The renowned Canadian painter Alfred Joseph Casson was born in Toronto, Ontario, on May 17, 1898. He became a legendary character in Canadian art history because of his work documenting the landscape of Ontario and his contribution to the Group of Seven.
Alfred Joseph Casson started his artistic career at an early age. After his family relocated to Hamilton when he was nine years old, he attended primary school there. He was born in Toronto. Casson had a strong interest in painting even as a young boy, frequently sketching his surroundings. He began working at a Hamilton lithography shop when he was fifteen years old, which piqued his interest in painting as a career. In 1917, Casson went back to Toronto and worked for a commercial art company while attending evening classes at the Ontario College of Art. He received instruction from well-known artists like as J.W. Beatty here, who acquaint him with the tradition of outdoor sketching that would eventually shape his professional life.
The most notable aspect of Alfred Joseph Casson’s career is his membership in the Group of Seven, an artistic group committed to preserving the unadulterated beauty of the Canadian environment. A.J. Munnings extended an invitation for him to join in 1926, taking Frank Johnston’s place. Casson’s approach was somewhat distinct from the group’s other approaches. With an emphasis on smaller towns and villages, he captured the charming and attractive qualities of rural life, paying particular attention to Ontario’s distinctive architectural style.
Casson started traveling around the Muskoka region and the north of Toronto in the 1930s. It was in these places that he created a new style of painting that perfectly reflected the form and mood of the surrounding terrain. During this time, he used a bright palette and powerful, rounded forms in his work.
Casson’s career encompassed several different fields of art outside of the Group of Seven. He began his career as a commercial artist and eventually rose to the position of partner at Sampson Matthews Ltd., where he created graphics and images with a war theme, greatly aiding Canada’s war effort in World War II. He pursued his commercial art profession after the war, but he also painted more, which brought him more fame and more shows.
Casson died on February 20, 1992, just three months shy of turning ninety-four. He is buried on the grounds of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, with the graves of the other six Group of Seven members.
Casson’s life was characterized by a strong commitment to the arts and a lasting influence on Canadian culture. His unique aesthetic and dedication to capturing the rural beauty of the nation have cemented his status as one of Canada’s most cherished artists, and his legacy lives on and inspires art enthusiasts everywhere.
Casson died in 1992, but his legacy continues to be celebrated online through various art websites, social media pages dedicated to the Group of Seven, and museum collections featuring his work. Art enthusiasts and historians often share and discuss his paintings on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, ensuring that his contributions to Canadian art are remembered and appreciated by new generations.
A.J. Casson’s 1941 piece, “Give Us the Tools and We Will Finish the Job – Help Finish the Job – Buy Victory Bonds,” was featured on PBS’s “Antiques Roadshow” on May 26, 2008. The painting, which had been gifted to the owner’s grandfather by Casson himself, a neighbor and friend, was valued between $25,000 and $35,000.
A substantial oil on canvas painting by Casson from the Group of Seven, “Street in Glen Williams,” set a record when it sold for $542,800 on June 1, 2010, including the buyer’s premium. At first predicted to bring between $200,000 and $250,000, this fallal painting of a small hamlet outside of Toronto set a record for the highest pre-sale valuation for a Casson painting.
Remarkably, “Street in Glen Williams” was deemed by prominent Canadian art critic and historian Paul Duval in 1980 to be Casson’s most significant fall painting. Beginning at $180,000, the bidding rapidly increased in $10,000, then $20,000, and finally reached $460,000 in the end, coming from a buyer in western Canada. This was more than the $489,100 Casson record from May 2005.
Setting a new record for the highest price paid for one of Casson’s paintings, “Gathering Storm” sold for an astounding $1,534,000 CDN, including the premium, on November 23, 2016.
Another Casson piece, “Pic Island, Lake Superior,” a little oil on board sketch measuring 9 3/8 x 11 1/8 in (23.8 x 28.3 cm), was originally expected to bring in between $40,000 and $60,000 at the Heffel Auction of Canadian, Impressionist & Modern Art on December 1, 2021. But when it sold for $481,250, including the Buyer’s Premium, it considerably beyond estimates, indicating even more people’s enthusiasm and tremendous desire for Casson’s art.
Casson’s net worth at the time of his life is not known, but his art has significantly increased in value after his death.
Alfred Joseph Casson received numerous honors throughout his life, recognizing his contributions to the arts and Canadian culture. Here’s a list of his notable accolades:
These honors reflect Casson’s esteemed position as a central figure in Canadian art and his widespread recognition for his artistic achievements and contributions to the field.
Unknown. He died in 1992.