upholding the ideals of the artists in Canada.

Source: Autobiography of AY Jackson, 1958. Clark Irwin & Co., Ltd. Toronto. pg. 24.

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