History

Celebrating 100 years of the Group of Seven

Their first exhibition was May 7, 1920 at what is now the Art Gallery of Ontario
  • May 07, 2020
  • 566 words
  • 3 minutes
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Founded in 1920, the Group of Seven was a school of landscape painters focused on modern art. Their boreal forest panoramas of the Canadian Shield have become symbols of Canadian strength and independence. 

The first members of the group included Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Franz Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald and F.H. Varley. In 1926, Johnston resigned and A.J. Casson joined the group. Edwin Holgate and L.L. FitzGerald joined in 1930 and 1932 respectively, expanding the group’s borders beyond Toronto. 

Tom Thomson, who died in 1917, never ended up an official member of the Group of Seven, but was a great influence on the group, encouraging them to paint the Northern Ontario landscapes that then became famous. 

Their first exhibition was May 7, 1920 at what is now the Art Gallery of Ontario. Eric Brown, the director of the National Gallery of Canada, was a huge supporter of the group and ensured they were well-represented at British exhibitions. 

The group disbanded in 1933.

The paintings below are included in the McMichael Canadian Art Collection’s exhibition “A Like Vision”: The Group of Seven at 100.

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Franklin Carmichael (1890 – 1945)
October Gold 1922
oil on canvas
119.5 x 98 cm
Gift of the Founders, Robert and Signe McMichael
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
1966.16.1
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Lawren S. Harris (1885 – 1970)
Montreal River c. 1920
oil on paperboard
27 x 34.7 cm (10 5/8 x 13 11/16 in.)
Gift of the Founders, Robert and Signe McMichael
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
1966.16.77
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Lawren S. Harris (1885 – 1970)
Pic Island c. 1924
oil on canvas
123.3 × 153.9 cm (48 9/16 × 60 9/16 in.)
Gift of Colonel R.S. McLaughlin
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
1968.7.4
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A.Y. Jackson (1882 – 1974)
Indian Home, Port Essington, B.C. 1926
oil on wood panel
21.1 x 26.6 cm
Gift of Mr. S. Walter Stewart
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
1968.8.3
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A.Y. Jackson (1882 – 1974)
Hills, Killarney, Ontario (Nellie Lake) c. 1933
oil on canvas
77.3 x 81.7 cm
Gift of Mr. S. Walter Stewart
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
1968.8.28
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Lawren S. Harris (1885 – 1970)
Mt. Lefroy 1930
oil on canvas
133.5 x 153.5 cm
Purchase 1975
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
1975.7
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A.J. Casson (1898 – 1992)
October, North Shore 1929
oil on canvas
76.4 x 91.8 cm
Purchase 1985
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
1985.15
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Edwin Holgate (1892 – 1977)
Baie des Moutons, Looking Northward c. 1930
oil on canvas
63.3 x 76.1 cm
Purchase 1986
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
1986.34
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Frank Johnston (1888 – 1949)
Vanishing Winter
oil on hardboard
32 x 44.8 cm
Donated to the McMichael Canadian Collection by Mr. E.G. Davis in memory of Mr. and Mrs.
E.W.M. Davis of Montreal.
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
1987.44
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A.J. Casson (1898 – 1992)
At Rosseau, Muskoka 1920
oil on wood panel
23.3 x 28.4 cm
Gift of the Artist
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
1989.10
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A.J. Casson (1898 – 1992)
The White Pine 1948
tempera over graphite on paper
27.1 x 33.5 cm
Purchase 1986
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
1986.16

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