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The Group of Seven: Selections from the Collection

May 2, 1998 - January 28, 1999

AWE Gallery

How many painters were members of the Toronto-based Group of Seven? Seven painters exhibited as the Group of Seven in 1920, but Frank Johnston didn’t participate in the second exhibition, having left Toronto in 1921 to become principle of the Winnipeg School of Art. When he returned to Toronto in 1924 he resigned from the group, claiming he had never really been a member. There were, then, really only six painters in the Group of Seven: Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald and Fred Varley. Note that Tom Thomson, perhaps the most famous and influential painter to record the northern Ontario landscpae in the manner of the Group, died three years before the Group formed. In 1926, A.J. Casson joined the Group. Finally they were seven, but only until 1930 when, with the addition of Edwin Holgate, the Group of Seven became eight, and, in 1932, nine when Lemoine FitzGerald joined.

Numbers aside, the paintings of the members of the Group of Seven remain of interest. In a poignant passage in the Introduction to the Group of Seven, an exhibition organized by Dennis Reid for the National Gallery of Canada in 1970 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of their first exhibition, he wrote that, “in the eyes of the public at large [the painters] have steadily ascended until now they occupy a position in the Canadian cultural pantheon shared only with a few hockey stars and a handful of beloved politicians.” Although some twenty-eight years later it is difficult to bring to mind a “beloved politician,” the popularity of the group remains essentially unquestioned.

Works by members of the Group as well as by Tom Thomson and Emily Carr will be shown from May 2 through June 28.

Other Exhibitions + Displays on now

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Waawiiatanong Forever

Location: South Project Gallery, 2nd floor

The Once and Future City

Location: Third Floor

Nii Ndahlohke / I Work

Location: Third Floor

Last Look

Location: Second Floor