The Group of Seven was Canada’s first self-proclaimed organization of modern artists. The original members befriended each other between 1911 and 1913 and included Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Franz Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald and Frederick Varley. Tom Thomson, though never a member of the Group because of his death in 1917, was an integral and influential part of this circle in the early years. United in their disdain for 19th century academic painting and its constraints, the Group began to present themselves as a landscape school after their first exhibition at the Art Museum of Toronto (now the Art Gallery of Ontario) in 1920. Between 1926 and 1932, three more artists joined—A.J. Casson, Edwin Holgate and L. L. FitzGerald—ultimately attempting a more national school of painting (the latter two artists being from Montreal and Winnipeg respectively). Together, they contributed to the relationship that now exists between ideas of wilderness, ‘northernness’ and Canadian identity.
Out of the Woods: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven features works from the Art Gallery of Alberta collection by the members of one of Canada’s most influential artistic collectives. Showcasing both rarely-seen and familiar works done in the Group’s characteristic style, this exhibition welcomes viewers to enjoy Group of Seven works done ‘out of the woods’, beyond the Ontario landscape, from Caribbean seascapes, cities and cottage scenes to portraits, prairies and prints.
Out of the Woods: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven is curated by Laura Ritchie. Organized by the Art Gallery of Alberta and presented with the support of Capital Powered Art, an exhibition series sponsored by Capital Power Corporation.