Group of Seven 1920 – 1933

Canadian group of painters It was named in May 1920 on the occasion of an exhibition held in Toronto and was initially composed of Frank Carmichael (1890–1945), Lawren S Harris, A Y Jackson, Franz Johnston (1888–1949), Arthur Lismer, J E HMacDonald and Fred Varley On Johnston’s resignation in 1926, A J Casson (1898–1992) was invited to join The group later expanded to include two members from outside Toronto, Edwin H Holgate from Montreal (in 1930) and Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald from Winnipeg (in 1932) The essential character of the group’s style and approach to landscape painting was in evidence well before their official formation in 1920, and some of their most important pictures also pre-date that first exhibition Although they continued to show together officially only until December 1931 and disbanded in 1933, when former members helped establish a successor organization with a much larger membership drawn from all over the country (the Canadian Group of Painters), the term continued to be applied to the later works of the group’s original members

The Group of Seven, also known as the Algonquin School, was a group of Canadian landscape painters from 1920 to 1933, originally consisting of Franklin Carmichael (1890–1945), Lawren Harris (1885–1970), A Y Jackson (1882–1974), Frank Johnston (1888–1949), Arthur Lismer (1885–1969), J E H MacDonald (1873–1932), and Frederick Varley (1881–1969) Later, A J Casson (1898–1992) was invited to join in 1926; Edwin Holgate (1892–1977) became a member in 1930; and LeMoine FitzGerald (1890–1956) joined in 1932

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Two artists commonly associated with the group are Tom Thomson (1877–1917) and Emily Carr (1871–1945) Although he died before its official formation, Thomson had a significant influence on the group In his essay “The Story of the Group of Seven”, Harris wrote that Thomson was “a part of the movement before we pinned a label on it”; Thomson’s paintings The West Wind and The Jack Pine are two of the group’s most iconic pieces Emily Carr was also closely associated with the Group of Seven, though was never an official member

Believing that a distinct Canadian art could be developed through direct contact with nature, the Group of Seven is best known for its paintings inspired by the Canadian landscape, and initiated the first major Canadian national art movement The Group was succeeded by the Canadian Group of Painters in the 1933, which included members from the Beaver Hall Group who had a history of showing with the Group of Seven internationally

The Group’s influence was so widespread by the end of 1931, and after JEH MacDonald’s death in 1932, they no longer found it necessary to continue as a group of painters They announced that the Group had been disbanded and that a new association of painters would be formed, known as the Canadian Group of Painters The Canadian Group—which eventually consisted of the majority of Canada’s leading artists—held its first exhibition in 1933, and continued to hold exhibitions almost every year as a successful society until 1967

The Group of Seven has received criticism for its reinforcement of terra nullius presenting the region as pristine and untouched by humans when in fact the areas depicted have been lived in for many centuries