J.E.H. MacDonald Up Close

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At the height of his career, J.E.H. MacDonald’s paintings and oil sketches reveal a mastery of colour mixing, a sureness of brushstroke, and a deep understanding of compositional design. His striking landscapes and views of nature are an important artistic legacy and confirm his essential place among the Group of Seven painters.

J.E.H. MacDonald Up Close provides a fresh interpretation of MacDonald’s artistic development and sheds new light on questions of authenticity and dating surrounding MacDonald’s paintings. Here art conservation experts Kate Helwig and Alison Douglas combine rigorous scientific analysis with a close visual examination of MacDonald’s work to focus on his materials and techniques. Exploring the interface between art history and science, Helwig and Douglas use excerpts from MacDonald’s diaries, letters, and lectures to provide socio-historical context to their in-depth reading of the paintings as physical objects.

Helwig and Douglas’s fascinating text is accompanied not only by reproductions of key artworks, but also by never-before-seen photographs taken through a microscope. These unique, close-up views of MacDonald’s working methods reveal the texture of his brushstrokes and the characteristic ways he layered and mixed his paint.


By Kate Helwig, Alison Douglas

216 pages
7.5 x 10 inches
ISBN 9781773104157
Goose Lane Editions