Group of Seven and Tom Thomson

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I was first introduced to the Group of Seven some years ago by my neice, Ning-ning who took me to the McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg, Ontario. I was struck by their very colourful and decorative approach to painting. It is of no coincidence that most of the them were started as commercial artists. Since then their paintings were on exhibitions in China (Beijing, Shanghai, Guanzhou and Shenzhen) and in Europe (London, Holland and Oslo, Norway). The Group of Seven were a band of men, who came together to create an art for new Canada. Collectively, their paintings documented the ascent of a nation - through war, urbanisation, industrialisation and its wilderness. Apart from the aesthetic of the painting, which was a conviction of the group to appeal to the ordinary-thinking Canadians, they had created a linkage of Canada to the wilderness of the 'North'. It is this sentiment behind the paintings and nationhood that I come to adore their art. It is a gentler kind of love for a nation, without dominations and without the ideological paraphernalia. It is this idea that I find their paintings most attractive.

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First created 19 July 2013. Version 1.0 - 27 July 2013. Jerry Tse. London . Group of Seven The Spirit of Canada & Tom Thomson The Jack Pine (Detail). 1916-17. Tom Thomson. To all my Canadian friends

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Toronto. 1912 Yonge Steet . In the early 20C, Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven artists wanted to create an art for the new country of Canada. These are some of the their paintings

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Thomason Autumn Garland. 1915-16. Oil on canvas. 122.5x132.2 cm. Tom Thomson. Canadian. National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa. Thomson’s paintings are very colourful. Tom Thomson 1877-1917

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Thomason Spring Ice. 1916. Oil on canvas. 63.5x53.3 cm. Tom Thomson. Canadian. National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa.

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The West Wind. 1916-17. Oil on canvas. 120.7x137.9 cm. Tom Thomson. Art Gallery of Ontario. Toronto. Thomason

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Thomason The Drive. 1916. Oil on canvas. 120.7x137.5 cm. Tom Thomson. Macdonald Stewart Art Centre. Guelph.

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MacDonald Tracks and Traffic. 1912. Oil on canvas. 71.1x101.6 cm. JEH MacDonald. Canadian. Art Gallery of Ontario. Toronto. JEH MacDonald 1873-1932

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MacDonald The Tangled Garden. 1916. Oil on beaverboard. 121.4x152.4 cm. JEH McDonald. Canadian. National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa .

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MacDonald The Solemn Land. 1921. Oil on canvas. 122.5x153.5 cm. JEH MacDonald. Canadian. Art Gallery of Ontario. Toronto.

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Varley For What?. 1918. Oil on canvas. 147.4x180.6 cm. F H Varley. Canadian. Art Gallery of Ontario. Toronto. F Varley 1881-1969

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Varley Squarely Weather, Georgian Bay. 1920. Oil on canvas. 30x41 cm. FH Varley. National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa .

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Varley Portrait of Mrs E. 1921. Oil on canvas. 103.2x86.4 cm. F H Varley. Canadian. Art Gallery of Ontario. Toronto.

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Jackson The Red Maple. 1914. Oil on canvas. 82.0 x 99.5 cm. A Y Jackson. National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa. A Jackson 1882-1974

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Jackson Frozen Lake, Early Spring Algonquin Park. 1914. Oil on canvas. 81.4x99.4 cm. AY Jackson. National Gallery of Canada . Ottawa.

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Jackson Camouflaged Huts, Villers-au-Bois. 1917. Oil on canvas. 88.1x111.8 cm. AY Jackson. War Museum . Ottawa.

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Jackson The “Beothic” at Bache Post, Ellesmer Island. 1929. Oil on canvas. 81.6x102.1 cm. A Y Jackson. National Gallery of Canada . Ottawa.

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Lismer The Guide’s Home, Algonquin. 1914. Oil on canvas. 102.6x114.4 cm. Arthur Lismer. Canadian. National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa. Arthur Lismer 1885-1969

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Lismer Sumach and Maple. 1915. Oil on canvas. 127x101.6 cm. Arthur Lismer. Canadian. The Hudson’s bay Company Gallery. The Group wanted to develop a similar style to set Canada apart from their European influence.

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Lismer Minesweepers at Sea. 1917. Oil on canvas. 30x41 cm. Arthur Lismer. Canadian. Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Halifax.

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Lismer A September Gale, Georgian Bay. 1921. Oil on canvas. 122.4x163 cm. Arthur Lismer . Canadian. National Gallery of Canada Ottawa.

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Lismer Autumn, Bon Echo. 1923. Oil on canvas. 106x132.9 cm. Arthur Lismer. Canadian. Mendel Art Gallery. Saakatoon.

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Lismer Seal Cove, Grand Manan. 1931. Oil on canvas. 91.4x101.6 cm. Arthur Lismer. Canadian. Sidney Dawes Collection. McGill University. Montreal.

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Harris Snow II. 1915. Oil on canvas. 120.3x127.3 cm. A Y Lawren Harris. Canadian. National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa. Lawren Harris 1885-1970

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Harris Winter Afternoon, City Street, Toronto. 1918. Oil on canvas. 102.9x114. cm. Arthur Lismer . Canadian. The Hudson’s bay Company Gallery.

