Alexander Young Jackson-oftentimes referred to as A.Y. Jackson-is one of Canada's most important painters and was a member of the "Group of Seven" who were integral to the development of Canadian.
Jackson was the epitome of the self-made man. His father abandoned his mother and her six other children when he was a child. Because of the financial hardship that ensued, he was forced to start working at a lithograph company. This sparked the artistic fires in Jackson and he was soon taking classes at Le Monument National in Montreal.
He travelled to Europe, taking a job as a crew member on a ship to pay his way, worked his way through the Art Institute of Chicago at a commercial art firm and, paying his own tuition, attended the Paris Academie Julian in 1907.
His career progressed well in Canada but he considered moving to the United States for more opportunity. He was persuaded to stay in Canada and, in 1920, helped found the Group of Seven who worked to set on canvas Canada's vast wealth of natural beauty. Some of these regions had been deemed inaccessible by other artists but Alexander Young Jackson, as on so many occasions, rose to the challenge.