Lawren Harris

Mongoose Lake II, Algoma 1920,

oil on board
10.5 x 13.5 in

The studio of Lawren Harris, Studio Bldg. Toronto
Heffel, Nov. 2007
Private collection, Vancouver, B.C.
Doris Mills, L.S. Harris Inventory, 1936, no. XI (11), as Mongoose Lake II. Inventory of paintings in the studio of Lawren Harris, The Studio Building, Toronto.

In the spring of 1918 Lawren Harris travelled north of Sault Ste. Marie to the Algoma region of Ontario on a sketching trip. There, Harris felt he had discovered the golden lode of painting sites. “A veritable paradise for the creative adventurer in paint in the Canadian North” as he later described it. “We found that there was a wild richness and clarity of colour in the Algoma woods, which made the colour in southern Ontario seem grey and subdued.” Algoma is indeed a treasure trove of vast vistas with the rushing waters of the Montreal and Agawa rivers. The carnival of colour, flaming masses of gold and red, studded by the dark green accents of spruce and the serene spaces of quiet lakes.
On or about the 15 of May 1920, during the first Group of Seven Exhibition in Toronto, Jackson, Harris, Dr. MacCallum and, for the first time, Arthur Lismer went to Algoma for ten days. They appeared to have stayed on Mongoose Lake, perhaps in a rented cottage. In the fall, Harris, Jackson, MacDonald and Johnston again went north to Algoma. They appear to have stayed in the region of Mongoose Lake from the end of September to early October.
Harris’s own creative solutions to the pictorial puzzles Algoma offered included some of the most glowing sketches of his career. Harris preferred a larger panel size then most other Canadian landscape painters. This allowed him to realize his compositions in a very complete way. Many of his Algoma sketches are totally achieved creations in their very own right.
Source: Lawren Harris, Where the Universe Sings by Paul Duval, The Group of Seven by Dennis Reid