James Edward Hervey (J.E.H.) MacDonald
(1873-1932)

Though born in Durham, England, J.E.H. MacDonald immigrated to Canada at the age of 14 and by 1912 had quit his job as a commercial designer to pursue a fulltime career as a landscape artist. Along with Lawren Harris and Frank Johnston, MacDonald conceived of the idea for the Group of Seven after a painting trip to the wilderness of the Algoma District in Northeastern Ontario in 1918. The goal of the group was to develop and promote a distinct Canadian art that explored direct experiences with the Canadian landscape; it is considered the first major national movement of Canadian art and MacDonald is remembered as its most eloquent spokesman. MacDonald, who traveled widely through Canada but frequented Algoma, Georgian Bay, and the Rocky Mountains the most, served as the principal of the Ontario College of Art and as a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Artss. In addition to his legacy as one of the greatest Canandian artists, MacDonald was also considered an expert in design, a master calligrapher, and a talented poet; “West by East”, a volume of his poetry, was published shortly after his death in Toronto in 1932. His works feature prominently at the National Gallery of Canada which held a retrospective of his career in 1966.

“Mist Fantasy” (1943) is a silkscreen from the Sampson-Matthews wartime art program based on MacDonald’s famous painting of the same name from 1922 (now in the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario). Used on a 15-cent stamp by Canada Post in 1973 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the artist’s birth, the painting has been exhibited in major museums around the world including the Tate Gallery in London; it is considered an icon of Canadian Art. In this image, two canoes, tied to each other and a rocky shore, float upon glass-still water as a van Gogh-esque ribbon of mist rises beyond the edge of the Sand River in Algoma. MacDonald’s friend and peer, A.J. Casson, supervised the production of this Sampson-Matthews silkscreen.

Artwork for sale by
James Edward Hervey (J.E.H.) MacDonald