Gallery Three - "Three Puffins"
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Three Penguins...or maybe Puffins!
Provenance: Dr. Naomi Graves Jackson, niece of A.Y. Jackson, one of the artists in the Group of Seven
26.5 x 21 inches
This mat has a strong resemblance to the art of the Canadian Group of Seven. Penguins do not occur in Canada but there was a fascination with penguins after the 1939 New York World's Fair which featured Admiral Byrd's Penguin Island, a celebration of Byrd's journey to Antarctica. The stylized birds may very well be puffins as they are abundant in the northern parts of Newfoundland and Labrador. Puffins were a common image in Grenfell mats partly because of the public's interest in penguins. Puffin, small colorful birds with bright orange feet and massive orange, yellow and blue striped bills, were sometimes referred to as "Labrador Peacocks". Rhoda Dawson, an Industrial supervisor wrote, "There were several designs of puffins, picturesque birds, native to the sub-Arctic, which were supposed to satisfy the tourist's insatiable demands for penguins, which are, of course, native to Antarctica."