The Group of Seven

Andréa Fernandes

Reader Wanda requested a post on the Group of Seven, a group of Canadian painters who are most well-known for their landscapes.

The group members often painted together, both in their Studio Building and on excursions into the wilderness. They didn't call themselves the Group of Seven until 1919, and they didn't hold their first exhibition until 1920, but they got their inspiration in January 1913. After seeing an exhibition of Scandinavian art, Lawren Harris and J.E.H. MacDonald were impressed with the depictions of northern light and landscapes, and thought, "This is what we want to do to Canada." Although the group originally had seven members, it later grew to nine, with the loss of one member (Frank Johnston) and the addition of three more (A.J. Casson, Edwin Holgate, and LeMoine Fitzgerald).

A brief run-down on the original members:

1. Lawren Harris (1885-1970)

Lawren Harris was perhaps one of the most independent members of the group, in large part because he was financially stable. He was a co-financer of the group's Studio Building, and he never needed to work as a teacher to help support himself. He was also the only member to turn to abstract painting. During the 1920s, he stopped signing and dating his work, as he wanted it judged on artistic merit, not by the artist or the date. In 1934, Harris caused a scandal when he left his wife of 24 years to marry Bess Housser, the wife of his friend, a fellow artist.
Shown is Harris' "Lighthouse, Father Point" (1930). To see more of Harris' work, check out his galleries at Art in the Picture and Museum Syndicate.

2. J.E.H. MacDonald (1873-1932)

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3. A.Y. Jackson (1882-1974)

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4. Arthur Lismer (1885-1969)

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5. Frederick Varley (1881-1969)

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6. Frank "Franz" Johnston (1888-1949)

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7. Franklin Carmichael (1890-1945)

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BONUS: Tom Thomson (1877-1917)

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