In early June, an A.J. Casson landscape oil painting "A Street in Glen Williams" sold for the record-breaking price of $542, 800. To see this Group of Seven Canadian landscape painting click here Do you know that Glen Williams - probably considered Ontario cottage country when Casson painted what was a contemporary painting then - is a hamlet only 15 minutes north of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada? And for travelers from Toronto, this cultural destination is only a 40 minute trip away. (It is also accessible by Go train and bus)
This painting is not particularly successful in its depiction of a "unique" place - these little houses and fall colors could be almost anywhere in Canada. But then that wasn't Casson's goal. What is remarkable that "Glen Williams" is still a beautifully preserved hamlet of 1850's homes in a true glen, and that it is home to many, many present day artist studios! Glen Williams is protected by the Sheridan Nurseries farmland and the limited growth in the green belt around Toronto. This fabulous place with the Credit River running through it is protected from urban sprawl. But even more importantly, at Glen Williams's heart is the Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre - home to a huge centre of contemporary artists' studios and where I have the good fortune to have my artist studio. www.christinemontague.com
The Williams Mill moniker is deceptive. The mill is only one of FOUR buildings which house visual artists and crafts people.
- The 1850's lumber mill is home to graphic artist, painters, sculptors and potters.
- The 1850's stone power plant is home to jewellers, a quilter, framing service, painters (including www.christinemontague.com) , and my studio mate found art assemblage artist www.theredpigstudio.com
- The courtyard has painting, woodcarving, stone carving (4 sculptors) . The gallery connects from the courtyard & represents the mill artists, and has monthly shows of other artists too.
- The last building is home to Glen Williams Glass Blowers.
So for those of you in wonder of this lovely bit of Canadian art history, or in sheer amazement at the price paid for this Group of Seven, Casson painting , appreciate the place this painting depicts as well. It is well worth the trip to visit this historic town - alive and well with a diverse group of award-winning contemporary artists. And you won't have to pay half a mil to enjoy their work. www.williamsmill.com