A friend and I were engaging in art talk over coffee. He told me how he refuses to let his less mature works survive the passing of time. Now lets face it. He was really saying, "After I am gone, I don't want my art to be judged on what I perceive as my poorer paintings." His words hit the mark for my collection could do with a good weeding out.
This is the thought that went through my mind as background to this page from the autobiography of AY Jackson.
"While we were in St. Malo, a little circus tent arrives there. The performances took place in a small green tent, outside of which stood a covered wagon drawn by a mule. I made a sketch of the tent in the evening light. Some years later when I was cleaning out a lot of old paintings, I came across the circus tent and told my sister to put it with other rejected pieces in the furnace."
One day Robinson said to me, "Do you remember a sketch you did in St. Malo of a green circus tent? Do you still have it?" I told him that it had gone to the furnace some years before.
He was shocked. "Why, he said," "That was one of the finest things you ever painted."
Thereafter he would often refer to it, and in retrospect the sketch got better with every telling. "It was as good as a Morrice," he declared, and in time I came to believe that it was and that I had been very foolish to destroy it.
A Painter's Country - the autobiography of AY Jackson, pg.19. Clarke Irwin & Co, 1963. Toronto, On. Canada.
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