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Dean of Canadian Painters

"A. J. Casson"

At 92 years of age, (born May 17, 1898) it would be quite justifiable if our Toronto born "Dean of Canadian Painters" -A. J. Casson just sat back and revelled in his past accomplishments. A master of oils and water colours, his paintings hang in galleries and private collections the world over. Canada has honoured him with every award it can give its artists. But this man of world renown, who paints with such majesty, and who is the last of the famed "Group of Seven" is still going strong.

Presently his "Artist in Residence" is displayed at Toronto's Sunnybrook Hospital, where his wife resides. He has painted the hospital's Christmas Card for several years. He donates the painting to the hospital. They use it as a fund-raiser selling note paper and Christmas Cards.

"It's the least I can do, he told me. "They are wonderful to my wife and they can sure use the money."

The money goes for research into Alzheimers disease, the heart-breaking affliction suffered by so many, including his wife. With failing eyesight

A. J. Casson has not painted a major work for several years. His 1215 Outdoor sketches, when they do come on the market, sell for upwards of 8 thousand dollars. None of his larger works have come on the market for so long now that he says, "Lord knows what they would be worth".

His paintings are kept as treasured gems by astute collectors. Trivia buffs looking for some Canadiana can use this at their next party. Question: What does A. J. in A. J. Casson stand for? Give up? It stands for Alfred Joseph. But he told me, "When I was about ten the kids started calling me A. J. (ey Jay) and it stuck. That's all I've ever been called since."

I proudly call him a Canadian Achiever.

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