Participating in the planning for the upcoming exhibits of Clara’s work (Toronto Doors Open weekend, Saturday, May 27 – Sunday, May 28, 2017 http://www.doorsopenontario.on.ca) has provided me with the opportunity to look back and realize where the Clara project started and where it’s going. These exhibits are the product of so many people contributing their paintings, thoughts, and time.
In 2011 Jeffrey B., an artist in Duncan B.C., contacted me.
Fall Rush, Bancroft October 1941
Oil on canvas 10 1/2 x x 14"
I cannot improve on Jeffrey’s description:
"At my feet a treasure of the past at the Sally-Ann, a Clara Harris from '41, a few dollars for a piece of Canadian history. Despite their age, the brushstrokes and knife smears are as fresh and crisp as that fall day, the closer you look the more you feel Clara's ecstatic moments. The rush of the stream, the mill outfall, the saturated leaves dripping and waiting to fall. The grand plein air tradition of her Group of Seven contemporaries confidently in her hand. Thank you Clara for being there to record that moment of Canadiana for us to enjoy 70 years later as if it was today."
Knowing how Jeffrey felt about his painting I thought he would keep it forever. But in January 2017 he contacted me:
Hope you are well and keeping up with your curatorial focus.
I was wondering what the market presently is for Clara's work as I was thinking of downsizing my collection. Attached are photos of the piece I am looking to sell which is of course the one you remember. It would be nice to see it go to a good home that already knows her work, so if you know anyone who is interested that would be ideal. It really is a lovely Canadian plein air painting and I’m sad to see it go but unfortunately am at a time in my life where it’s time to downsize. As you can see on the back upper right Clara has written October, Bancroft 1941.
"Let me know if you would like it or pass along the contact info of the interested collector.
All the best
My first response was to buy the painting as it satisfies collection criteria: the painting’s signed, titled, dated, pleasing subject matter and in good condition. But coincidentally a collector contacted me:
Do you have any of Clara's paintings for sale or do you know of anyone wishing to sell?
Enzo wanted to buy his wife another Clara painting for her birthday: preferably a Toronto landscape. Jeffrey and Enzo were introduced to each other and the rest is history. Fall Rush has relocated from Duncan, B.C. to Mississauga, Ontario.
Enzo has promised that his wife will contact me after she opens her birthday present. Then we’ll know how she likes it. (Enzo will reveal the purchase price). And they hope to attend the exhibits in May and see more of Clara’s work in “real time”. Maybe you’ll meet them there!