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Harris Portrait (Bess Housser). c1920. Oil on canvas. 112.5 x 92.2 cm. Lawren Harris. Canadian. Art Gallery of Ontario. Toronto. “The story of the Group of Seven is that of seven artists who came together in a creative venture that no one of them could have carried through on his own”, Lawren Harris.

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Harris Billboard. 1920. Oil on canvas. 108x127.6. cm. Lawren Harris Canadian. Private Collection.

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Harris Algoma Hill. 1920. Oil on canvas. 117x137 cm. Lawren Harris. Canadian. University Health Network. Toronto.

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Harris Lake in Algoma. c1925. Oil on canvas. 105 x 125 cm. Lawren Harris. Canadian. Magna International.

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Harris Mt Lefroy . 1930. Oil on canvas. 133.5 x 153.5 cm. Lawren Harris. Canadian. McMichael Canadian Art Collection. Kleinburg .

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Johnston Beanville. 1918-19. Oil and charcoal on canvas. 182.8x137.1 cm. Frank Johnston. Canadian. Canadian War Museum. Ottawa. This painting is of the earliest view of Canada from the air. Canada emerged from the First World War, proud and victorious. The country became one of the front rank of nations in the world. Diversion of resources to support the war efforts led to unemployment at home. It also brought home the tragedy of war. Frank Johnston 1888-1949

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Johnston Fire-swept, Algoma. 1920. Oil on canvas. 127.5x167.5 cm. Frank Johnston. Canadian. National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa.

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Johnston The Dark Woods, Interior. c1920. Gouache on masonite. 55.9x46.7 cm. Frank Johnston. Canadian. Art Gallery of Ontario. Toronto.

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Carmichael Autumn Hillside. 1920. Oil on canvas. 76x91.4 cm. Frank Carmichael. Canadian. Art Gallery of Ontario. Toronto. Franklin Carmichael 1890-1945

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Carmichael The Upper Ottawa, near Mattawa. 1924. Oil on canvas. 101x123 cm. Franklin Carmichael. Canadian. National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa.

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Carmichael A Northern Silver Mine. 1930. Oil on canvas. 101.5x121.2 cm. Frank Carmichael. Canadian. McMichael Canadian Art Collection. Kleinburg .

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Carmichael Grace Lake. 1931. Oil on canvas. 101.6x122 cm. Frank Carmichael. Canadian. McMichael Canadian Art Collection. Kleinburg .

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Fitzgerald The Harvester. c1921 Oil and canvas. 66.8x59.5 cm. LeMoine Fitzgerald. Canadian. McMichael Canadian Art Collection. Kleinburg. LeMoine Fitzgerald 1890-1956

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Fitzgerald Doc Snyder’s House. 1931. Oil on canvas. 74.9x85.1 cm. LeMoine FitzGerald. Canadian. National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa.

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Holgate Lumberjack. 1924. Oil on canvas. 64.8x54.6cm. Edwin Holgate. Canadian. Gallery Lambton. Sarnia. Edwin Holgate 1892-1977

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Holgate Chief Tsimshian Jim Larahnitz . 1926. Charcoal and brown chalk on paper. 58.5x47.1 cm. Edwin Holgate. Canadian. Musee du Quebec. Quebec City.

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Casson Mill House. 1928. Oil on canvas. 76.2x91.4 cm. AJ Casson. Canadian. Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Queen’s University. Ontario. Alfred J Casson 1898-1993

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Casson Old Store at Salem. 1931. Oil on canvas. 76.7x91.5 cm. AJ Casson . Canadian. Art Gallery of Ontario. Toronto.

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Casson White Pine. 1951. Oil on canvas. 76x101.3 cm. AJ Casson . Canadian. McMichael Canadian Art Collection. Kleinburg .

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Chronology 1917 Thomson died in an accident, before the Group of Seven was formed 1919 Ending of War World I, which delayed the formation of the group. 1920 Group of Seven formed, followed by an exhibition a month later in the Art Gallery of Toronto 1924 World debut at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley, London. 1931 The group disbanded and was replaced by The Canadian Group of Painters. 2001 The Group of Seven Exhibition in China – in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. 2011 The Group of Seven Exhibition in Dulwich Picture Galley, London, in Holland and Norway. 1913 Thomson, MacDonald, Lismer, Varley, Johnston and Carmichael met as employee of the design firm Grip Ltd. Later joined by Harris and Jackson. 1975 The first showing of the Group of Seven paintings in China, during the Cultural Revolution 1923-4 The American exhibition in Minneapolis, Kansas City, Omaha, Milwaukee, Rhode Island and Worcester and Brooklyn Museum. 1970 The Group of Seven works appeared on postage stamps and again in 1995.

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The lone pine is a symbol of romantic solitude and the stand against nature for survival. All rights reserved. Rights belong to their respective owners. Available free for non-commercial and personal use. The End Music – An extract of the national anthem of Canada ‘O Canada’. To love one’s country Without belittled others Without creating a national myth Without triumphant national virtues Without promoting an ideology Without the greatness of power Without being exclusive But on the heritage of an inspiration

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