26.5" x 32.5"
This vintage oil painting (circa 1950) depicts Canadian geese flying in formation. The geese, with their signature black heads and necks, white cheeks and brown bodies, are migrating across a body of water in a distinctive V-shape. Canadian geese are known for their seasonal migrations, where they fly south from Canada in the fall to spend the winter in the United States. In the spring, the geese fly back to Canada to breed and have goslings. The artist, who is unknown yet assumed to be Canadian, paints the water with bright greens and blues, contrasting the somber beige and grey sky. The birds are crafted with loose, delicate brushstrokes. The artist appears to have used the scumbling technique to paint the water, where a dry, stiff brush is used to apply thin layers of paint to a canvas. As a result, the image has a textured finish. The horizon line, or the point where the water meets the sky, acts as a visual boundary and is at the height of the viewer’s eyes when looking at the scene; this draws the viewer’s gaze to the geese flying from the bottom right of the horizon line to the top left corner of the painting. This work has a simple frame made of brown wood.
At this time in Canada, the Canadian Army Special Force was established in August 1950 for service in the Korean War (1950–1953). More than 26,000 Canadians served in Korea, both during the combat phase and as peacekeepers afterwards, as part of a United Nations (UN) force. The UN was formed after World War II, with the goal of avoiding future international conflict. When the crisis between North and South Korea was brought to the attention of the UN, 18 member nations – including Canada – voted to send troops to join the American and South Korean forces. The Korean War led to the third-highest death toll for Canadian troops in overseas conflict, after the two World Wars.