The joy of new discoveries…
Life is such a wonderful thing full of the unexpected …
A few days ago a wonderful surprise came through my letterbox…A budding artist friend of mine came back from visiting her sister in Canada and brought me back a beautiful book of postcards of The Group of Seven.
I must admit I never came across these artists’ works even when I lived in Toronto in the early 70’s. Opening the book and seeing the colourful landscapes, my heart jumped for joy and I felt so grateful to her for introducing me to such beautiful art !
I am sure my Twitter and Facebook Canadian artists friends (you all know who you are …) are shouting ‘how could you not know about these wonderful painters ?’…yes indeed, how could I not, but luckily it is never too late !
So for those of you who didn’t know about them either, I would like to introduce you to The Group of Seven ; I’d like to call them the Magnificent Seven !
Lawren S.Harris, J.E.H. MacDonald, A.Y Jackson, Arthur Lismet, Franklin Carmichael, F.H Varley and Frank Johnston officially formed the group of Seven when they exhibited together for the first time at the Art Gallery of Toronto (later renamed the Art Gallery of Ontario), the year was 1920.
It was a historic exhibition, followed by a succession of at times controversial shows through the decade and the first retrospective exhibition of the group in 1936. After Johnston left the Group in 1924, the young A.J. Casson was asked to join.
Many of these artists, along with Tom Thomson (who died tragically in 1917) had met as early as 1913 in Toronto. At first they were a small group of like-minded artists who established a practice of regular outdoor sketching trips. They gathered strength from mutual support to pioneer a new direction for Canadian landscape painting.
Tom Thomson had profound effect on this group of artists as he introduced them to Algonquin Park and the ‘Northern’ wilderness. In 1918, members of the Group organised the first of the now famous ‘boxcar trips’ to the Algoma region of Ontario – a place they returned to often.
“ We are endeavouring to knock out of us all all of the preconceived ideas, empty ourselves of everything except that nature is here in all its greatness.” F.H.Varley
These artists fundamentally believed that art should permeate all aspects of our lives.
How wonderful is that ? Nature is also my inspiration and I am grateful to my friend for the introduction and I hope you will get to know them and their beautiful and colourful art…I really feel they painted from the heart !