Alexander Young (A.Y.) Jackson (1882 - 1974)

In 1907, Alexander Young Jackson traveled to Paris to study impressionism with Jean-Paul Laurens at the 'Academie Julien'. Jackson remained in Paris until 1912, he returned to Montreal to spend time working on his art. It was in Paris - 1910 - that he produced one of his first major pieces entitled "The Edge of Maple Wood".

In 1914 Alexander Young Jackson enlisted in the Canadian Army, and served for two years until he was wounded in June of 1917, which saw him transferred to the records department as a war artist. He produced many great works, and gave his art a very different edge.

Jackson became very discouraged with the Canadian art scene and considered a move to the United States. It was then that he received a letter from two members of the Original 7 asking him to move to Toronto - both MacDonald and Harris were interested in his work. He spent some of this time on art excursions to the St. Lawrence, the Arctic and British Columbia art. Having hardly any finances after the war, his career was often supported by various art patrons. He is quoted saying that "artists are often excellent businessmen. They have to be. Otherwise they do not remain artists".

In 1919, Alexander Young Jackson formally joined the Group of Seven and exhibited with them throughout the next decade. In 1920, he was elected president of the newly-formed Beaver Hall Group in Montreal, a group which included several influential female artists in an art world where women weren't considered very influential. By 1924, he began to teach at the Ontario College of Art but resigned after one year to continue his outdoor sketches. After the original sevens last exhibition in 1931, a new group - The Canadian Group of Painters) was formed with Jackson and Lismer as the two mentors. Jackson continued to travel and paint and mentor other young artists in his later years. Visiting Europe again in 1936, and often traveling around Canada on art expeditions.

Alexander Young Jackson traveled to Banff in 1943 where he spent six years teaching at the Banff School of Fine Arts. In his later years he was artist-in-residence at the McMichael Gallery in Kleinberg, Ontario.