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EXCERPT: Group of 7 OVERVIEW Bullet Points
- Artists who grouped together to contribute to giving Canada a distinctive voice in painting. The group’s niche became painting the North American wilderness in 1920-1933.
- Group of Seven was also known as the Algonquin School.
- original members were: Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A. Y. Jackson, Frank Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J. E. H. MacDonald, and Frederick Varley.
- its aim was to create a distinct Canadian art through direct contact with nature.
- first major Canadian national art movement came about from efforts of Group of Seven; other groups were born from the Group of Seven
- Group was succeeded by the Canadian Group of Painters in 1933
- Beaver Hall Group also joined the Canadian Group of Painters, bringing two major groups of Canadian artists together.
- Tom Thomson, J. E. H. MacDonald, Arthur Lismer, Frederick Varley, Frank Johnston and Franklin Carmichael met as employees of the commercial art firm Grip Ltd. in Toronto. They were joined by A. Y. Jackson and Lawren Harris.
- Their frequent art meeting place was the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto.
- This group did not lack for money either, usually the big problem with any nascent art group. Harris was heir to the Massey-Harris farm machinery fortune. He was joined by Dr. James MacCallum as patron of the group.
- Harris and MacCallum jointly built the Studio Building. Thus, from the start, the group had its own meeting and working place.
- MacCallum also owned land on Georgian Bay which he made available to the artists.
- In 1917, Thomson, a guide at Algonquin Park, died while canoeing there. He had suffered a blow to the head but did not drown. Thus the circumstances surrounding his death were never solved.
- Thomson was slated to be among the Group, which formed not long after. It would have thus been the Group of Eight had he lived.
- All of these men had a considerable problem to overcome. This was that most in the art community thought the Canadian landscape was not worthy of being painted.
- The group had the support of Eric Brown, the director of the National Gallery.
- The Art Gallery of Ontario was the site of the first exhibition of the Group of Seven art. The National Gallery began purchasing art from the early exhibitions before the artists even identified themselves the Group of Seven.
- The McMichael was founded in 1955 by Robert and Signe McMichael. They collected the Group of Seven.
- Group of Seven art work can today be found at: the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the Ottawa Art Gallery and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario.