Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Early CBC - AY Jackson Documentary, complete with film footage of Tom Thomson's, Toronto 'Shack'.

I've been on a bit of an AY run lately. His autobiograpy caught my interest and with that I was off to the races.

Some background to this CBC documetary. It was created in 1955, making it 55 years old. AY, was 72 years of age at the time.

My attention picked up when the film showed footage of the famous 'shack', where Tom Thomson, lived in Toronto.

Lawren Harris, in his essay 'The Story of the Group of Seven,' wrote:

"The studio building was built in 1914. MacDonald, Jackson and I had studios in it. We tried to induce Tom Thomson to join us. Thomson loved the north. The north country and painting were his life. He lived in town in the winter with the sole idea that he could go north as soon as the ice broke in the rivers and lakes. Tom did not want a studio in the building. He would not feel at home in it. There was a dilapidated old shack at the back of the property which was built in the days that part of Toronto was the town of Yorkville. We fixed it up, put down a new floor, made the roof watertight, built in a studio window, put in a stove and an electric light, Tom made himself a bunk, shelves and a table and an easel and lived in that place as he would a cabin in the north. It became Tom's shack and was his home until he died in 1917. It has been known as Tom's shack ever since."

While Lawren doesn't say it, AY Jackson in his autobiography says that Lawren who was wealthy, provided the money for the studio and property. So it's conceivable that he paid for the refitting of Tom's 'shack'.

The Shack was eventually moved to the McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg, On., and AY Jackson spent the latter years of his life in the shack as a resident artist.

Anyway...its yours to enjoy. Its a real period peace documentary complete with tinny music, orchestrated dialogues and a voice over that makes it sound like a world war 2 film.

Please click here.

Lawren Harris essay extracted from Joan Murray's, 'The Best of the Group of Seven,', Hurtig Publishers, Edmonton, pg.27. isbn:0-88830-265-7.

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