Say “Group of Seven,” and most people will assume you’re referring to the organization of the world’s leading industrial nations, whose annual summit provides the biggest photo opportunities for the leaders of the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy. and Canada, Japan, and Russia until its suspension in 2014. As it happens, the leader of one of those countries, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, can probably tell you a lot about the Other Seven, the clique of artists who created the national style of expressionist landscape painting in the 2000s. The twenties and twenties of the last century. Inject modern Canadian art and capture the spiritual essence of Canadian wildlife. Nearly a century later, the Group of Seven remains a touchstone of Canada’s artistic identity.
Although not formally formed until 1920, the Group of Seven grew out of relationships that began to develop as early as about 1908 at Grape Ltd., a Toronto commercial design firm whose chief artist, J.E.H. MacDonald, Encouraging employees to hone their talents through air-drawing in their free time. Like many of the staff, MacDonald had extensive formal training as an artist. Other Grip employees who would become members of the Group of Seven were Frank H. (later Franz) Johnston, Franklin Carmichael, and a pair of English immigrants, Arthur Lismer and F.H. Farley. The diamond of the Grip was Tom Thompson, who had little formal training but learned from his co-workers and eventually surpassed them all in his mastery of technique and as an innovator. They all talked about art at the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto with another pair of painters who completed the original group: I.Y. Jackson, a native of Montreal, and Lorraine Harris, scion of farm machinery fortune Massie Harris who would become the group’s presumptive leader.
The group’s breakthrough came with the discovery of their subject, the shimmering lakes and lush boreal forests of Ontario’s Canadian Shield, a landscape the art establishment deemed too wild to paint or deserve attention. Enchanted by an exhibition of Scandinavian landscape art they saw in Buffalo, New York, in 1913, Harris and MacDonald admired its connections to the Canadian wilderness, and led their ambitious colleagues to establish a national school of painting founded on the celebration of Independence Day. The raw, virgin “Northern” character of much of Canada. After being taught about the natural world by a distinguished relative, the naturalist William Brodie, Thompson became an increasingly competent outdoorsman and an indispensable guide to the group as they took extended sketching trips into the Ontario wilderness, especially to Algonquin Provincial Park. About 140 miles (225 km) northeast of Toronto. Later, they commission a railroad boxcar to take them deep into the Algoma hinterland in northwestern Ontario and to its stunning views of Lake Superior.
Although none of the group attended the famous New York City Armory Show of 1913 that effectively introduced North America to modern art, many of them, through study or travel, were well acquainted with recent trends in European art, and while they developed their ideas A uniquely Canadian art movement, they drew from influences such as Post-Impressionism by Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, and Georges Seurat, Expressionism by Edvard Munch, and Brutalism by Henri Matisse and Maurice de Vlaminck. Their work usually begins as “sketches” on stage (in Thompson’s case, on a beaver board [fiberboard used in construction]) which were retouched, transferred, and transferred onto canvas again in the studio. They have largely abandoned realism to instead convey their emotional response to their subjects in expressive form. The group’s paintings were often characterized by the use of bold and bright colours, which were published early on with heavy, broad brushstrokes and later in more stylized patterns with thinner pigments.
When members of the group—initially grouped together as the “Algonquin Park Group”—began showing their work, Toronto art critics were much less kind in their assessment (garish, affectedAnd amazing The words used by A Toronto Star Reporter). However, two primary sponsors emerged. Eric Brown, director of the National Gallery of Canada, purchased the collection’s paintings for that institution. James McCallum, a Toronto ophthalmologist and collector, financed the efforts of Thompson and Jackson for a time, and then, with Harris, financed the construction of the Studio Building (1914) in the Rosedale neighborhood of Toronto, where members of the group lived and painted. in Six Studios (now a National Historic Site). Thompson, who began to spend more and more of the year in the wilderness, lived in the studio building for a short time and then occupied a specially equipped cottage behind it for several years (he paid one rent per month).
In 1917—while several members of the not yet formally formed group were serving in the military during World War I—Thompson died under mysterious circumstances in Algonquin Park, having drowned after apparently falling from his canoe, though More recent theories have concluded that he was the victim of foul play. He died before the formation of the Group of Seven, but he was its guiding light and its most accomplished member, even if Harris (whose subjects later included the Rocky Mountains and the Arctic) would go further in embracing abstraction. two of Thompson’s paintings, west wind (1916–17) and jack pine (1916-1917), it remains one of the most iconic works in Canadian art history.
Eventually the Group of Seven, which first exhibited under that moniker in May 1920 at the Art Gallery of Ontario, included Harris, MacDonald, Lismer, Farley, Jackson, Johnston, and Carmichael. Before disbanding in 1933, the group also included AJ Casson, Edwin Holgate and LL FitzGerald. Five of its members are buried together in a private cemetery on the grounds of the Canadian McMichael Art Collection in Kleinberg, Ontario, where Thompson Cottage was also moved.