Medicine Hat Media

Art Exposure 9: The Group of Seven

Painting by Arthur Lismer from

Painting by Arthur Lismer from

The Group of Seven were a group of Canadian landscape painters that was highly influenced by European impressionism. They banded together in the 1920’s to tackle the enormous task of painting lansdcapes in Canada, primarily around Ontario. At the time the landscapes were thought to be either unpaintable or unworthy of being painted. Initially the reception of their artwork was indifferent, but as time went on, they became recognized as pioneering artists in Canada.

The logic behind believing that some Canadian landscapes were unpaintable was largely due to the fact that the scenery around Ontario was so full of trees and hills that anything painted would inevitably end up looking like a large blur of paint. As pioneers, the Group of Seven developed techniques, which were frequently based on Impressionism, to create their art. Some of them had formal training as painters or designers, which can sometimes be seen in their art.

Later in the Group of Seven’s career, they expanded across Canada to gain inspiration and paint what they saw. They even ventured so far as the Arctic, where they became the first artists of European descent to portray the wintry landscapes in art.

The Group gained a few members over the years, becoming more like a Group of Ten, and by 1931, their influence had spread so far that there was no longer a need to be a ‘Group’. They disbanded, and later formed the Canadian Group of Painters in 1933, and now we are living in their legacy.

Prints can be ordered from the expansive gallery on the Group of Seven website.

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