My defining moment in Canadian history is the Group of Seven. The Group of Seven consisted of seven Canadian painters in the 1920’s. They originally consisted of: Franklin Carmichael, Arthur Lismer, Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, J.E.H. MacDonald, F.H. Varley, and Frank Johnston.
However many others were also a part of it, such as Tom Thomson, Emily Carr and Edwin Holgate. Tom Thompson wasn’t an official member since he died before the group was considered “official”. Emily Carr was also not an official member of the group due to the status of women at the time. Women weren’t considered equal to men, however the group admired Emily and really wanted her to be a part of it.
The Group of Seven were very unique painters. They would travel around Canada and paint the lovely Canadian landscape. The Group was temporarily split during World War I. Jackson Varley became the official war artist. The group reunited after the war but Tom Thomson had died due to an injury in the head while falling of a canoe.
Toronto was the headquarters for the Group of Seven. Some travelled east and others into the far north to capture the Canadian landscape, yet the city was the centre of activity and the urban environment naturally found its way into the Group’s work. Environmental artist Simon Frank, usually painted in the Toronto region.
The Group of Seven have many wonderful paintings. The following are places where the group have painted in: Midland Ontario, Montreal, Toronto, Yukon, Algonquin Park, British Columbia, Lake Superior and Nova Scotia.
The Group of Seven had a very unique style. The Group used to generate public interest in the arts at the time by building up a collector base, developing popular audience, creating an aura around their artworks, expanding arts education, spreading their ideas, etc. The Group of Seven argued strongly against pastoral painting and impressionism (style of painting, smooth, very true to nature), claiming it was not a truly Canadian artistic style because it derived from European painting styles. In particular, they argued that this style of painting was too calm and sophisticated to be truly Canadian.
For them, the rugged nature of the Canadian landscape required a bolder, more hearty and strong painting style and a sharp use of colour. Canada was a vibrant, rough country of vast expanses which needed to be presented in a style which conveyed this image.
The Group of Seven represent Canada in many ways. Their fine-looking art has left all sorts of people from different countries stunned. The Group has a very unique artistic style. They usually painted a very rugged nature of the Canadian landscape that required a bolder, more hearty and strong painting style and a sharp use of colour. Canada was a vibrant, rough country of vast expanses which needed to be presented in a manner only the Group of Seven. The Group of Seven are perhaps the best-recognized painters in Canadian history.
The Group of Seven came together and mixed their skills to form absolute brilliancy. They weren’t official due to the First World War. Some of its best painters such as Tom Thompson and Emily Carr weren’t made official. The official members of the group were: Lawren Harris, Arthur Lismer, A.Y. Jackson, J.E.H. MacDonald, Frank Johnston, F.H. Varley, and Frank Carmichael.
The members of the Group of Seven were all professional artists, some born in Canada others in England, who met each other through friends or work. Through conversations, shared sketching trips, and evening meetings at local art clubs, they discovered that they shared a similar unhappiness with the state of Canadian art and enriched it with their talent.
The Group of Seven were very talented and sparked controversy all over the country. They had received a lot of criticism from the people and the media. However the group replied back with clever and passionate responses. Other factors contributed to their success. Several of the Group were excellent teachers, writers and speakers and they worked energetically with the National Gallery and with other groups to mount touring exhibitions that showcased their artworks – shows to the US, Great Britain and to Paris.
It helped, too, that the Director of the National Gallery, Eric Brown, was a strong supporter. They had won the heart of many Canadians and still reside in our hearts.
Section CThe Group of Seven were and still are essential to Canada as a developing nation for many reasons. When Canada was going through the hardships of war, the Group of Seven helped relief the tension of Canadians. They also have made Canada well-known for their style of art-work and wonderful paintings. When the Group of Seven came, Canada was trying to find its self as a nation politically, socially and economically.
It had not yet wrested its independence from old world traditions. Canadian landscape art consisted primarily of anonymous views seen through the cloudy screen of European art and artistic styles. The small community of Canadian art collectors had little interest in artistic innovation. This all changed when the Group of Seven had been established.
“The great purpose of landscape art is to make us at homeoinoouroownpcountry.” — AlgomaximThe quotation above explains why they had chosen to paint landscape, it was to make us Canadians feel that we are at home and what we have is truly beautiful. Algomaxims is a word created to express the sentiments of the soon-to-be-created Group of Seven.
“The Group of Seven.” Tom Thompson and the Group of Seven.October 17, 2005
“The Group of Seven Project 1920-2005” Group of Seven art. http://www.oaag.org/groupofseven/english.htmlOctober 14, 2005
CHRISTOPHER VARLEY ” Group of Seven “http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0003476 October 15, 2005
“Members of the Group of Seven “Group of Sevenhttp://collections.ic.gc.ca/tom_thomson/g7frm.htmOctober 19, 2005
Hill Charles C. Group of Seven. Illinois: Reed
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“Group of Seven” World Book Encyclopedia. 2001 ed.
© Abdullah Faizullah 2006NO COPYRIGHT